While two children are holidaying with their Nana, they stumble across a piggybank that their Pop had kept tucked away for a rainy day. Inside they find a shimmering green banknote that sparkles with magic and immediately flies out the door. The children quickly follow, eventually finding themselves in front of a huge department store named WIZARD & CO. Inside, the chief goblin informs them that a one hundred pound Hocus Pocus note is a lot of money, and tells them to 'Expect the unexpected - this is magic after all!' He guides them through the eight levels or floors, each one a riot of colour, curiosities and surprises. Level one has rainbow makers and flying toasters, level two is where books come alive, level 3 has wonderful food (watch out for the blackbird pies!) and level four is where the teddy bears are having their tea. On level five they find train sets with tiny people, and up on level six is where games are played including snakes and ladders - with real snakes! Levels seven and eight are full of intriguing gardens and giant sized lollies. As they reach the check out ready to pay for the wondrous things they've chosen, the note takes off again to the very top floor, where a wise old wizard gives them a choice - keep all they have chosen, or buy a new wheelchair for their Nana Claire, whose wheels have fallen of her old wheelchair. A mixture of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium, this book is full of stunning illustrations that invite the reader to look again and again to see what they can find. Even on the very last page there's a secret code to decipher! Kindness, being mindful of the choices we make, and putting others needs before your own, are the themes embedded within this lyrical rhyming story and, as the wizard so eloquently says, 'A simple act of giving is the most magical of all.' A delight for younger readers and a must have for all library collections.
Kindness, empathy, disabilities, toys, wizards, book characters, money, inventions, board games, gardening, plants and coding could all be linked as teaching ideas for the classroom from this beautiful picture book.
Find out more about Mitchell Toy here.
Published 2021 by Five Mile Press.
ISBN 9781922514486 (HB)
Recommended for ages 3 - 7
'I'm afraid I have some bad news.' Ms Burns, the librarian, is about to tell twins, Sassafras and Alcatraz (Sass and Traz for short) not just bad news, but the worst possible news EVER! Mayor Carter is going to demolish the town library and Ms Burns will have to leave! The twins love their local library and its librarian. There is no library at school anymore, and this is one of the few places away from the hustle and bustle of life where they both feel comfortable - especially Traz. They try to think of a way to help but it seems Ms Burns has tried everything. 'You can help me pack?' suggests Ms Burns. Sass heads down to the storeroom to bring up some packing boxes for the books, leaning on the old, dusty library card catalogue shelf to steady herself, and her anger, in the dim light. As she does so, a drawer abruptly throws itself open, and cards start to pop up as if to say 'pick me!' As she reads out the book information on the highest card, Sass hears a scream from upstairs. She doesn't know it yet, but Sass has just brought one of the books and it's swashbuckling characters to life! She races back upstairs, and what follows is an hilarious and magical journey through time and literature, as the library itself begins to fight back. Well known author Michelle Worthington's new book is a fast paced, fun filled adventure, with some of our favourite and most famous book people as the unlikely heroes. This story will captivate and engage young readers as well as highlight the special place libraries have in our communities.
Find out more about Michelle Worthington here.
Released 20 October, 2021, by Daisy Lane Publishing
ISBN: 9780648819356 (SC)
ISBN: 9780648819363 (eBook)
Recommended for ages 7 - 12
This book was in my school library but not in my own, and I am thrilled to finally have a copy for my home library. There are so many layers to this beautiful story, and much that can be taught and expanded upon for use in the classroom. A young child becomes separated from family in the aftermath of a huge storm. She calls out for them, but no answer comes back. She runs to the beach hoping they might be there, but instead finds a baby seal who is also alone and frightened. She sees an abandoned boat and pushes the two of them out to sea, desperate to get away in case the storm comes back. They journey together for many days and nights, through cruel and kind weather, providing warmth and comfort for each other. One day, another seal appears, and mother and baby are reunited, and guide the young girl towards land. At first, she is lonely without the baby seal, until she is reunited with her family and feels safe again at last. Robert's heartwarming, poignant text is brought to life by Anna's stunning illustrations. The power and destruction of the storm, the changing moods and vastness of the sea, and the joy of both reunions are captured perfectly in the palette of ocean colours and facial expressions evident on each page. Friendship and hope, refugees, immigrants, marine animals, global warming, geography (islands nations) and extreme weather could all be linked as teaching ideas from this gorgeous book. A must have for any school or home library.
Find out more about Robert Vescio here.
Find out more about Anna Pignataro here.
Published 2021 by New Frontier Publishing Pty Ltd
ISBN 9781922326294 (HB)
Recommended for ages 3 - 6.