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Dharma the Llama likes reading for hours and hours and hours. The other llamas can't understand why she's always reading. When they're out stampeding, Dharma is having her own exciting adventures lost in the pages of her books. Dharma is happy doing her own thing and doesn't listen to the sneering and jeering, but when the other llamas get stuck in a big pit of mud, it's Dharma and her books to the rescue! Finally the llamas have to agree...It sure pays to read!

Matt Cosgrove has created another fun, colourful and joyful book that begs to be read aloud. Dharma is a great example of being 'you' and doing what you love. She is also a total bookworm and Dharma the Llama celebrates reading, the adventures you can have and how books can help us learn new things. I really enjoyed the way reading sparked Dharma's creativity to solve problems, especially her astronaut idea. Matt has also had fun giving some of Dhama's books a 'llama make-over'. Can you spot them? Try giving some of your favourite books a 'llama make-over' too!

Get creative and download Matt's illustrations from Dharma the Llama and add your own colour.

RAP BOOKS...

Something very exciting has recently happened to Dharma the Llama. Dharma's book has been made into a rap performed by Jessica Mauboy. 

Have fun doing karaoke with the Dharma the Llama rap. 

There are other raps on the  BIG W Rap Books website including Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove and rapped by Tom Thum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy reading and rapping!

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!

Magnolia Moon is very good at keeping secrets. She knows just what to do with them, and has a way of talking to the jumpy ones to stop them causing trouble. Which is why people are always leaning in and whispering: "Can I tell you a secret?"

Magnolia Moon is a curious nine year old with springy, beetle-black curls filled with feathers and twigs. Magnolia likes Greek mythology, her cat Atlas and writing her name backwards (NOOM AILONGAM). Her best friend is Imogen May and they like hanging upside down from the Wishing Tree, inventing new animals like peliphants and buffadillos and guessing what type of fruit they would be.


What type of fruit would you choose to be?

During the year there are lots of changes for Magnolia, beginning with Imogen May moving away and ending with the arrival of her baby brother Finnegan. Each chapter holds a secret. They are the type of secrets that help people feel braver, less alone, and more loved. There are new friendships, a secret escape, a secret spook, a secret identity, a secret sky, and a mysterious angel boy. In the final 'Chapter Almost 10', Magnolia reveals a secret of her own. 

In the story, I like the way Magnolia Moon describes time by comparing it to things. 

Three minutes is a lifetime if you are a piece of toast or a soft-poached egg
An hour is a lifetime if you are a cake in the oven or a storm cloud
Three weeks is a lifetime if you are a bar of soap
Six months is a lifetime if you are a bedbug
A year is a lifetime if you are a giant jellyfish

What interesting ways would you describe time?

The Secrets of Magnolia Moon by Edwina Wyatt is perfect if you like gentle stories about friendship and families and enjoy solving problems. It is a 'just the right size' hardcover book with a stunning front cover, gorgeous nature-filled endpapers and whimsical illustrations by Katherine Quinn. I hope there will be more secrets and adventures for Magnolia Moon.

Happy reading!

Meet two very best friends.
One is a girl and one is a dog.
And everyone knows them as Evie and Pog.


Evie and Pog are two quirky very best friends who live in a tree-house in a beautiful silver ash tree with pink leaves in Granny's backyard. The tree-house has a reading nook, a hanging chair and a slide with soft daisy-spot grass to land on - I could happily live there too!

Image by Goran Horvat: Pixabay

Evie and Pog love to have fun and in this book you can join them on three adventures.

Puppy School Mess

Granny Gladys constantly cleans and gets carried away tidying the grass by snipping the heads off Evie's precious daisies! Evie and Pog try to make her stop. Whoops-a-daisy! Granny Gladys ends up wearing a chocolate cake and poor Pog has to go to dreaded Puppy School, where it turns out Evie is better at the Puppy Challenge than the puppies!

School Play Drama

Evie is so excited to be the Butterfly Queen for the school play. Pog is not about happy being a fairy pug. When Granny Gladys tries to tidy Evie's wings, there's chaos as threads get tangled and the stage becomes a big woolly spider web. How can an enormous sneeze and a flying friend save Pog and the play?

Cake Stall Chaos

To raise money for the Puppy School at the annual Fair, Evie decides to have a cupcake stall. In Granny's shiny kitchen they all dance and bake and wipe and sing as they make 100 cupcakes -  kids' cupcakes, doggy cupcakes and spinach cupcakes (for Pog). Whoops-a-daisy! What are the chances of the cupcakes getting mixed up? Anyone for a caramel kidney cupcake??

Look out for Evie and Pog: Puppy Playtime too!

In her first junior fiction series, Tania McCartney has created two delightful characters for you to meet. Evie is a full of energy, often accident-prone and sometimes dog-like. Pog takes life a little more seriously and would rather drink tea and read the newspaper than learn to sit, beg and speak. They have lots of zany fun together and are good at solving problems in creative ways. Tania's gorgeous illustrations are a highlight as they bring Evie and Pog's adventures to life.

Happy reading!

 

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Nat Amoore is a shiny new author whose shiny new book Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire is a story filled with heart and humour.

Finding a million dollars in your backyard - every kid's dream, right?
That's what me and my best friend Toby thought too. 

Tess Heckleston is ten years old, wise for her age and a natural born entrepreneur who is always dreaming up ingenious plans to make money. Toby her best friend, is a numbers guy who is smart, organised and her moral compass. Coming from a large family where money is tight, Tess wants to get rich while Toby who was adopted from Bolivia, wants to donate to every worthy cause he can find. Together they make a formidable team.

When Tess' dodgy neighbour Scotty dumps a million dollars in her backyard it changes everything. There's so much Tess and Toby could do with a million dollars, but there are also a lot of unexpected decisions and problems that come with that amount of money.

Who knew it would be SO hard for kids to spend a million dollars even when they want to do good with it?

Tess and Toby's skills and friendship are challenged as they 'creatively' try to find ways to spend the money. Personally, I loved their idea of a coffee and donut cart for the school staffroom, but you might prefer the jumping castle and lollipops and they might be on to something with their solution for a home for Kathy and Mr Piddles. But what happens when the Really Bad Guy, Scotty wants his million dollars back...all of it!

This book cleverly begins with the end as Tess opens her school locker to reveal a million dollars in front of the whole school and you want to keep reading. I read the first three chapters to Year Four classes in the library and one student said "I normally don't like reading, but I HAVE to read this book!!"  So don't just take my word for it!

Nat has written one of my favourite books this year and between you and I, I think there might be quite a bit of Nat in her character, Tess!

Here is Nat at her million dollar book launch for Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire at The Little Bookroom in Melbourne.

If you found a million dollars in your backyard
what would you do with it?

Happy reading!

 Felice Arena takes us on a daring adventure set in Cold War Germany in 1961 when the government built the Berlin Wall that divided Germany into East and West and separated families, friends and neighbours for twenty eight years. 

Imagine your city has been divided by a wall and and your family is on the other side...

Peter stays with his grandparents when his parents and sister go on a trip across the border to the West. They wake to find the government is building a wall through their city. It is guarded by soldiers, tanks and fierce dogs so nobody can get through and people can no longer go to the West. Peter feels trapped and is scared he might never see parents and little sister, Margrit again. Finding a way past the wall will require courage and ingenuity. Peter and his friends Otto and Elke desperately want to escape, but whose daring plan will succeed...

A Great Escape is an exciting adventure story, but it is also a reminder of how strong the love of family can be, even when a wall tries to separate them. Peter's story will tug at your heart.

United States Information Service, Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I was lucky to hear Felice talk about A Great Escape on it's publishing day and he celebrated  by bringing Peter's favourite Kalter Hund cake (also known as 'Cold Dog' cake!). Despite it's name, it's a scrumptious chocolate biscuit cake and you will definitely want more than one slice! Thanks, Felice!

Here's the recipe if you would like to make it yourself. 

Felice explained that a visit to Berlin sparked the idea for A Great Escape as he wondered what if he had been there when the Berlin Wall was built...how would he have felt and what would he have done if he had been separated from his family? Stories often begin by writer's thinking "What if...."

By chance, Felice also discovered his neighbour Peter was a guard on the West side of the Berlin Wall, and he could tell Felice about life in Berlin at that time. In fact, Felice named his main character after Peter and Peter's dog, Otto became the name of Peter's friend! 

As Felice was writing his book he gave it a 'working title' that eventually changed to A Great Escape. What do you think his 'working title' for his story might have been? 

Historical fiction books are portable time machines that can transport us back in time to experience places and events and help us to understand our world and ourselves a little more. 

I wonder where Felice will take us on our next historical adventure...what do you think?

Happy reading!

"So that's why I needed to run away. I need to change. And the best way for me to turn things around is to be less like Vex Vron and more like you, Mr Bambuckle. I'm going to copy you."

Vex Vron has run away! He has left a note and its up to Room 12B to work together to find him before his family and Mr Sternblast find out he's missing. Trapped by the rules she strictly enforces, Miss Frost is not happy about having to help so she can save her job. However, something quite remarkable happens to Miss Frost and her silver hair during the search for Vex.

Canteen Carol once again finds she is no match for Mr Bambuckle, Myra learns a tough lesson about generosity from the Kindergarten kids and Vex Vron reminds us of the importance of being yourself. 

In so many positive and fun ways, Mr Bambuckle has transformed the lives of the students in Room 12B and the teacher we all wish we had, is going to receive the highest teaching award in the country. This means there is no way Mr Sternblast can get rid of Mr Bambuckle now! 

After much anticipation we finally get to see the mysterious Indian spark-maker beetle in action as it helps Mr Bambuckle reveal an important message for Room 12B and also for us...

TOFFLE TOWERS

Tim Harris has a new series called Toffle Towers coming out in August! You can read a short preview at the back of Mr Bambuckle's Remarkables on the Lookout or read more about it HERE and watch for the front cover to be revealed...

Happy reading! 

"You must beware the deep, dark forest,"
Rosie told Tinky.
"Never, ever go in there."

Rosie has never gone into the deep, dark forest, but when her puppy Tinky runs off into the forest she has to find him. 

"But the deep, dark forest is thick with danger," warned Rosie's Grandma. "Carnivorous plants they say."
"And venomous snakes," said Rosie's dad. "So I've heard."

Would you go into the deep, dark forest?

Rosie can't leave Tinky lost and alone in the dangerous forest and goes on a quest to rescue him. She needs to have courage as the forest becomes deeper, darker and muddier. Along the way, Rosie has to bravely sneak past a big, bristly brute, find a way to cross a place that is dizzily, dangerously, dreadfully deep and face a menacing, monstrous, muddy creature to save Tinky.

Sometimes like Rosie we don't know how brave and clever we can be.

Sue Whiting has written a story that is like a fairytale. It is lots of fun to read aloud with its repetition and descriptive words, especially when Rosie stands up to the muddy creature at the end! Can you find ways Sue has used words to make her writing scary, exciting and fun? 

Annie White's earthy water colour illustrations take you into the forest with Rosie and often as the reader you can see things in the forest that Rosie can't see. Can you see any carnivorous plants and venomous snakes or spot the shadow of the menacing, monstrous muddy creature? What has been printed on the purple endpapers, can you explain why?

If you like scary stories that are fun and going on quests where you can be a hero, then Beware The Deep Dark Forest is just the book for you!

Happy reading!

Teacher notes by Sue Whiting

Did you know your city is protected by a secret squad of crime-fighting pigeons? Yes, pigeons!

Some pigeons might spend their day cooing or looking for breadcrumbs, but not the Real Pigeons! This feathered secret crime-fighting squad solve mysteries and fight bad guys to keep your city safe. Andrew McDonald and Ben Wood reveal all in Real Pigeons Fight Crime.

GrandPouter has gathered together his team of pigeons who are perfect for fighting crime because they are fast, can attack and they're everywhere! Each pigeon in the team also has his own unique pigeon power. They hold their top secret team meetings in rubbish bins (which can be dangerous on bin collection day!) and are always on the look out for animals and people to help and mysteries to solve. They might be checking out your neighbourhood right now!  

In the three stories in this book, GrandPouter, Rock, Homey, Tumbler and Frillback work together using some very creative (or is that crazy) problem solving combined with their pigeon powers to solve The Great Breadcrumb Mystery, track down an elusive Bat Trapper and prevent a disaster at the Food Truck Fair. Keep an eye out for Rock's clever (and sometimes wacky) disguises and Tumbler's impressive flight moves when he flies at night with the bats. 

If you're looking for a new funny series to read then this is it. I'm sure you will have as much fun reading Real Pigeons Fight Crime as Andrew and Ben have had writing and illustrating it. They are a fabulous team who share the same wacky sense of humour that bursts out their book! You won't look at pigeons in the same way ever again!

Create your own Real Pigeon
Research pigeons to help you create your own Real Pigeon character.

What are its characteristics and pigeon power?
What is its name?
What will it look like?

Lucky for you, the second book in the Real Pigeon series called Real Pigeons Eat Danger will be coming in November! Read more about it HERE

Happy reading and being Super Coo fighting crime with the Real Pigeons!

Teacher notes

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