Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Wow! I am loving these newly published picture books and a freebie!!!

I am linking up with Em from Curious Firsties to share my Wow! for the week. Click on the image above to check out Em's blog and other Wow! moments from other bloggers.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you will know I have an addiction for picture books.  I have a couple of friends from Scholastic who feed that addiction for me, and I am very thankful for it.  A big disclaimer - I do not profit from reviewing their books and only review the ones that "speak to me"...if you get my drift :)

I am very excited to share some of these with you today and to link up with Emily at Curious Firsties for my WOW moment this week :)

1.  "Eliot Midnight Superhero" by Anne Cottringer.

This is such a cool story.  It could tie in with a unit of study on superheroes or just be enjoyed on its own.  Eliot is a quiet boy by day, who likes to read and play with his toys, but at night, Eliot is transformed into a superhero!  Read some ideas for sharing this text here.  I just love the illustrations in this book, by Alex T. Smith.  The illustration of Eliot himself, is just adorable. There are lots of hidden "extra messages" in the illustrations on each page.  

This picture book is wonderful for exploring adventure and imagination and the problem/solution top level structure.  It would also be a terrific mentor text to use for exploring creative vocabulary and as a model for the children's own writing of a narrative adventure.  I am sure all children at some stage have dreamed of being superheroes and saving the world, so this is sure to be a real hit.

The title of this newly released picture book reminded me of "Finding Nemo" - "fish are friends, not food" and the cover illustration has a shark with big fangs (but looking not too scary with a little fish.  The paperback version has only been released this month (January 2014). Before reading this book, I am already making a text-to-text connection with "Finding Nemo", so let's read it and find out...Actually, let's watch the book trailer first as an advanced organiser....I am noticing that Nugget is a minnow and Fang is a shark and the use of tense in the book trailer, that they "were best friends", that's making me think that they may not be best friends anymore!
Oh, this is hilarious and the book trailer gives you a sense that this will be a story about friendships, perhaps fear and the effects of learning...reminds me a bit of the adult literacy students I used to teach and how their families sometimes became threatened by their new learning and how it sometimes changed relationships...I am keen to read it now!!!  So...here goes...

My first thought...the illustrations are bright and adorable.  As I am reading, I am thinking this would be a useful text for teaching:

Time (temporal) sequencing:  On Monday...that afternoon...On Tuesday...On Wednesday...
Wit/puns:  "Have you lost your gills?"; "Oh my algae"; "Holy mackerel!"...

Ah, now I am making a connection to "Finding Nemo" again, when the net comes down and catches the minnows.  Great text for problem/solution too!  I am loving it - it is sure to be a hit!  

3.  My third share is a set of companion texts that fit together so nicely - just like a jigsaw puzzle!

You can view Oliver Jeffers reading "Stuck" on YouTube here.  What a terrific story for mapping a series of events (story mapping)...but does anyone ever stop to question how Floyd could unattach the kitchen sink or front door to throw up in the tree?  Or if he would be capable of throwing the family car, a big boat, the house across the street or a lighthouse up into the tree? And where did the orangutan, rhinoceros and whale come from?...And...what did Floyd forget? Terrific, whimsical illustrations are sure to delight readers.

A free matching activity for "Stuck" is available here.  Comprehension questions and activities can be found here.
"The Gobbling Tree" by Mark Carthew is an excellent companion text to "Stuck" and it has just been released (January 2014) in paperback form.  You can view an animated version of "The Gobbling Tree" here read by the author.  Again, a terrific text for problem/solution, sequencing events in the story (story mapping), as well as rhyming words and onomatopoeia.  An activity for "The Gobbling Tree" can be found here and free teaching notes can be found here.

"Stuck" and "The Gobbling Tree" are crying out for a compare/contrast activity - maybe a Venn Diagram?  Now there's a plan...okay...you can download a freebie by clicking on the image below...

Please follow my blog (using the links in the right hand comment) to accept this giveaway.

This reminds me of another text by David Drew, "The Cat on the Chimney" which is part of the Realization technology series.  You can preview it here.  Students need to work out how to get Jitters the cat down from the chimney using certain equipment - great for integrating technology and problem solving.  What's exciting is that all three of these authors - Oliver Jeffers, Mark Carthew and David Drew - are all Australians, so that's another thing in common with these three texts. 
"The Boy and the Airplane" by Mark Pett (2013) is a wordless picture book about a boy who loses his airplane and his inventive solution for getting his toy airplane down from the roof.  It would make another terrific companion text along with the other titles above.  Students could write their own narrative to accompany the illustrations in this wordless picture book, or they could invent their own solutions for retrieving the airplane from the roof.

This has been such a Wow! week for me discovering these newly published picture books and linking them to some of my past favourites.

You can read about some of these and other new releases (with book reviews) here.

How do I love children's books?  Let me count the ways :)


  1. Lovely post, Miss Kylie! I will have to check out these new books. You know me...I am a sucker for new books. Thanks for the cute freebie to go with them too.

  2. You are more than welcome Carla - I just loved these new titles and was totally chuffed when I made the connection between "Stuck" and "The Gobbling Tree" - serendipity :)

  3. I love "Stuck" but now I will need to read "The Gobbling Tree." And the Venn Diagram is perfect! I love it!
    Thanks for linking up. It means so much to me.

  4. You are more than welcome Em...I had a great time putting this post together and will link up again if you are happy for me to share my "Wow!" moments with picture books..."like honey to a bee, picture books and me" :) Kylie

  5. Great reviews! I only wish everyone loved books as much we do!


  6. That's why we connect so well Anne and are such great online friends :) You should have included the link to your blog/store, so people could look you up :) I love your work!