Skip to content

How strange it all was. A bird in his hands, a balloon on his roof.
Yet things felt more real here, than less.

Matthew is about to have the adventure of his life when he meets Lewis Carmichael, a black crow with a broken wing who can talk. Lewis invites Matthew on a trip to the North Pole and together they ride Boreas the North Wind in a colourful hot air balloon for six thousand, nine hundred and twenty-two nautical miles all the way to the Arctic.

Matthew is a quiet boy, lacking in confidence, slow at school and without friends. He thinks his parents need another child, someone who was more what they wanted. Matthew escapes his worries reading books about the Arctic, a frozen land of polar bears, reindeer, snow geese and Arctic Wolves. A place full of space; secret and wild.

Visiting the North Pole is Matthew’s dream and for the first time Matthew has a friend with Lewis.

Throughout their journey Lewis is by Matthew’s side encouraging, challenging and believing in him as Matthew learns to fly the balloon, treks across the ice and climbs a snowy peak to see the icy white world of his dreams. As they face challenges along the way, Matthew’s confidence, courage and resourcefulness grow alongside the reassuring soundtrack of Lewis’ song.

In all the world, in all the world,
Never did I see, never did I see.
In all the lands, in all the lands
Just one boy, one boy.
This boy. This boy.

The Song of Lewis Carmichael by Sophie Laguna with its intriguing title and magical front cover, is a heartwarming voyage of discovery and a joy to read. Marc McBride’s realistic line drawings in Arctic blue immerse you in the story and vividly bring it to to life. Marc's double page illustration of Aurora Borealis is breathtaking! A story of many layers that will linger with you beyond the last page.

Everyone deserves a friend like Lewis Carmichael.

Read Chapter One HERE

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

Teacher notes

Somewhere far away, there's a sea that ripples with magic. And if you were a bird flying high over the sea one fine day, you'd be able to look down at the tiny green-and-gold dot that's Monty's Island...

Monty never knows what he might find when he takes his Pick-Up sled along the beach with his friend Tawny, looking for Special Finds. One morning, they receive some worrying news from their friend the Laughing Traveller that Scary Mary and her pirate crew are looking for a new island to call home. The pirates have burnt down the trees on their old base and turned it into a dump. Monty and Tawny certainly don't want Scary Mary, a cruel and greedy pirate with sharp gold teeth taking over their island home! 

What can Monty and his friends do? When Bunchy accidentally turns the whole island stripey with her new magic wand, they have nowhere to hide. Monty will need to come with up one of his best ideas to save them!

Listen to Emily Rodda read the beginning of Scary Mary and the Striped Spell...

Emily Rodda has created some unusual creatures that live on Monty's Island. Argue Birds that begin each day arguing loudly, Jinglebees that sound like a million bells ringing as they prepare to fly and will chew anything in sight and the Hairy Horrible that only hunts at night and doesn't like to get sand between its hairy toes.

At the end of the video, Emily invites you to invent your own creature. Draw your creature first. Is your creature scary or friendly? What makes it unique?

Lucinda Gifford is the talented illustrator whose fun and lively illustrations have brought Emily Rodda's characters and story to life.

Learn about Lucinda's drawing process for illustrating Scary Mary and the Stripe Spell...

Have fun drawing Clink the Shipwrecked Pirate with Lucinda...

There are more drawing videos with Lucinda Gifford and activities to download on the Allen & Unwin website HERE.

If you're looking for a fun new fantasy adventure to read then the Monty's Island series is perfect for you!

Happy reading!

Let Me Sleep, Sheep! by Meg McKinlay is so much fun to read! 

Do you lay in bed counting sheep to help you drift off to sleep? What would you do if two of those sheep landed in your bedroom with a THUD?

Amos is counting sheep when two annoyed sheep land in his bedroom. Felix and Walter as they prefer to be called (Not 'One' and 'Two'), are not happy about being dragged away from their dinner and wool clipping. They insist the only way they will leave is if Amos builds a fence for them to jump over...

"If you want to count us, you need a fence. It's in the rules." 

Felix and Walter are VERY fussy about their fence. It can't be too low, too high, too wobbly, too hard and definitely not boring! The mess in Amos' room grows as he tries to build a perfect fence and the two wily sheep keep adding more crazy demands for drinks, a finish line and even a dance party.

"You'll have to test it, of course.
We have to save our energy for the big jump."

Will his fence pass the test so Amos can finally get to sleep?

suju / Pixabay

Leila Rudge's pencil illustrations brilliantly capture the hilarious chaos as Felix and Walter take over Amos' bedroom and turn the tables on him.

If you were Amos what would you have done?

What does the final illustration reveal?

How would you continue the story?

It might be time to design a fence for Felix and Walter and their sheep friends in case they land in your bedroom one night...

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

Emily Rodda is one of Australia's most well known children's authors and you may have already enjoyed her Rowan, Rondo or Deltora Quest fantasy series. Rowan of Rin is still one of my favourite books! Emily Rodda's real name is Jeanette Rowe. She writes using Emily Rodda for her children's books and as Jeanette Rowe for her adult mystery books. 

Emily Rodda's latest book, His Name Was Walter is mystery, fantasy, supernatural, historical fiction and part love story all rolled into one book. It is a story within a story that will keep you turning the pages to find out what happened to Walter and why it is so important to the anonymous author that he is remembered. 

When the mini bus breaks down on their history excursion, Mrs Fiori and four students take shelter overnight in an abandoned mansion in Storm Valley. Little do they know how a piece of history will change after this night. In the kitchen, Colin notices an elegant handcrafted writing desk where he discovers a secret drawer containing amongst other treasures, a beautifully handwritten book filled with exquisite water colour illustrations. It's title is His Name Was Walter.

Colin and Tara are drawn to the mysterious book and secretly read it by torch light when the others go to sleep and become lost in Walter's story. After being abandoned, Walter is raised in a beehive, works for mice, befriends a witch who can turn into a cat, falls in love with a girl who can turn into a sparrow and battles a beast. Colin and Tara feel compelled to finish the book as they sense the menacing mansion is hiding a tragic secret. Mrs Fiori and her students discover His Name Was Walter is more than a  fairytale and it helps them to right an injustice so Walter can be remembered as an honest, brave and loyal young man.

Who was Walter?

Why did Sparrow want Walter's story to be told?
 

You can read the first three chapters HERE.

Happy reading!

Teacher Notes

They move silent as a shadow. They climb impossible heights. Their archery skills are unsurpassed. They are Rangers...

I have been a fan of the Ranger's Apprentice series since John Flanagan wrote the first book in 2004. Yes, that's a long time ago, but when you really like a series you stick with it!

The Ranger's Apprentice series began as short stories John wrote for his son Michael to encourage him to read and now readers all over the world enjoy his books. John has also written a spinoff series called Brotherband and these two series combined have sold over 15 million books worldwide! In fact people have even organised Ranger's Apprentice camps based on the books where participants can learn archery, horseback riding, tracking and survival skills and compete for a silver Oakleaf just like Rangers.

Rangers Apprentice is set in the Kingdom of Araluen. The story follows Will, a 15-year old orphan who becomes an apprentice to the mysterious Halt who trains  the small, agile, clever and courageous Will to become one of the secretive, highly skilled Rangers who protect the Kingdom of Araluen. Alongside Will is his best friend Horace who becomes a champion knight. Will, Halt, Horace and a cast of characters face battles and threats from invaders and traitors as they protect the kingdom. It's not all about battles though and I really enjoy the friendship and humour shared between Halt, Will and Horace. They are loyal, brave and and skilled and you would definitely want them on your side. You can read about some of the other main characters here.

The Ranger's Apprentice books are divided into The Early Years, Ranger's Apprentice and The Royal Ranger.

In the latest Royal Ranger books, Will takes on his own apprentice. Maddie is the first female Ranger. Headstrong Maddie also happens to be Horace's daughter and a princess, but she has to keep her Ranger training a secret. One month each year Maddie has to return home to resume her identity as Princess Madelyn and wear dresses, much to her disgust!

In The Red Fox Clan, when Maddie returns she discovers a plot against the crown led by a mysterious man in a red fox mask. Who is this man? Why does he believe he should be king? Sometimes the enemy is someone you least expect. Her father Horace has been lured away from Castle Araluen leaving her mother Cassandra to fight off the traitors and it's up to Maddie to find out the truth about the man in the red fox mask if she is to help save her father's forces and everyone at Castle Araluen.

Thanks to Penguin Random House, I was very lucky to meet John Flanagan during the school holidays. John is a born storyteller with a twinkle in his eye and great sense of humour. He is also a big fan of old Western movies! John shared many stories with us and I was interested to hear that John plans everything before he starts writing and carefully checks the smallest details to ensure his books are accurate and consistent. Like many other fans of Ranger's Apprentice, I hope one day the series will be brought to life in a movie. 

Happy Reading!

If you are a bit of an adventurer and like exploring then the Other Worlds series by George Ivanoff  has action and adventure mixed with sci-fi and fantasy that would be perfect for you!

The different characters in each stand-alone book find themselves drawn to a key that takes various forms depending on the person. They will want to touch it and by touching the key, they will open a doorway to another world...

In Perfect World, Computer geek Keagan didn't expect to find himself in a world of clones obsessed with perfection when he was out buying pickles for his mum! 

Taking a shortcut, Keagan finds himself drawn to a computer chip locked in a cabinet of a weird shop called Matilda's Collectibles. When he trips over and the cabinet shatters, Keagan grabs the computer chip. A shimmering doorway appears and Keagan finds the doorway open to Perfect World.

Perfect World is where people are cloned in groups of five. Everything in the city is controlled. Children learn by having information streamed directly into their brains. Perfection must be maintained at all costs. There is no room for individuality. Is this really a perfect world? Would you want to live in it?

Keagan who is different and therefore imperfect ends up at the Dumping Ground. This is where he finds the rejected clones known as the 'Refuse' living in the sewage tunnels filled with junk from the Perfect World above. Keagan meets feisty Eone and the other rejects who have embraced being different and use the junk around them to enhance their individuality. Keagan joins Eone in her mission with the Elders to bring about change to Perfect World. Will perfection or individuality win?

Will Keagan be able to escape Perfect World and find his way home?

There are four books in the Other Worlds series:

Perfect World...a weird world of clones who are obsessed with perfection

Beast World...a crazy world that looks like steampunk London

Game World...a strange virtual reality – part of a game world where humans are battling computers for survival

Dark World...a scary world ravaged by the Darkness

Read more about each book HERE

Happy reading!

Teacher notes

Skip to toolbar