The Kids’ Survival Guide “When I was Young…” and other brain-exploding lectures! book review

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Title: The Kids’ Survival Guide “When I was young…” and other brain-exploding lectures!
by: Susan Berran
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Ever notice how adults have a gazillion annoying,
brain-exploding lectures that they repeat over and over and over!?

Like when you ask for pocket-money and you hear those five
terrifying little words… “When I was your age…”

Yeah, yeah I know. When you were my age – six hundred and
ninety-eight years ago when you had a dinosaur for a pet!

Well, get ready to strike back. No more boring lectures,
dumb sayings or annoying rules. I’m going to teach you how to
twist them, flip them, turn them and slam them right back!

Sam lives in the city and loves surfing and hanging out with his mates. Everything is totally awesome until along comes Miss Smelly Melly Poop Pants. And to make matters worse – BOOM – the family moves to the countryside, surrounded by dead-boring hills, dead grass, dead trees and dead sheep! Sam is really peeved, until Jared turns up.

As new best mates, Sam and Jared hang out and get creative with a secret dung-flunger and a Super Charged Cow Crapper Attacker which happens to get them into deep trouble. But then Sam finds the book of all books hidden amongst the toilet cleaning products in the cupboard – ‘Boring Useless Lectures, Lessons, Childrens’ Rules And Punishments’ – BULLCRAP for short.

From here, Sam’s story takes a turn explaining rules of the book in five parts –
Part 1 – Boring Lectures that Explode Your Brain and How to Get Out of Them
Part 2 – Awesome Excuses and Uses
Part 3 – Bending the Rules
Part 4 – Dumb Things Parents Say!
Part 5 – Getting Out of Things with Games That You Never Lose

Author, Susan Berran, has written a fast-paced, action-packed story that will have children sniggering at the events, and some will be nodding their heads at the familiarity of words seemingly used by parents, the world over. Susan has listed an instruction for kids on page 6 – But whatever you do – Don’t let an adult get hold of this book, or you and every other kid on the planet are doomed. After reading the book, I understand the need for the instruction, clearly.

Purchase a copy: Big Sky Publishing – The Kids Survival Guide

Title: The Kids’ Survival Guide “When I was young…” and other brain-exploding lectures!
by: Susan Berran
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520071
Category: primary school age
Pages: 102

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts, book review

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Title: Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts
by: John Townsend
illustrated by: David Antram
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

This hilarious, fact-packed joke book will have young readers laughing as they’re learning. It features dozens of gut-busting gags that children can share with their friends, themed around the gross and gruesome aspects of the human body, along with bite-sized information about the topics covered. Hold onto your sides and dive in!

Q: What does a brain do when it sees a friend across the street?
A: It has a quick brain wave!

Author, John Townsend, makes a statement at the beginning of ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts’: Our body is totally, amazingly, incredibly, mind-bogglingly, astoundingly, BRILLIANT, and also revolting. After reading his book, I whole heartedly agree.

John has organised the ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts’ book by body bits and pieces:

Body Secrets
Bacteria
Body Visitors
Sneezes
Stomach
Gooey Innards
You Are What You Eat
Record Breakers
A Whiff Of Trouble
Foul, Cheesy And Breezy
Tales of the Heart
Hairy, Scary, Icky & Sticky
Yucky, Mucky & Unlucky
Warts and All
Skin and Bones
Did You Know…
Dead Bodies
Dead Gruesome Facts
Live Gruesome Stuff
Brainy Stuff
Sleepy Slumbers & Neurotic Nightmares

In each of these body bit and pieces ‘chapters’ are interesting facts before some jokes emerge. A churning of your stomach is almost guaranteed with each page turn. There are also limericks and Cheesy Doctor Sketches to keep you rolling your eyes and giggling.

And for those who love to test their knowledge, there’s a quiz at the back of the book, as well as an index. So if you want to look up snot (kids love these parts), you will find it is mentioned on three pages, and poo (the top kid magnet) is found on four pages.

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Artist, David Antram, has created illustrations that will have children vocalising an ‘Eeeew!’ in some parts. The illustrations are totally suitable for the text and help create impact.

If your child is intrigued by the human body, and most of them are, I can assure you that John Townsend’s book, ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts’ will make them groan or feel sick out loud. I would gift my children the book for entertainment value, just to watch them pull an assortment of different faces as they read.

Purchase a copy: Big Sky Publishing – Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts

Title: Truly Foul & Cheesy Body Jokes & Facts
by: John Townsend
illustrated by: David Antram
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520477
Category: children’s
Pages: 128

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts, book review

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Title: Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts
by: John Townsend
illustrated by: David Antram
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

This hilarious, fact-packed joke book will have young readers laughing as they’re learning. It features dozens of gut-busting gags that children can share with their friends, themed around the gross and gruesome aspects of the animal kingdom, along with bite-sized information about the topics covered. Hold onto your sides and dive in!

Q: What do you call an elephant that never washes?
A: A smellyphant!

You have probably heard that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter gets those happy juices flowing through your body retuning you to some kind of normal (we hope). After teaching for twenty-five years, I can tell you there is nothing better than the sound of children’s laughter, and watching those smiles on the kid’s faces.

Author, John Townsend, has created a hybrid book of serious and funny at the same time – something truly unique, and catering for both children’s thirst for knowledge as well as the need for light heartedness. He has logically organised the ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts’ book by animals:

Elephants
Hippopotamuses
Poolicious
Skunks
Birds
Bears
Sloths
Big Cats
Reptiles
Monkeys
Giraffes
Camels
Cows
Frogs
Bats
Kangaroos
Rats

 

In each of these animal ‘chapters’ are intriguing facts before the jokes begin. A rumble of laughter will be bubbling inside you with each page turn. There are even limericks splashed here and there to keep you giggling. And for those who love to test their knowledge, there is a quiz at the back of the book.

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Artist, David Antram, has created exceptionally cool illustrations with humour that adds another level of fun to this book.

I can guarantee you that John Townsend’s book, ‘Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts’ will have the sound of your child’s laughter echoing on the walls of your house.

Purchase a copy: big sky publishing Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts

Title: The Truly Foul & Cheesy Animal Jokes & Facts
by: John Townsend
illustrated by: David Antram
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520484
Category: children’s
Pages: 128

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Shiver Me Timbers!, book review

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Title: Shiver Me Timbers!
by: Oakley Graham
illustrated by: Nina Caniac
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

This is the tale of a fearsome pirate crew,
They’ll shiver your timbers with the things they do!

Join Captain Black and his pirate crew as they go looking for treasure in a swashbuckling, sea shanty adventure on the high seas.

Pirates never go out of favour. Oakley Graham has written Shiver Me Timbers! in rhyme, telling the tale of Captain Black and his fierce pirate crew. The story has all the lashings of the pirate life—a typhoon, treasure, sail mending, scrubbing the deck, walking the plank, sharks, mermaids, the poop deck, surfing and an angry octopus.

Illustrator, Nina Caniac has used a world of colour depicting the ongoing story of the captain and the pirate crew, drawing eager eyes to the pages of the story.

Children will enjoy chanting along to the repeated four line chorus, which appears on each double spread throughout the book. An added bonus to the story are the pirate facts, which can be found at the back of the book.

Purchase a copy: big sky publishing – Shiver-Me-Timbers

Title: Shiver Me Timbers!
by: Oakley Graham
illustrated by: Nina Caniac
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520002
Category: children’s
Pages: 32

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Beowulf The Brave, book review

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Title: Beowulf the Brave
retold by: Oakley Graham
illustrated by: Emi Ordás
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

A brave little boy steps into the big boots of his hero, Beowulf the Brave, in this retelling of the epic poem. But will he defeat the scary monsters that threaten the land?

Children love stories that begin with ‘once upon a time’. Beowulf the Brave, retold by author, Oakley Graham, starts with these exciting words and continues as a rhyming poem, telling the story of Grendel, who was an unstoppable beast that hated laughter. No swords or spears could defeat the foul creature, not even an army of men.

But then there was Beowulf. He was brave. He launched an attack and knocked the monster down flat and sent him to the grave. The act set off a revenge attack by Grendel’s mother, who then was defeated by Beowulf with a giant’s sword. Beowulf becomes a hero of course, and is crowned as the new king.

All is peaceful in the kingdom until a cruel fiery dragon’s great hoard of treasure is disturbed, and King Beowulf the Brave must fight a new battle in his armour…

Illustrator, Emi Ordás, has created appealing pictures that fit the era of the original poem, which was set in Scandinavia, 6th century. The illustrations will have children wishing they could become a character in the story to join in the adventure.

Children will enjoy Beowulf the Brave and want it read over again. It is a fast paced rhyming poem that is based on the longest poem in Old English. The original poem was more than 3,000 lines long!

Purchase a copy: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Beowulf-The-Brave/1159/productview.aspx

Title: Beowulf the Brave
retold by: Oakley Graham
illustrated by: Emi Ordás
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925275933
Category: children’s
Pages: 32

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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The Silent Owl, book review

 

the silent owl

Title: The Silent Owl
by: Sam McPhillips
illustrated by: Clemency Pearce
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

In the deep, dark forest lives a silent owl.
The forest animals are worried about Owl, but he has a few surprises up his sleeve!

I have a new favourite book to add to my list of “picture book favourites” – The Silent Owl, written by Sam McPhillips. The story is simple, with a flowing rhyming text, and filled with caring forest animals. Somehow it makes the world feel like a better place.

The main character is an owl who is silent, by choice or not is up to the reader to decide. The owl remains silent, even as a string of animals visit and ask him a question to encourage him to speak … but he never does. You have to admire the owl for not bowing down to peer pressure and staying calm throughout the series of events. He is not only a silent owl, but a strong owl, or perhaps even a stubborn owl…

Illustrator, Clemency Pearce, has created delightful collage illustrations with backdrops of paint in amazing hues. Her art style would be ideal to emulate as part of an art activity to accompany the story.

I highly recommend The Silent Owl. It’s a story where the owl has an untold story, and one that would lead to interesting discussions with readers, and perhaps creating understanding of other personalities. The Silent Owl is an important story, as it is about acceptance, about differences, and celebrating individuality.

Purchase a copy: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/The-Silent-Owl/1156/productview.aspx

Title: The Silent Owl
by: Sam McPhillips
illustrated by: Clemency Pearce
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520019
Category: children’s
Pages: 32

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Mo, The Daring Dingo, book review

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Title: Mo, The Daring Dingo
by: Diane Evans
illustrated by: Ian Faulkner
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Mo is a daring little dingo with an adventurous spirit that is always getting him into trouble.

Author, Diane Evans, has written a story about Mo, a dingo pup who has bitten off more than he can chew. His mother recognises his excessive energy and fearlessness and tries as she might, to calm him down and keep him safe. However, the dingo pup is determined to explore the world and dreams of great adventures. He has set a stunning waterfall in his sights for a quest, and along the journey he meets other animals who stop him and ask him where he is going. They all give him a warning about a crocodile at the waterfall. But Mo thinks he is faster, smarter and stronger than the crocodile. Until he meets the crocodile…

Illustrator, Ian Faulkner, has created colourful images to depict the story. There are even a couple of fairies who make a regular appearance on the pages, which may lead to discussion about what they represent in the story.

Mo, The Daring Dingo is a fun book about a dingo pup with excess energy who thinks he is invincible. It’s a book about experience, which is the best teacher.

Purchase a copy: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Mo–the-Daring-Dingo/1131/productview.aspx

Title: Mo, The Daring Dingo
by: Diane Evans
illustrated by: Ian Faulkner
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781922132833
Category: children’s
Pages: 42

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Granny’s Place, book review

 

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Title: Granny’s Place
by: Allison Paterson
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Granny and Pa’s farm was the best place in the world, brimming with treasures of the past and endless adventures to be had … but time brings change.

I have a confession. I never read the book blurb on the back cover. I like to read a story without pre-conceived ideas. The title ‘Granny’s Place’ had me dreaming of what visiting a grandmother at her home would be like, as I never had that privilege. As I read the story out loud, I joined in the lovely memories of the main character. But this story has an unexpected turn. I was sure it was going to be about all things wonderful at Granny’s and Pa’s place, and the magical yesteryear memories of uncomplicated times. Until Pa gets sick. Then the story takes a different path.

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Author, Allison Paterson, has captured the era of the grandparents well, with descriptive words of what the main character could see, feel and hear that made you feel like you are right there at Granny’s place too. The author’s words read with a calm fluency, impressing upon the reader that Granny’s place was filled with love, as well as the exciting adventures that come with farm life.

Illustrator, Shane McGrath, has nailed all the details of the grandparents’ era in his illustrations, from the style of the house on the farm and the interior design with all the knick-knacks, to the colour schemes used at the time. He then changes the colour scheme and architectural elements in the new house in keeping with the era when Granny moves from the farm to town, showing the stark contrast in ways of life.

Granny’s Place is a beautiful story showing three generations of family and the love that binds them. It is also a story about loss, dealt with in a caring and sensitive manner, reminding us of the preciousness of family and memories that live on.

Purchase a copy of Granny’s Place:
http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Granny-s-Place-PB/1142/productview.aspx

Title: Granny’s Place
by: Allison Paterson
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925275636
Category: children’s
Pages: 32

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville, book review

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Title: Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville
by: Robert Vescio
illustrated by: Cheri Hughes
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Something VERY valuable is buried in Bunnyville and it’s not what the bunnies think…

Barnaby is a bunny with BIG dreams.
He wants a lush, green Bunnyville filled with fruit and vegetables. But the mayor won’t agree.

Barnaby comes up with a clever plan to help the other bunnies discover where the real treasure is kept!

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Author, Robert Vescio, has created a wise character in his picture book, Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville. Barnaby is a bunny who likes to think. He is also a bit of a rebel, in the kindest of ways as he doesn’t accept the mayor’s view that bunnies don’t plant, they only dig.

And of course, with a thinking bunny comes a planning bunny and a map. A map with a clever plan. One might think it is a manipulative plan, but nevertheless, Barnaby has manipulated the manipulator – all for a good cause.

Barnaby manages to turn the plain grasslands of Bunnyville into a land filled with fruit and vegetables, right under the mayor’s nose. He then delivers a speech about the growing treasures of the earth and the mayor is mightily impressed.

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Illustrator, Cheri Hughes, has created colourful double spread pictures to complement Robert’s story. The eye catching colours will keep children’s eyes glued to the pages as they listen to, or read, the story that unfolds. Watch out for a beetle on each of the pages with Barnaby. It is always up to something and has a story of its own. Another illustration point to investigate the end pages of the book. Cheri has illustrated all sorts of seeds from Barnaby’s collection.

Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville is a wonderful tale of thinking outside of the box. The story clearly shows a problem and the planning to overcome the problem. The book fits perfectly into studying seeds and how to grow them.

Purchase a copy of ‘Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville’: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Barnaby-and-the-Lost-Treasure-of-Bunnyville-HB/1145/productview.aspx

Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville

Title: Barnaby and the Lost Treasure of Bunnyville
by: Robert Vescio
illustrated by: Cheri Hughes
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925275643 (hardback)
ISBN: 9781925275612 (paperback)
Category: children’s
Pages: 32 pages hardback

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Outback Adventure, book review

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Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Outback Adventure
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Tommy Bell’s safe outback holiday on a farm with Martin and Combo is turned upside down when Martin finds a pair of magic old bushranger’s boots. This time, when Tommy’s cabbage-tree hat sends him back to the past, his friend Martin is right there beside him.
The boys join their new friend, Harry, and his gang on a long cattle-droving expedition across Outback Australia. For once it seems as if a journey to the past might be pure, fun adventure, without any risk of running into bushrangers. But why did Harry lie about his past? And who are the ‘thievin’’ McKenzies? It looks like Tommy and Martin’s ‘Outback Adventure’ might be more dangerous than they expected …

Australian history has never been more interesting. Author, Jane Smith, has captured the life of bushranger, Harry Readford, with accurate observation through the eyes of young characters, Tommy Bell and Martin.

Tommy is invited to the middle of nowhere by his friend, Martin. He finds himself at Bowen Downs Station, right in the middle of Queensland. Tommy becomes concerned when Martin discovers a pair of old boots in a cave. He throws on his cabbage tree hat at the same time that Martin puts on the old boots as he is worried about what will happen to his friend. His suspicions of a time machine are confirmed when they go back to 1870. Tommy is well acquainted with the time machine, as his secret treasured hat is also one, and has already taken him on other history adventures.

Tommy and Martin find themselves part of the famous Harry Readford’s gang on a long cattle droving expedition across outback Australia. When Tommy and Martin discover that the cattle are stolen, they choose to return to the present. But the adventure doesn’t stop there…

Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Outback Adventure, is the fourth book in the Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy collection – a remarkable Australian series where fictional characters watch Australian history unfold before their eyes. I highly recommend it for educational institutions and independent readers.

Purchase a copy:Tommy-Bell-Bushranger- Outback Adventure

Teacher notes: Australian Bushranger Series by Jane Smith Teacher Notes.pdf

Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Outback Adventure
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-925520-84-2
Category: primary school age children
Pages: 105

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
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