Eco Rangers: Pelican in Peril & Eco Rangers: Microbat Mayhem

Eco Rangers: Pelican in Peril
Eco Rangers: Microbat Mayhem

Candice Lemon-Scott, illustrated by Aśka
New Frontier Publishing

Seaside dwellers, best friends, Ebony and Jay have a passion for wildlife welfare.

In the first story, the two come upon a half-buried oil drum on the beach; then more alarmingly deposits of thick black sludge and an injured pelican covered in the stuff.

Ebony names the bird Poseidon and together they take it to the wildlife hospital at the conservation centre. There they learn that the black sludge on the pelican is in fact oil.

In addition to assisting with the recovery of Poseidon, the children are anxious to find out what caused the oil leak. Excited to have been called ‘real Eco Rangers’ by the vet at the hospital and fired by Doctor Bat’s comment about the possibility of the oil having come from the cruise ship that has become an all too frequent visitor to the town’s harbour, the children are determined to discover the source of the oil contaminating the waters.

It’s when they turn detective that things really start to hot up, especially when they incur the wrath of the cruise ship manager.

Wildlife lover, Candice Lemon-Scott’s story moves along at a rapid pace sweeping readers along in its action and the children’s enthusiasm and curiosity.

So too does the second story that begins with the friends making use of the Super World Theme Park passes given to them by the docs. as a thank you for their sterling work in the first book.

Needless to say being Ebony, the girl ignores a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign they come upon and the two discover a pair of tiny baby bats in the rubble surrounding a disused ride. Having rescued the little creatures, the Eco Rangers take them to the conservation centre to Doctor Bat and Doctor Tan.

Later on, convinced that there is an entire bat colony in the condemned Wild Jungle ride, the two children head back to the theme park where they discover that indeed there is are more than one hundred bats in the ride’s cave. Thus begins operation ‘save the bat colony’.

Things are not straightforward though. When Ebony and Jay are at the hardware store buying nails to complete the bat boxes they’re building, they see Ms Pitts, manager of the theme park with a security guard. The conversation they overhear sets alarm bells start ringing. It sounds as though Miss Pitts isn’t to be trusted over her promise of a three week hold-off before the old ride is demolished and with it the entire bat colony.

As the deadline draws ever closer, it’s up to the Eco Rangers to get the bats to safety. No pressure then!

With the huge focus on caring for our precious environment, these stories may well help fuel more youngsters to get actively involved in wildlife causes.

Going Solo: The Princess in Black Takes a Holiday / Hubert and the Magic Glasses

The Princess in Black Takes a Holiday
Shannon & Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham
Walker Books

Princess Black has a double identity moving between Princess Magnolia and her black clad alter ego and it’s a pretty full-on, hard going existence and one that causes her to pay the penalty of a lack of a decent night’s sleep.
Now her slumbers are disturbed once again and having donned her transforming dark disguise, despite near exhaustion, she’s ready to leap into action once more.

Consequently when the Goat Avenger (who bears a close resemblance to her pal Duff the goat boy), offers to take over goat-guarding

and keep watch against marauding monsters, thus allowing the black sporting princess to take a much needed holiday, she cannot resist the opportunity.

Bags packed, Princess Magnolia is off on her bike to the seaside.

However her much-needed rest and relaxation are short lived for even on the beach, a monster shows up, emerging from the waves to cause havoc and scare the sunbathers out of their wits.

Time, (while Goat Avenger is still bravely playing the hero back home), to grab that black garb, step up and do battle with the brute.

Of course, in the end, our resourceful princess does finally get that much-needed holiday sans monsters, sans screaming humans, just her and sand, sea, sunshine and the odd bit of shade courtesy of a few coconut palms.
Brimming over with action, humour –due occasionally to the princess not recognising her friends, as well as monsters of the not really scary variety, the Hale partnership has penned another great chapter-book adventure story for readers just flying solo that’s bursting with engaging, action-packed illustrations from LeUyen Pham to smile at. Equally though, plenty of in-built sound effects to let rip with, make it a super read aloud.

Also ideal for new solo readers is:

Hubert and the Magic Glasses
Candice Lemon-Scott and Joe Spellman
New Frontier Publishing

When it comes to soccer, young Hubert’s skills as goalie for the under 12s Goodview Primary Able Ants team leave a lot to be desired: at best he’s mediocre. But then his team itself isn’t likely to be under enormous pressure in their next match when they take on the Wandering Wombats, reputedly the worst team in the district.

We first meet Hubert as he sits in the changing room struggling to tie his own boot laces, so nervous is he feeling while the other players are already on the field warming up. However despite the lad letting several goals in, his team does manage to win that match.

Next, Hubert’s team have to play in the quarter finals – a real challenge against a decent team – but then at dinner Hubert is faced with yet another problem when his mum announces that she’s made an appointment for him to see an optometrist.

The verdict? Astigmatism and Hubert is prescribed glasses: he’s not happy.

Just over a week later though, as he’s attempting to eat his breakfast Hubert is finally persuaded to put on his glasses and from then on everything in his life takes on an altogether different view.

With a new version of their goalie, can the Able Ants eventually win through: after all those glasses of Hubert’s aren’t just ordinary ones.

Issues of confidence building, team relationships, taking charge of your life, peer pressure and more are embraced in this amusing pacy narrative that has cool colour illustrations by Joe Spellman sprinkled throughout.