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Children's Books DailyIf you’ve been reading here for a while now you’ll know that I love the work of Australian author Rebecca Johnson, who happens to also be an award winning teacher, her latest accolade being the Primary Ministers Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools (they should really consider shortening that award title!). Rebecca’s passion for all things Science shines through in her writing as does her understanding of young children and what they love to read. Her ‘Juliet Nearly a Vet’ books are some of the most popular in my primary school library, so much so that we even held a Vet Convention with Rebecca earlier in the year.

Many of little readers at school have been reading ‘Juliet Nearly a Vet’ for some years now and they were overjoyed in the extreme to discover the new ‘Vet Cadets’ series by Rebecca, which carries on the vetting theme but for a slightly older audience of about 10+.

But today I want to introduce you to her masterful ‘First Facts’ series of books for little people. Rebecca Johnson has authored well over 100 books, many of them as part of the hugely successful Steve Parish Story Book collection featuring Australian wildlife. I’m not exactly sure when she finds the time to write them, but she’s now got several new series of books aimed at the 3-7 reading market and they are almost all (I think all?) narrative nonfiction, which is a totally under represented genre in early readers.

Classroom readers are the absolute pits, I know they serve a purpose and are an important part of learning to read independently, but truly, they are so dull. So dull. Rebecca’s books are reader-like in style and format but they are far from dull. They include common sight words but in the hands of an accomplished writer these common sight words become so much more and when combined with great photography and an engaging topic these are an absolute winner for little people learning to read. The titles can happily be used in the school library context, in the classroom as part of a reading program or at home as an engaging reading experience. Each title has two downloadable worksheets (see here) and while I don’t agree in setting homework for children over the holidays, these little books and some of the fun worksheets would be a great way to keep up with recreational reading over the break. Again, not a fan at all of reading levels but for those that need a reading age guide, the titles start at about a RL 15 and go up to about a RL 22.

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Hip Little One
Juliet nearly a Vet is written by Australian author, teacher and mum Rebecca Johnson who has written more than 60 books. Over the course of four short books she tells the story of Juliet, a 10-year old Australian girl who dreams of becoming a vet. She loves helping out her mum, a vet, at the clinic and even keeps her own Vet Diary filled with every tiny bit of information about sick animals and their treatment. It might just come in handy when Juliet and her friend Chelsea start their own Pet Motel in Juliet nearly a Vet: The Great Pet Plan. From cats to wombats, from lizards to parrots and from snakes to koalas, Juliet loves them all and she is always happy to lend a helping hand to an animal in need. While my kids are a little bit too young to read Juliet nearly a Vet by themselves they have loved listening to me reading the books to them. With 85 pages per book and a good font size they are the perfect read for the 8-10 year old age group. The books contain some lovely animal illustrations and at the end of each book is a short quiz to test your freshly gained animal knowledge. If your kids like animals and in particular the Australian wildlife they’ll fall in love with Juliet for sure.Read More
MummyateMeThese books are a good read for animal lovers around the age 8 and 9 years old. It’s a new series for me and one that I will look into more in the future. They are good because they have a range of wildlife. There are a lot of animal mad little girls out there and this is the first book in a brilliant series for them. Juliet’s mum is a vert and Juliet is determined to follow in her footsteps, preferably as soon as possible. When her parents say she cant have any more pets, Juliet and her next door neighbour and BFF, Chelsea, come up with a cunning plan to practise their vet and animal grooming skills. Juliet is a great character, full of life, enthusiasm and good intentions. Chelsea is her willing partner in crime and Juliet’s parents are incredibly understanding about the chaos they create! The cover illustrations are very inviting, and the font size and spacing on the page makes this a very approachable series for newly independent readers.Read More
The Charming MumJuliet nearly a Vet is a fun new book series for young readers. Written by Australian author Rebecca Johnson, who has previously written best-selling non-fiction for kids with Steve Parish, these books speak to young people’s curiosity about the animal world and that natural tendency to daydream about future career possibilities. The series is pitched at the 8-10 year old girls market, but my girls (at 6 and 4) already love the storylines – and Miss 6 can read a lot of it with my help on the ‘big words’.The books are written in straight-forward language with occasional illustrations (by Kyla May) to help us picture the girls and their animal friends. The illustrations also give us snap shots of Juliet’s note book which break up the text a little and offer additional reading challenges. My Miss 6 found these books really inspiring.Read More
Lauren H. (Student) Read PlusThese books are a good read for animal lovers around the age 8 and 9 years old. It’s a new series for me and one that I will look into more in the future. They are good because they have a range of wildlife. Some books only have one main animal which is the key for the whole story. I like these books because there is a range of wildlife from brushtail possums to blue tongue lizards. It’s also nice to see what other characters – who aren’t the main characters – enjoy doing. If you are an animal lover, you will really love these books. I am sure you will love these books just as much as I did.Read More
Siw PedersenMy 10-year old daughter (Norwegian) is so anxious to know if there will be more books about Juliet. She has read all 4 books that are available (and translated) in Norway. You should know that she is not very found of reading, and it has been a struggle to find books she finds interesting. And then she found your books, and she LOVED them!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for letting her feel the joy it can be to read a book, not just as a task or as homework, but something she can enjoy doing.
Annie CondonJuliet is ten years old, and in her own words, ‘nearly a vet’. She’s watched her mother, an actual vet, at work and, along with her friend Chelsea, thinks it would be great to have a ‘pet sleepover’. They advertise at school and pets arrive – but will a cat, two rats, a rooster, a hen, parrots AND a carpet python get along? And can the girls cope? The Juliet series is wonderful for five-to eight-year-olds wanting to take the next step into chapter books. My eight-year-old daughter loved the animal facts and tips about looking after pets.Read More