Book Reviews, Lists, Discussions, and Displays

Tag: Picture book (Page 2 of 2)

Book Review: If I Were a Wizard

If I Were A Wizard – Paul Hamilton – EdTech Team Press – Published 1 November 2016

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Synopsis

While his fellow classmates dream of becoming football players, architects, and doctors, Ralph wants to be a wizard. With his magic, he would help his friends and family members—and even make the world a better place!

If I Were A Wizard introduces coding concepts through the enchanting imagination of a young boy. From Repeats and Loops to Algorithms, If I Were a Wizard prompts discussion and helps build conceptual understanding of coding.

My thoughts

If I Were A Wizard introduces the concepts of coding to children (and adults) in this imaginative picture book.

When Ralph’s teacher asks the class what they want to be when they grow up, there is the predictable reply of football player and doctor and architect. But Ralph wants to be a wizard. When his teacher asks why, Ralph explains all the ways in which he could help his family with his magic.

This book can be read as a simple but lovely story about a little boy who wants to help people, but cleverly hidden are the basic coding concepts. For example, when Ralph explains that he wants to make ten perfect waves for his father, this introduces the concepts of repeats and loops, and when he wants to help his grandfather retrace his steps to find his glasses this introduces sequence and order. Luckily for those of us who might be a little unsure about these concepts, they are all included in a glossary at the end of the book, which links the page to the concepts and provides an explanation.

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Book Review: A Patch From Scratch

A Patch from Scratch – Megan Forward – Penguin/ Viking – Published 28 March 2017

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Synopsis

Jesse and Lewis want to grow their own fruit and vegies, just like people do on a farm. They’re going to dig and build, plant and grow, and when they’re finished they’re going to have a feast!

My thoughts

A Patch From Scratch is the story of Jesse who, with his mum and his dad and his big brother Lewis, creates a veggie patch.

There is something so deliciously earthy about this book, from the avocado-green end pages to the beige backgrounds on each page. This book is packed with heaps of content. The story flows nicely as the family first dream about their new veggie garden, then create a plan, begin building the chicken coop and raised garden bed, and start their planting. Everything from composting to companion planting, seed raising to pest control is covered within the story. There is enough information for this to become a wonderful guide for children who want to create their own veggie patch. Jesse even creates his own plant diary. The back of the book also contains information about the history of home veggie patches, where to find more information, the cycle of the veggie patch creation and maintenance and even some recipes to try.

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Book Review: Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous

Bala-Gala

Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous – Gita V. Reddy – Published 7 August 2015

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Synopsis

Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous is a bed time story for kids, and also a first-read for early readers.
Bala-Gala lives in the forest of Gamba-Bamba, and must save himself from the crocodile, Brammy-Gommy, who lives in the River Kanga.
But who is Bala-Gala? Is he is deer, a tiger, a dinosaur, or a dragon? The answer will delight kids, as will the story. 

My thoughts

I was asked to read and review this children’s picture book. It is a clever and sweet story about a child’s playful imagination.

Bala-Gala is brave and dangerous. When he walks through the forest as a deer his friends hide from his large, earth-shaking steps. When he is a tiger he can scare the nasty crocodile. And he loves being a dinosaur so he can carry his friends all over the forest. But when a monster threatens the peace of the forest it will be up to Bala-Gala to save his friends.

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Book Review: The Duck and the Darklings

Duck and the Darklings

The Duck and the Darklings – Glenda Millard, Stephan Michael King – Allen & Unwin Australia – Published 1 April 2014

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Synopsis

Grandpapa’s eyes shine when he remembers the beauty of the world, long-ago. Peterboy wants to find something wonderful to bring the light to Grandpapa’s eyes and keep it there. What he finds is a duck, wounded and broken, and Grandpapa mends her from top to tail; quack, waddle and wing! This is a triumphant story, for children and adults, about the coming of hope in dark days, the warmth of friendship and the splendour of a new dawn.

My thoughts

This is the first book I will be reviewing as part of my Book Week 2015 summary. The Duck and the Darklings has been nominated for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award in 2015 in the Picture Book of the Year category. You can find the full short list of nominated titles here.

The Duck and the Darklings is a very special picture book, most notably for its creativity. I have read lots of post-apocalyptic young adult books, but never have I come across a post-apocalyptic picture book before now.

Peterboy lives with his Grandpapa. They live underground, away from the ruined world where they only venture to scavenge for lost things. When Peterboy finds an injured duck, he takes her back to his grandfather. Together they mend the duck and she in turn brings happiness and light to Peterboy and Grandpapa, inspiring them to look past their safe hole in the dark for hope for the future.

The illustrations in The Duck and the Darkling are as beautiful as they are unique. Large swarths of black and purple shade the majority of the book, with swirls and splashes of colour in yellow, red and green, purple, orange and pink. Peterboy, Grandpapa, Idaduck and their fellow Darklings stand out, drawn in white with black outlines. The writing style is incredibly poetic. The ideas of where the characters are living now, why and what happened to where they were living before are all cleverly alluded too. There will be much to discuss with young readers about what they think happened and why. There are wonderful words, such as disremembered and spiderling, and nothing is described with one word where two or more can be used. Sticks are fiddlesticks for firewood and collecting water is instead filling billies with trickle.

Aside from its creativity and unique beauty, this book is so well placed for Book Week 2015. The themes of dark and light and hope work so beautifully with this year’s theme Books Light Up Our World, as indeed they do in this time of considering our impact on the world. A wonderful and thought-provoking picture book.

More information

Category: Fiction – Picture Book.

Genre: Post-apocalyptic

Themes: Social issues, friendship, family, environment, communities, hope and renewal.

Published: 1 April 2014 by Allen & Unwin.

Format: Hardcover, ebook. 32 pages.

Find it on Goodreads

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