Book reviews by Rebecca, teachers' resources

What we’re reading: Hanging Out by Catherine Bateson

"Hanging out (cover)"

Hanging Out, by Catherine Bateson, illustrated by Adam Carruthers,  Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia, 2010

Weston is coming for a visit while his parents are on holiday, and Ben is worried.  Last time Ben saw Weston, Ben made up lots of stories about his life in Melbourne, and now Weston will find out he wasn’t telling the truth. Ben tries to make his mum change her mind.

I remembered everything I had said.

“Mum, he really can’t come here.”

The only true thing I’d told Weston was that we lived near Puffing Billy. We can hear its whistle blow from our house.

As soon as Weston arrives, he’ll start asking about all the activities Ben bragged about. What will Ben do?

This is an early chapter book in the ‘Mates’ series. The colour illustrations by Adam Carruthers are fun. My favourite is a drawing of Miss Phillips on page 35, but I can’t tell you why because it will spoil the story. 🙂

Do you think Ben should tell Weston that he made up most of the stories about his life in  Melbourne?

Reviewed by Rebecca Newman. Our review copy was sent to us by Omnibus Books.
Book reviews by Rebecca, Indigenous Literacy Day

Good books: Barlay! by Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

This is a new title in the Waarda series (Waarda is Noongar for talking and sharing stories and information).

"Barlay! by Cheryl Kickett-Tucker"Barlay! is an early chapter book (it’s only 45 pages, you’ll finish it in no time!). It starts with Nan telling Sarah, Jay and Rene a story about the woordatj.

‘One of his jobs is to make sure children behave themselves and listen to the wise things their Elders tell them. If you don’t … ’

Jay and Rene think it’s just a fairy tale. But when they go on a family outing to Rocky Pool, they’re suddenly not so sure. Could Nan’s story about the woordatj be true?

Barlay! has short chapters and the story zips along. There are black and white illustrations by Tracey Gibbs scattered through the book and it’s fun to learn some Indigenous words like koolbardi (magpie) and “Barlay!” (“Look out!”). At the back of the book, there’s some information about the author and a map showing you where Noongar country is.

This is the sixth book in the Waarda series, so if you like this one, you’ll want to read the other five, too!

(See a photo of the author, Cheryl Kickett-Tucker, reading a chapter of Barlay! to students on Indigenous Literacy Day when her book was launched)

~ Rebecca Newman, Editor, Alphabet Soup