Saturday, December 31, 2011

Junk Castle by Robin Klein

Mandy, Rene, Con and Splinter are all in the same grade at school and live in the same block of flats. They have nowhere to play and the so called park over the road is only a moderate-sized triangle of grass called The Beatrice Binker Reserve which is not even big enough for a game of soccer. They also have the grumpy and verbally abusive Mr Drake to deal with.
"...aren't you the same kids I have already told of yesterday for chalking arrows all over the footpath you need a good belting the lot of you and you girl yes you with the plaits what do you mean by leaning against my fence like that blocking the sunlight from my dahlias eh speak up!"
Take a step back into the eighties to see what upper primary kids did without Play Stations, mobile phones and other electronic gadgetry. Irene has a speech to make at school so it's off to the local library, no world wide web. In the block of flats they have to creep up and down the stairs to deliver messages to each other, no texting. To alleviate their boredom they scavenge around the neighbourhood for building materials and build their own castle in the reserve. There are now two copies of this little delight with different       covers in the classroom library. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Selby's Secret by Duncan Ball

This book used to belong to my son, Travis. My daughter Nicola also enjoyed the Selby series and I have a tape of her reading aloud from one of the books which I must find some time. Selby's secret is that he just happens to be the only talking dog in Australia and maybe even the world. The book is made up of a series of adventures that he has so you can just read one or two stories in a quiet reading period or settle down to read them all in one sitting when you have more time. They are quite entertaining and not a super challenging read if you are looking for something light.

Girl Underground by Morris Gleitzman

This book follows on from the book Boy Overboard but as with all of Gleitzman's books, it is not necessary to read this novel in order to understand or enjoy this one. The book is signed by the author himself. I bought it for my son, Travis, when I attended one of his seminars. This is a story of friendship, courage and a bit of crime. Bridget wants a quiet life and this is difficult when your Dad is a wheeler and dealer and your brother is in gaol. Bridget doesn't really care for the new, posh school her parents have enrolled her in, but after making the acquaintance with Menzies, son of politician, life becomes more interesting. Menzies makes her an offer she can't refuse, and they set off on a job of their own. It's a desperate, daring plan to rescue two kids, Jamal and Bibi, from a desert detention centre. Can Bridget and Menzies pull off their very first jail break, or will they end up behind bars too? Listen to the first chapter by clicking on the link below:

The Puberty Book by Wendy Darvill and Kelsey Powell

I think just about every student in my grade 5/6 class at Illawarra read this book or a later edition of it in 2011. Both books were hardly ever on the shelf in our little library. Its a great book to read before you go to high school. It has indepth chapters on changes which happen to your body when you are going through puberty, it explains the differences between male and female bodies, and it also has chapters on how to keep yourself healthy, and also on how to get along with others. The last part of the book focuses on fertilisation, pregnancy and birth. There is also a chapter on where to get help if you need some advice on things that are in the book or things that are bothering you. It is an excellent resource for teenagers or students approaching their teens and it is recommended by Family Planning Australia.

The Man Who Loved Boxes by Stephen Michael King

The man had a son. The son loved the man and the man loved the son. This beautifully illustrated hard back picture book is well worth the visit. It examines a very unusual relationship between a father and his son. It is all about how love can be communicated in many another ways apart from words. With all its charming simplicity it gently tackles a quite complete theme; father son relationships. It is both a whimsical and wise story. This is one of the most beautiful and moving books in the Little Library of Rescued Books. The book was first published in 1995 and won the Autralian Family Therapist's Award and was also shortlisted for the Chricton Award for Children's Book Illustrations.

How to Tame a Bully by Nancy Wilcox Richards

This is a small, easy-read chapter book which focuses on a girl called Lauren and her efforts to cope with Bethany's constant bullying. Lauren's first day at school is great, she is in the same class as her best friend Claire and even has scored her favourite teacher, Ms MacArthur. The only problem is she finds herself seated next to Bethany who goes out of her way to be completely obnoxious. Bethany steals her food, makes fun of her and sabotages her classwork. Sadly there doesn't seem to be any upstanders to help her out. Even her best friend can't help her. Suddenly the Lauren and Bethany have to do a project together and Lauren is wondering how this is ever going to work out! The text is accompanied with ink illustrations and is a book you could quite easily read in two silent reading sessions.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Simpsons by Bongo #174: Owl or Nothing & Taming Your Wild Child

As from 2012 there will be more comics available in the Little Library of Rescued Books. In the first story in this Simpsons' edition, Owl or Nothing, Lisa is caring for an injured renegade owl from the Springfield Bird Sanctuary whilst Homer is trying his hand in the Real Estate business as a ruiner of neighbourhhods. The owl is having just as much success in home wrecking and I think Lisa is a little sorry that she took this little hooter on.
In the second, and much shorter story, Taming Your Wild Child, Homer is trying to become a more effective parent, but true to his colours, Homer is only having limited success. These comics are great vehicles for learning about puns (play on words), onomatopoeia, rhetorical questions and sarcasm.