First Facts and First Reads


If 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.

I’ve listed each set below as a ‘add to cart’ pack as the books about just $4-$6 each and there are so many titles that they are a little hard to find on Booktopia. Click on links to add to cart and just add or delete titles as needed. A set would make a really great Christmas gift.

To purchase the Reptiles and Amphibians Story Book set click here or on image below. Titles are: Anna the Goanna; Banjo the Banded Sea Snake; Crafty Crocodile; Desmond the Death Adder; Gorgeous Geckos; Grace the Green Sea Turtle; Stanley the Saw-Shelled Turtle; Super Snakes; Terry the Toad; Trevor the Tadpole.

To purchase the Insect Story Book set click here or on image below. Titles are: Boris the Beetle; Cassie the Caterpillar; Crazy Crickets; Doug the Dung Beetle; Dragonfly Dance; Max the Mealworm; Nifty Native Bees; Sneaky Stick Insects; Stella the Silkworm; The Mosquitoes’ Book of Dirty Tricks.

To purchase the First Facts set click here or on image below. Titles are: Amphibians; Birds; Fish; Insects; Kangaroos; Koalas; Mammals; Reptiles.

To Purchase the First Facts: Dinosaurs set click here or on image below. Titles are: Horn-Faced Dinosaur; Bird-Footed Dinosaur; Thick-Headed Dinosaur; Plated Dinosaurs; Armour-Covered Dinosaurs; Lizard-Footed Dinosaurs; Prehistoric Flying and Marine Reptiles; Beast-Like Dinosaurs.

For more books for early independent readers see here.

Support one of favourite local (and online) bookstores in Brisbane, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’/’Avid Reader’ by purchasing through the link below. If you are local to Brisbane you can order online and pick up in-store.


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The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.


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