I love interactive picture books that beg readers to be part of the story. They make you feel like the story couldn’t work without you. Do Not Open This Book written by Andy Lee (one half of Australian comedy duo Hamish and Andy) and illustrated by Heath McKenzie is a brilliant new example of this type of picture book and it’s guaranteed to make kids laugh-out-loud.
Do Not Open This Book begins with a strange little blue creature who is surprised that you’ve opened the book, especially since there was a warning on the front cover. He asks the reader not to turn the page, but this is exactly what you want to do. As the book goes on, he becomes more and more desperate, begging, pleading, threatening and sulking, before he finally reveals that if the reader reaches the final page, something terrible will happen.
I absolutely love Do Not Open This Book! It is one of those books that is incredibly fun to read aloud and it never gets old or boring, no matter how many times you read it. I’ve read this book aloud many, many times to the kids at my school, from new entrants through to the Year 6 kids, and they all love it. I have kids queuing up to take this book home and I’m sure they would all be quite happy if I read it to them every time they came to the library. Even though I love reading it to kids it’s even better when I hear some of the senior kids reading it aloud to each other.
The best thing about Do Not Open This Book is the perfect combination of the text and illustrations. The story would be funny without illustrations but Heath McKenzie’s illustrations just add so much more humour to the story. Heath’s character (which looks like a blue egg with long arms and legs) has a very expressive face. The look of horror on the character’s face when you do turn the page (even though he told you not to) or his face going purple because he is so exasperated that you keep turning the page just makes kids crack up laughing. I have to stop myself from cracking up too every time I read it.
Do Not Open This Book is going to get read to death in my library and it is a must-have for your school or home. You will be begging your kids to let you read this book to them.
I’m a huge fan of Stephan Pastis’ Timmy Failure series so I am super excited to announce this giveaway!
Thanks to the awesome people at Walker Books Australia I have 3 Timmy Failure prize packs to give away. Each pack contains a copy of the latest Timmy Failure book, The Book You’re Not Supposed to Have, a bookmark, a Timmy Failure lanyard and a pair of Timmy Failure sunglasses.
Thanks to everyone who entered. The winners are Wendy, Lynley and Katrina.
There have been some absolutely stunning children’s nonfiction books published this year. I love that authors and publishers are trying new and exciting things to make nonfiction exciting for kids. A World of Information by Richard Platt and James Brown is the perfect example of an innovative design for children’s nonfiction. It is brand new from Walker Books and I LOVE this book!
Do you know how many bones there are in the human body or how clouds form? Or about different types of knots or how Morse code works? Each illustration is both beautiful and enlightening, and is accompanied by an engaging fact-filled explanation by celebrated author Richard Platt. Covering more than 30 diverse and fascinating topics, there is a world of information at your fingertips in this book, which is perfect for all the family to enjoy.
A World of Information is a gorgeous book, filled with fascinating facts about all sorts of things. This is the sort of book that you want to buy for everyone, from curious 8-year-olds to grandparents. It is a book that will be read over and over again and dipped in and out of when you need an answer to a burning question.
There really is a world of information in this book and it is all essential stuff that will be useful to you throughout your life. There is information about different types of knots, how to classify clouds, diagrams of the human skeleton, how to communicate with Morse code and semaphore, the anatomy of a bicycle, the periodic table of elements and the layout of the orchestra. Textual information about each topic is accompanied by retro-style graphics and diagrams.
One of the most appealing things about this book is its size. Its large, hardback format makes it perfect for opening out on a table or on the floor and pouring over. The illustrations are large which means that James Brown has been able to fit lots of information onto each page. You almost wish the pages were detachable so that you could put them on the wall.
A World of Information is a perfect present for anyone in your family this Christmas. It is a book that everyone will love and will want to read. It is certainly one of my favourite children’s nonfiction books of the year.
Imagine that you are a kid that can’t stand animals of any kind. You hate the smell of them, the way they eat their food, the way they look at you with their beady eyes and the sound that they make. Your family love each and every type of animal though and you’re forced to live side-by-side with them. Your worst nightmare would be to actually be an animal. Now, imagine that you woke up one morning, not in your own bed, but in a mud puddle as a pig, or very low to the ground as a tortoise. You would want to try anything you could to become human again. This is exactly the situation that Malcolm finds himself in in David Baddiel’s laugh-out-loud new book, AniMalcolm.
Malcolm doesn’t like animals. Which is a problem because his family love them. Their house is full of pets. What the house is NOT full of is stuff Malcolm likes. Such as the laptop he wanted for his birthday.The only bright spot on the horizon is the Year Six school trip, which Malcolm never thought his parents would pay for. And yet there he is, on the bus, heading to… oh no. A farm. Over the next days, Malcolm changes. He learns a lot about animals. More, in many ways, than he would like. He learns what it’s really like to be an animal. A whole series of animals, in fact…It does make him think differently. And speak differently. And eat differently. And, um, smell differently. But will he end up the same as before? Because sometimes the hardest thing to become is… yourself.
AniMalcolm is a hilarious story about a boy who doesn’t like animals finding himself in a very strange situation. He gets turned into an assortment of different animals and gets a completely different perspective of them. Whether you love animals or hate them, this is a story for you.
The thing I love the most about AniMalcolm is the range of characters. Each of the animals that Malcolm meets has a distinct personality. There are the two tortoises, Benny and Bjornita who are always complaining about how fast everyone moves, three sheep who repeat each other called Dolly 1, Dolly 2 and Dolly 3, Ludwig the pig who can speak most of the ‘malanguages (animal languages) and Chinny the Argentinian Chinchilla. The conversations between some of these characters made me crack up.
The wonderful Jim Field has illustrated this book, as well as David’s previous books. Jim’s style of illustration perfectly suits David’s books. He really brings David’s characters alive. I especially love how he has made each of the animals that Malcolm turns into look like Malcolm’s human self.
AniMalcolm is perfect for any kid who loves funny stories, especially fans of David Walliams. If you haven’t read any of David Baddiel’s books grab AniMalcolm and you’ll be hooked on his books.
There have been a range of activity books that have been published recently. There is something for everyone in the family, from toddlers right through to the 12-year-old history buff.
Alison Lester’s Wonderful World brings together Alison’s illustrations from her many delightful books and gives kids the chance to create their own colourful adventures with Noni the Pony, beach holidays, and explorations of the jungle and oceans. There are more basic illustrations for younger children, right through to very detailed scenes for older children (and their parents). It’s a wonderful colouring book for old and young alike.
See Play Do: A Kid’s Handbook for Everyday Fun is the ultimate activity book for Kiwi families. This fantastic book is packed full of games and activities to get kids thinking, moving, exploring, being creative and having fun. There are pages to draw on, with activities like planning your dream breakfast and drawing while listening to music. There are pages to write on, like writing about what happened the last time you were at the park and writing a playlist of the favourite songs you like to listen to. There are also pages with recipes to try, bird feeders and bath paint to make, and heaps of pages with suggestions of fun things to do and try. There are so many things in this book that I want to do with my toddler. Every family in New Zealand needs this book under their Christmas tree because it is certain to be loved by everyone. It is a real winner!
Peter Goes’ Timeline was a fascinating book that Gecko Press published last year. It starts at the beginning of time and follows events right through to the present day. It is a large book chock-full of information about people, places and events throughout time, and you find something new every time you look at it. Gecko Press have just released a companion activity book for Timeline. This is the perfect book for those kids that love history and who have lots of fascinating facts stored away in their head, especially older children. Kids can be creative while learning about civilisations, historical events and famous people from history. Kids can decorate a cave with rock drawings, bring Ottoman designs to life, graffiti the Berlin Wall, decorate the uniforms of soldiers in the Russian Revolution and help Michelangelo decorate the Sistine Chapel. There is so much variety in this book and it will keep anyone entertained for many, many hours. The pages can also be detached from the book so you can hang your masterpieces on the wall or share them with friends. This is a must-buy Christmas present for older children.
I also want to give a special mention to Gecko Press for their new card games based on two of their best-selling books. Noisy Dominoes was inspired by The Noisy Book, a gorgeous board book featuring lots of different noises to make. In Noisy Dominoes, players have to imitate the noise of the object or animal on their card or mime the action. They have also released Poo Bum Memory, inspired by my favourite Gecko Press book Poo Bum, and featuring words and images from the book. I think these are both a wonderful idea to extend the fun of these two books and they are a lot of fun.
In my school I very rarely have shark books sitting on the shelves because sharks are one of those animals that kids, especially boys are fascinated with. I’ve been keeping my eye out for any great shark books that I can find and thankfully the lovely people at Walker Books have brought a new one to my attention. It’s called Smart About Sharks by Owen Davey and it is absolutely stunning!
Smart About Sharks is one of the most visually appealing nonfiction books that I’ve ever seen. It’s one of those books that you just know kids are going to gravitate towards. The cover grabs you and draws you in to the world of sharks.
Smart About Sharks has everything you wanted to know about sharks and more. Owen explains what sharks are, tells you about their fins, their teeth, their prey, their social life, and he compares the sizes of different sharks. He tells us about the weird and wonderful varieties of shark, shark reproduction, and the place of sharks in mythology. He also tells us what we can do, as humans, to help sharks. There is a great contents and index too to help you find your favourite type of shark.
The thing I love the most about the books from Flying Eye Books is the premium production and this book is no exception. The hard cover, binding and paper are high quality, which makes it feel like a book to treasure. As a librarian I know that it is going to last the distance too. My favourite part of the production of this book is the gorgeous shark end papers.
Smart About Sharks is the second children’s nonfiction book that Owen Davey has created for Flying Eye Books (he also wrote Mad About Monkeys) and I certainly hope he has more in the pipeline. Grab a copy of Smart About Sharks now.
I am a huge Timmy Failure fan! He is one of those characters that I find both funny and annoying. I love his determination and his strive for ‘Greatness.’ Timmy’s mum doesn’t like him doing his detective work because Timmy always ends up in trouble, but Timmy will stop at nothing to keep his business going. In Timmy’s latest adventure, The Book You’re Not Supposed to Have, his mum has banned him from detective work but Timmy finds a way to continue behind his mum’s back, with hilarious results.
The only thing you need to know about Timmy’s latest memoir is that it was never meant for publication. Timmy’s detective log was stolen, and if this book gets out, Timmy will be grounded for life. Or maybe even longer. Because while Timmy was meant to be focusing on schoolwork, he was continuing his detective work in a garden shed. You don’t need the details. Just know this: there’s a Merry, a Larry, a missing tooth and a disappearing friend. But don’t tell Timmy’s mother!
The Book You’re Not Supposed to Have is Timmy Failure at his finest. It is full of Timmy’s silly antics that will make you laugh out loud. His latest case involves the possible kidnap of his best friend Rollo Tookus and there are plenty of suspects, from his piano teacher Ms. Hardie-Heeron to his cousin Larry. Timmy Failure always solves the case, even if it takes him a lot longer than it should.
One of the things I love the most about the Timmy Failure books is the characters. There are some great new characters in this story as well as old favourites that always make me laugh. In this story, Timmy’s cousins Larry and Merry (or Merry Nightmare Before Christmas as he calls her) come to stay at his house and take over his bedroom. Timmy makes them out to be horrible, weird people but of course they’re not. Poor Ms. Hardie-Heeron (great name) is Timmy’s piano teacher, who puts up with a lot from Timmy. Probably my favourite character in this story is Toots, Timmy’s substitute teacher who sits down the back of the class and eats jellybeans by the handful. The ever-entertaining Molly Moskins is back again, trying to help Timmy solve his case.
If you’re a fan of Timmy Failure you must get your hands on this book (even if the title suggests you’re not supposed to have it). I certainly can’t wait for the next Timmy Failure book. The Timmy Failure books are perfect for fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Tom Gates and Big Nate, as they are a great blend of text and cartoons.