Tag Archives: Lesley Gibbes

Fizz and the Police Dog Tryouts by Lesley Gibbes

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FizztryoutscoverFizz and the Police Dog Tryouts by Lesley Gibbes and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, paperback chapter book, 68 pages, published by Allen & Unwin in 2016.

Fizz is a doggie ball of fluffy white fur. He would make an excellent show dog, or lap dog, or companion dog, but all he really wants to be is a police dog! He isn’t big or scary or mean like some of the other dogs trying out to be the next police dog, but Fizz does have a lot of heart. He is fast and brave and clever, but will it be enough to become a police dog?

What a fantastic chapter book! It is perfect for newly independent readers, and will appeal to a large range of children. My first grader is enthralled! She took Fizz off to read in bed, with the edict that she could read one chapter. When I went to check on her, she admitted that she might have read “just a bit more than that, cos it is super good, mummy!”. We will definitely be getting more Fizz books!

After reading many many books about magical creatures, fairies and secret magical lands with my girls (their choice), I am ecstatic to find a book suitable for young readers that isn’t focused on magic, and isn’t marketed just to girls. Sure the dogs talk and the humans understand them, but that isn’t the main theme of the story. Fizz and the Police Dog Tryouts is about believing in oneself and working towards your goals with everything you’ve got. I enjoyed the story almost as much as my daughter.

While the story is fun and amusing, the characters are also interesting. Fizz is an highly lovable character with lots of spark. I liked Benny too, but Amadeus was very very mean! What a scary dog. I am very glad I didn’t have to go up against Amadeus, Fizz is much braver than me.

There are black and white illustrations throughout the book, capturing some of the most important moments of the story. Having the pictures interspersed throughout the text is a great way to prevent early readers from becoming overwhelmed by too many words on each page. I liked the illustrations in Fizz. In particular Fizz and Amadeus were just as I imagined them to be.

Suitable for preschool and lower primary school children, Fizz may also suit older reluctant readers. Fizz’s adventures continue in the next book, Fizz and the Dog Academy Rescue.

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Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes and Stephen Michael King

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IMG_5022Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, hardback picture book, published by Working Title Press in 2014.

On a dark and scary night, Pig, Cat and Hare set out on a mysterious journey. Through a dark forest, up hills, over a creek and past a deep, dark cave. Do they get frightened? And where are they going in the middle of the night anyway?

With its lyrical text and distinct illustrations, Scary Night is a fun and engaging picture book for pre-schoolers and lower primary school children. There was some repetition within the text, and a few questions that can help to involve kids in the story. My toddlers and kindergartner enjoyed having this book read aloud to them. My kids really got involved in the story, tracing the stars, and making various night noises, such as hooting when they spotted an owl. They all screamed at the appropriate spot too!

The illustrations matched the story perfectly, and provided just the right atmosphere. The use of colour to depict the creepiness of the night is magnificent. I liked the contrast of colours between their journey and their destination. I thought that Cat was particularly cute and my toddlers liked the bats.

Scary Night was an Honour Book in the 2015 The Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2015.