Friday, July 12, 2013

Sally Sutton's Diaries

Diary of a Frog by Sally Sutton, ill. Dave Gunson, Scholastic NZ

Diary of a Sea Lion by Sally Sutton, ill. Dave Gunson, Scholastic NZ

There’s a gap in the New Zealand market relating to stories for primary-aged readers. Scholastic NZ seems to be targeting this gap, with their Littlest Angel series (Elizabeth Pulford) and Dinosaur Rescue series (Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley). Now they’ve got another series under way which originated with Sally Sutton’s Diary of a Pukeko and continued in Diary of a Bat. The books have the same format and story structure - an unobtrusive diary format, first-person narration, a plot involving a personal challenge that children can relate to, frequent black pen cartoon illustrations, and a quirky modern style with plenty of puns and inside jokes.

The sea lion story focuses on a young female who’s afraid of the water. She deflects the scorn of the other sea lions by telling them stories about a courageous young sea lion who lived in the 19th century and helped a gang of shipwrecked sailors survive. The frog story introduces us to a self-opinionated young Hochstetter’s frog who is determined to nab the leading role in the school drama production but also suffers from debilitating stage fright. At the end of the books you’ll find one or two pages of true facts about the featured animal and its environment. Good fun for confident readers of about 7 to 10, and also useful for short intermittent read-alouds in the classroom. Both books have Teachers’ Notes available on the Scholastic website.
Diary of a Frog Teacher Notes
Diary of a Sea Lion Teacher Notes

ISBN 978 1 77543 152 7 RRP $16.50 Pb

ISBN 978 1 77543 153 4  RRP $16.50 Pb

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