Monday, October 31, 2011

Jokes From Outer Space by Katie Wales

What is the best way to see a flying saucer?
Trip up a waiter.

What do you call an astronaut's watch?
A Lunar-tick.

I found this joke book recently specifically about Outer Space. It's not super funny but some of the jokes will make you laugh inside. There are jokes about Martians, spaceships, flying saucers, shooting stars - some people might say the jokes are out of this world. Decided for yourself. Share it with a friend.

Life's Answers by CharlesSchulz

Are you pondering life? This has been the task of many of the world's greatest philosophers, including Charles Schulz. What is the secret of life? Read along and live and learn with characters like Charlie and Sally Brown, Lucy and Linus Lucy Van Pelt and of course Snoopy. This is light-hearted reading just right for one Silent Reading session.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our Planet by Scott Steedman

Have you ever wondered about our planet? Where did it come from? How are seas and deserts formed? What makes the sky blue or the wind blow?
This book will answers those questions and many more. There are short chapters on jungles, deserts, the frozen poles and ways in which we can save our planet. It also has a glossary of useful words and all sections are accompanied by colourful illustrations and helpful diagrams. The whole book is only forty pages long. You could read it easily in two silent reading sessions.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Country Wisdom by Jim Conquest

This is a beautiful coffee table type book with captivating photos of rural Australia by photographer Jim Conquest. As the title implies, it contains little gems of wisdom. I have uploaded a couple of images to give a feel for the book.

Keeping an eye on the neighbours' place

Seek life's hidden treasures

Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards by Serge Bloch

Serge Bloch is one of my favourite illustrators so how happy was I when I saw this book at the Vinnies store in Kingston. There was some pink texta on the front cover but it was easily removed. To see more of Serge's delightful drawings visit his website.

This book is about a nameless boy and the trials and tribulations he faces during his first day at school. The story is driven along on by common idioms, each accompanied by amazing photos and illustrations. I have uploaded two of the pages to give you some idea.

Serge also has a pretty amazing blog which is well worth the visit. Click on the link under the creek:

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Little Book of Calm by Paul Wilson

I have always wanted to read this little book after seeing a very funny episode of Black Books where an extremely stressed-out Manny Bianco rushes into the store to buy The Little Book of Calm. Well, here it is now in our little class library. You can try it out for yourself to see if it calms you down. Let me know, maybe it could be good for behaviour management ;P
I particularly like this tip:
Imagine every day is a holiday. Do one little thing that simulates this holiday mood each day, then watch your worries fade away.
Now you can do this or just hang out for the next public holiday. Happy and calm reading.

T'rific Trivia by James Kemsley

This book of trivia about Australia is an interesting as well as entertaining read. The trivia comes with funky ink drawings. Did you know that Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth? Or...that Aussies consume 40 kilos of oranges each every year? Or...that oikology is the study of housekeeping? I found this book extremely interesting, just the book to relax with after coming in from a hectic lunch break. So why not share some of this amazing trivia with your friends. Have you just finished reading something heavy, then, this could be your next selection off the shelves of the Little Library of Rescued Books.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall

Set in Garmouth in 1941 during the heavy bombing raids of the second world war, this Carnegie Medal novel focuses on Chas McGill and his friends and enemies who collect war souvenirs. Chas chances upon a fully-operational machine gun which will rival the nose-cone his morally-corrupt, arch enemy Boddser has in his possession. He and his friend Cem steal the gun from a fallen HE 111 German bomber plane; never mind the dead German pilot still inside the cockpit. Together with Audrey, Clogger, Carrot-juice and Nicky they set about building their own fortress. Fatty Hardy, the local cop, for whom the lads have absolutely no respect, suspects something is amiss and is hot on their tail trying to avert the inevitable tragedy. Throw in an injured Nazi, Rudi, who finds himself imprisioned by the gang, and you have the making of an exceptional wartime novel which offers excellent insight in the lives of families, (some of which are dysfunctional) struggling with rationing, continued bombing raids, rumours of a Nazi invasion and of course their uncontrollable offspring. Below is the first episode of the 1983 BBC television series based on the book. It is fairly true to the novel, although the end is somewhat shortened but certainly not disappointing. I read this fairly challenging novel to my first grade 6 class at Edith Creek and there are now four copies in the Little Library of Rescued Books, all with different covers. A great book to read along with friends. The author, Robert Westall born in 1915 has sadly passed away, and is one author whom I would have loved to have met. There is one precious video clip of this fascinating man on the web talking about cats and a another novel he penned called Blitzcat :

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

My daughter, Nicola, and I just loved this debut novel and also the ensuing, award-winning film which was scripted by the author herself. I am a fan of Melina Marchetta and have recently finished reading her latest release, The Piper's Son. Looking for Alibrandi is a coming of age story which is set in Sydney in 1999 and revolves around Josie Alibrandi, a seventeen year old Australian of Italian descent. Life with her Mum in a terraced house in Glebe has its ups and downs and her interfering grandmother certainly doesn't make things easier. Josie is at that age where she is trying to take control of her own life. and in her final year at high school she is planning to turn over a new leaf, get good grades and eventually go to uni to study law. She finds that her Italian heritage and the fact that she is a "scholarship" girl seem to go against her given the predominant snobby and bigoted clientele of the school. John, the school captain at a neighboring school is a refreshing distraction from all of this. Then her father unexpectedly moves to Sydney and tragedy strikes.

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

Mention author, Ethel Turner, to primary children nowadays and you are likely to get a lot of blank looks. I remember when Mr Taylor, my teaching partner, at Blackmans Bay read chapter one to our two classes and then showed them the television series over a few weeks. Most students became enthralled by it, appreciating the humorous and sad moments as well as the complexities of characters such as Esther, Judy, Meg, Pip, Nell, Bunty, Martha and of course the ever-austere Captain Woolcot. This book is a offers a great social commentary of the times. From chubby Baby right through to sixteen year old Judy the novel takes an authentic step back into the history of the late nineteenth century and today's students will be mesmerized by the lifestyle the family lived, the strictness of the rules and the manner in which each of the children respond to the boundaries their father puts in place. Their concept of discipline will certainly take on a whole new meaning. To watch the first episode of the popular televison series of 1973, click on the link below:
We are currently watching the series over two weeks in Bay Unit and it seems to have the students enthralled. There are ten episodes in all.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dusting in Love by Max Dann

I love this book and have read it out loud as a class novel on about three occasions with it receiving a warm reception by the students each time. So I was pleased to see in on the shelf at Lifeline for a mere 50 cents; an ex-library book. It has a cast of thousands, Thesaurus, Dusting, Grotty, Max Millicent, Phoebe, Gilbert and Mr Lord, but each is well-developed through the dialogue, description and their part in the plot. Author, Max Dann, has written two other books about these characters: Adventures with My Worst Best Friend, and Going Bananas. In this book, Roger Thesaurus watches in disbelief as his friend Dusting, sworn girl-hater, loud mouth and bully, falls head over heels for Phoebe Drake. As always with Dann's books, there is a mystery to be solved as well, and Dusting and Thesaurus suddenly and quite accidentally find themselves in the middle of a murder scene. This is a laugh-out-loud book which will put you in a good mood and have you reaching for Dann's other books.

The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide

I read this book in my first year of teaching at Edith Creek; it was part of a reading kit. It could be read in one silent reading session. Treehorn, the main character, discovers he is shrinking and how very inconvenient that proves to be. When he tries to tell people in his life of his predicament he just keeps getting inane and unrelated comments back. "Heaven knows I have tried to be a good mother,"sniffs his mum. "We don't shrink in this class," says his teacher. This humorous story will delight any child who has felt ignored by grown-ups. It is an easy read with quirky illustrations done by Edward Gorey which set the stage for Treehorn's helplessness and dratically dimishing stature. Treehorn eventually finds his own solution.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Clowning Sim by David Martin

Well, I am back from a month in France and am reading a few more childrens' books. I have just finished this Australian novel written in 1988 which I found in an opportunity shop recently. This Australian novel was made into a television series which aired in 1992 through 1993 which I haven't actually seen. The novel is nothing short of bizarre but I found it improved as I persevered with it. Sim, who is the class clown, fails on stage and finds his new foster home not quite working out, so he simply takes off which is something he is prone to doing when the going gets tough. He joins a rodeo tour as a clown who detracts marauding beasts away from calf ropers, steer wrestlers and bull riders. This job doesn't work out too well for him either as his ideas to change the show downright aggravate the owner, Theo Carter. He then joins a rundown circus where he finally by chance meets Anatole Tolin, the one-armed acrobat who lost his arm in stinky Rotorua, who can take him places, namely France. I didn't find the main character Sim at all endearing or engaging but the strangeness of the plot kept me reading; I have never read a book quite like this one before. The dialogue is stilted and unnatural yet the vivid descriptions and refreshing use of similes keep the text alive. There is not a great deal available on the internet about the author David Martin (1915-1997), but it seems he wrote a variety of novels for teenages dealing with intercultural issues. He was born in Budapest, Hungary and educated in Germany.