Sunday, April 8, 2018

9th April Unicorn Day

What mythological creature has been more beloved over the centuries than the unicorn? Symbols of purity and enchantment, unicorns are loved by both children and adults alike and are integral parts of many fairy tales and legends.

Unicorns certainly do appear to be popular in children's books and just as well because I am constantly asked for a 'unicorn book'. Luckily I have quite a few in the library to choose from. The most popular are probably Amy Krouse Rosenthal's two books about Uni the Unicorn and Amy Young's books about Sparkle, but if you look on this Pinterest page you will see there are many others to choose from and to use for a quick display to celebrate this day.

A group of able Year 2 students  have taken to reading the series of graphic novels about Phoebe and her unicorn too, so come tomorrow unicorn books will be walking out the door of the library.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

2nd April Ferret Day

Yesterday was Ferret Day and I thought momentarily about including it on my blog, but as not many people  in Australia really keep ferrets as pets, I didn't. Then today my friend at Momo Celebrating Time to Read wrote about a new Australian poetry book on her blog  which included a poem from Brisbane author/illustrator Elizabeth Nussey which had a line saying 'ferrets fandango' so I reneged and thought why not include it on my blog.

The library had five ferret books, five more than I thought we would have! And Lorna Hendry's wonderful new book Pets  also has ferrets so we can do a Ferret Fandango display!

My Pet Ferret  by Lynn Hamilton
Fergus - Fabulous Ferret  by Alison Prince
A Small Ferret Wrote This Book by Rebecca Elliott
 The Ferret's a Foot by Colleen A.F. Venable
This is Book 3 in a graphic novel series especially for young readers called Guinea Pig Pet Shop Private Eye
Ferret on the Loose by Heather Gallagher

Friday, March 30, 2018

4th April International Carrot Day

Yesterday at school we had our Easter Hat Parade and there were lots of carrots featured on hats and that got me thinking about how many picture books feature carrots too. In fact there is a book on this year's UKLA Book Award shortlist that has a carrot as a main character, Colin and Lee Carrot and Pea. This shortlist is chosen by students and teachers so the books have stood up to classroom reading scrutiny.

As it happens to be International Carrot Day on the 4th April, when the students get back from Easter break the first display of books they will see as they walk through the library doors will be celebrating carrots.

There they will see:
Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea by Morag Hood

The Giant Carrot by Allan Manham & Penny Dann
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
Too Many Carrots by Katie Hudson
Carrot Soup by John Segal
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens
Chickens Can't See in the Dark by Kristyna Litten
Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots by Claire Burgess
The Princess and the Pea and Carrots by Harriet Ziefert
Dozy Bear and the Secret of Food by Katie Blackburn & Richard Smythe
Carrots Grow Underground by Mari Schuh
Planting Radishes and Carrots by Faye Bolton
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
When Carrots Ruled the World  by David LeBarron
Parrot Carrot by Jol & Kate Temple
Wolfish Stew by Suzi Moore & Erica Salcedo
Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley
T-Veg: The Story of a Carrot Crunching Dinosaur by Smitri Prasadam-Halls

What have I missed?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

15th March Shoe the World Day

Each day over 500 million children, teens and adults around the world do not have a pair of shoes to wear, and despite the terrain and the climate, they have to walk barefoot everywhere. It is a struggle each day that we cannot begin to imagine. So yes we do need this Shoe the World Day. Talking to my students this week we compared their trip to school with that of Anna in Alma Fullerton's A Cloud of Dust and talked at length about how many pairs of shoes they had compared to what they needed. 

While this book Stand in My Shoes by Bob Sornson is somewhat heavy-handed and lacks the beautiful art work of the other books listed here, this is indeed what we want our students to do, we want them to empathise with people who live very different lives from theirs.

Here are some picture books that feature shoes that really make a difference to the way students may see the world. 

 • Running Shoes  by Frederick Lipp. This powerful story tells of how a very poor Cambodian child, Sophy's life changes as the result of getting a pair of shoes.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams tells the story of two young girls, Lina and Feroza who are living in a refugee camp in Pakistan. When relief workers bring around some clothing they both want this pair of shoes.

One Red Shoe by Karin Gruss is also set in the middle east in a war zone. This is based on a real life experience of a reporter in a war zone and best suited to older students.

Rebel! by Allan Baillie. This book is out of print but worth seeking out in a library. It tells the story of a child in Burma who is extremely brave during a General's visit to his village. I have had some wonderful class discussions with this book with older students. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

26th February Pistachio Day

Pistachio Day celebrates the popular nut, which are native to the Middle East. The largest producer of pistachio nuts today is Iran but they are also grown in other areas, including California and Mediterranean Europe. The Chinese are the greatest consumers of the nut. It is thought that pistachio nuts have been eaten by humans for at least 9000 years.

Pistachio nuts are not something that is popular in the plots of children's books and other than The Pistachio Prescription, the well-known novel about Cassie who felt better when she ate these nuts by Paula Danziger any others really aren't worth recommending.

However there are three little books for those readers just starting on chapters that are popular in my library and they have the word pistachio in their titles. All three are about Princess Pistachio, her pesty baby sister Penny and her dog. They were originally published in French, are written and beautifully illustrated in colour by Canadian Marie-Louise Gay and have been translated into English by her son, Jacob Homel.

No pistachio nuts here, but fun for beginning readers. There are:

Princess Pistachio
• Princess Pistachio and the Pest, and
Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent.

Friday, February 23, 2018

23rd February Play Tennis Day

Although tennis is not often a sport I get asked for books about, there are always a few very keen tennis players in my under eight years old cohort. Tennis has been in existence for a long time, but the collection of books in the library is small. This is what we have and the two marked with ** are by far the most popular:

Let's Play Tennis by Kate Simkins
Tennis School by Naia Bray Moffatt
Let's Have a Hit: Max Plays Tennis by Benjamin Sullivan

Diary of a Tennis Prodigy by Shamini Flint **
Sporty Kids: Tennis by Felice Arena **
Alice the Tennis Fairy by Daisy Meadows
Boys Rule! Tennis Ace  by Felice Arena
Too Cool: Tennis Ace by Phil Kettle
Girlz Rock: Doubles Trouble by Shey Kettle

and for the extra keen, a bibliography
Martina and Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sport  by Phil Bildner

Saturday, February 17, 2018

19th February Tug-of-War Day

All children know what tug-of-war is, because it is a fun activity on school sport or picnic day. Schools may not always play it the 'formal' way that international competitions use, but it is meant to be fun.

The concept of tug-a-war has been treated admirably by picture books, most of which have  African animals 'warring' to see who is strongest. 

In John Agard's version a rhino and an elephant are tricked by Brer Rabbit into staging a tug-o-war which ends in a dead heat. Brer Rabbit teaches them that 'friendship is longer than rope'. 

In John Burningham's tale an elephant and a hippo tease poor hare constantly, until fed up the hare challenges each of them to a tug-of-war. As before, he tricks them and proves that brains can be better than brute strength.

 Beverley Naidoo takes the African setting further giving the animals African names befitting the Nigerian folktale upon which the story is based.
'Mmutla the hare tricks Tlou the elephant and Kubu the hippo into having an epic tug of war. The whole savanna is soon laughing at their foolishness. However small animals should not make fun of big animals and King Lion, together with Tswhene the baboon and wise old Khudu the tortoise set out to teach Mmutla a lesson - but the clever hare is always one step ahead.'


And in the newest version by Naomi Howarth, it is the tortoise who challenges Elephant and Hippo to a tug-of-war. As in the other stories they end up fighting each other.

All these fables about wit and wisdom being more important than physical size or strength and how friendship matters most are masterfully told and beautifully illustrated.