Saturday, August 12, 2017

August Platypus Month

If you live in the Australian Capital Territory during August you can be on a platypus watch. How exciting. These animals are  special, but elusive, so to see one in its natural habitat would be so memorable. There is a good summary of what to know about platypuses here.

There is not an abundance of picture books about the platypus. Unlike echidnas, possums, wombats, kangaroos, bilbies and koalas who feature in stories and expository texts, platypus don't  and when they do they are often not written or illustrated by Australians.

Sue Whiting and Mark Jackson's  Platypus  is the most recent and the best. This book is part of the wonderful Nature Storybook series where there is two fonts, one telling a narrative and the other giving facts about the animal.  These other three are older, but they will add to your knowledge and allow the reader to see the platypus as a story character and learn some of the Aboriginal Dreamtime connection it has and they are published in Australia.

Little Platypus by Nette Hilton and Nina Rycroft
• The Platypus What is it? by Jo Brice and Gregory Rogers
The Little Platypus and the Fire Spirit by Mundara Koran



12th August World Elephant Day

On August 12 World Elephant Day asks us to help conserve and protect elephants from the numerous threats they face.



It is not hard to feel empathy for elephants. It is not hard to get very young children interested in elephants either. There are so many picture books and  short novels for young children that introduce them to some of the difficulties faced by elephants. Recently a group of students and I shared Queenie by Corinne Fenton and we had a long discussion about whether or not elephants should be used to 'ferry' people around zoos. The World's Greatest Elephant by Ralph Helfer is a good book to share to discuss whether elephants should be part of a circus. One Step at a Time by Jane Jolly and Faithful Elephants  by Yukio Tsuchiya allow children to see how elephants can be innocent bystanders in a war.

Two chapter books that my Year 2 and 3 readers enjoy, but are moved to talk about are Tua and the Elephant  by Randall Harris and Akimbo and the Elephants by Alexander McCall Smith.

There are so many wonderful books to introduce children to the marvels of elephants, both expository texts and faction, where they can learn about their life in the wild and what threatens their existence.





For more elephant picture books look here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

29th July International Tiger Day

I have written about this celebration before here, but I need to tell you about some tiger books that have been added to the library since then and two of them are never in the library. As soon as they are returned, they leave again. They are:
• There's a Tiger in the Garden  by Lizzy Stewart
• Tiger in a Tutu by Fabi Santiago.

As well, this year I have purchased these
Cinnamon  a fable by Neil Gaiman.
Never Tickle a Tiger by Pamela Butchart
Goodnight Tiger  by Timothy Knapman
Tiger Tiger  by Jonny Lambert

There are 125 fiction books in the library featuring tigers as well as several lovely nonfiction titles, so come the end of the month the library will be roaring with tigers!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

24th July Amelia Earhart Day

Amelia Earhart Day is celebrated on July 24, 2017. Amelia Mary Earhart (July 24, 1897 - disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first aviatrix (female pilot) to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this record. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. 

I have written about Amelia before here, but many more children's books have appeared about her since then and you need an update about my daughter and her flying progress. She does not yet have a pilot licence but continues to have lessons and enjoy any opportunity to go on a plane.

Tomorrow at school we will put out all our books about Amelia Earhart, including these two new ones and 'escape by plane' but unlike her we will land safely.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

16th July Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

Guinea Pig Appreciation Day only started last year, but it would be a huge hit in my library as the young children I teach love guinea pigs and I am constantly asked for guinea pig stories. Fortunately we have a large number and some of them are series so they can 'get hooked' and keep reading. Humphrey's Tiny Tales by Betty G Birney have been popular and the graphic novel series Guinea Pig Pet Shop Private Eye by Colleen A F Venable has a large following too. We used to have a wonderful Folkmanis guinea pig puppet too, but sadly he was borrowed, never to return. I do know he is probably well-loved! The display does work without accompanying toy or puppets.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

14th July Pandemonium Day

I love the word 'pandemonium' and so do young children. They feel a great sense of achievement when they say it. Therefore I really enjoy reading books to my preschool classes that use that word. Some of my favourites are:






My year 2 readers get quite engrossed in Jeanne Willis' Penguin Pandemonium series too.

I also love the origin of the word, not that I would be teaching Kindergarten about Milton.

 1660-70; after Pandaemonium, Milton's name in Paradise Lost for the capital of hell; see pan-, demon, -ium

Given how many times it is spelled to feature 'panda' in the title though perhaps it should have been spelled with the 'a' not the 'e'.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

9th July Ada's baptism

I have just come home from a lovely celebration for a friend's baby, Ada Grace. For the last week I have been agonising about what gift to give her. I always give this family books, so I felt quite sure they would expect me to arrive with books, but what to take? I had given Ada's older sister picture book bible stories for her baptism, but felt I had chosen the best of these then. So finally I decided to give Ada some books about exemplary Adas. Well as it turned out I had a lot to choose from, all of which she would grow into at some stage. In the end I bought a current favourite, Ada Twist, Scientist and one of the wonderful biographies on Ada Lovelace, Ada's Ideas, but it could have just as easily been any of these below. The one at the top right is book one of a new series about Ada Lace, an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, maths, and solving mysteries with technology. It will be out in August and I will buy it for the library.