One day when Mr Mo was in the garden a monster knocked on the door and when Mrs Mo answered he ran all through the house Crunching, munching and chewing because that is all he knew. Not a by your leave.
Mrs Mo takes it well. When the monster has had enough doing what he knows he sees Mrs Mo doing things with the things that he ate. She soon has the monster under control when he realises he can do other things like baking a cake.
Then a surprise ending and a change of attitude which all parents and grandparents will totally agree with.
I read it to my granddaughters and they kept saying “why is he doing that granddad”. I won’t tell you my answer that is something for you to do.
Lively illustrations with plenty of pastel colours. The monster is as you would want and there are porthole type windows that show the outside world. I was particularly fond of the grey pages in the attic where the memorabilia of Mr and Mrs Mo’s life is stored. Of course the monster ate it all.
That is what monsters do.
Paul Beavis is a new writer. I wish him well and this picture book is a great start for him. He must be a grandparent.
If you have read the brilliant Starters by the same author reviewed elsewhere on this blog then you must read Enders.
The world has had the Spore Wars and few working class people have survived because they couldn’t afford the vaccine to make them resistant. These people are the Starters of which Callie is one.
Enders could afford the vaccine, they are rich, powerful and now very old, most over 100 years.
In the first novel Starters, Callie volunteered for a mind/body swap for a heap of money with an Ender called Helena. Helena committed murder while using Callie’s body, died herself and left half of her considerable estate to Callie.
The organisation that supplied the mind/body swap is now destroyed and the Old Man who ran the organisation is out there still creating havoc.
All the Starters that allowed their bodies to be used in the mind/body swap had a chip inserted in the back of their necks and the Old Man still has access to them and is using it in a disturbing manner.
Callie and the Old Man’s son, Hyden, unite to destroy the Old Man’s power.
Interesting technological science fiction for high school students. Many twists and turns with Callie learning not even to trust her own judgement. Where will it all end?. Another class the Middles is revealed perhaps one more book. I will read it.
This picture book plus the one below have been circulating particularly in country areas for a while now, but I have just heard about them, and it is about time city folk got to know them.
Blowing the old cowshed up is not an easy task. It requires skill and some preparation. Gelignite held down by bags of water then BOOM! Who didn’t know though? And where did it all go after the big bang.
It’s the sort of story that goes into country folk lore and Jennifer Somervell has told it well with rhyming verse that demands to be read aloud. City folk don’t traipse up a hillside or cluster round the cowshed. Perhaps we should it looks fun.
It is a read-a-loud story for juniors and senior primary for that matter.
Sister Margery Fern has illustrated the text with unique Water colour illustrations. Down on the farm style which captures life on the farm in New Zealand. I liked the cows and the dogs and the women chatting about it later. They compliment the text well.
In the back is a glossary and pictures of the real farm and milking merry-go-round.
The New Old Truck by Jennifer Somervell. Illus. Margery Fern. Tales from the Farm Publications, 2014.
The old 1921 Republic truck has had it’s day as a working truck but the children are fond of it and don’t want it to go. The truck didn’t want to go either but the truth has to be faced. Down they go to see new trucks but farm folk don’t like anything flashy so they stick with the blue truck.
Then salvation. Son John comes home and decides to restore the truck back to its old glory. Everyone’s happy even the old truck.
Once again uniquely illustrated in water colour paintings and I loved the girls lounging on the hay bales in the back of the old truck and of course the almost human old truck with those doleful eyes.
Both books would be a choice asset to any school library.
What a stunning novel this is, with two of the toughest, yet vulnerable characters I have met in young adult literature.
It is a novel set in the forested country of Belarus, where the winters are harsh and the summers hot and full of biting insects.
The novel starts in winter when young boy Alek goes with his mother to a tenement building in the city to stay with his Papa. The mother is dieing of cancer and papa nurses her until death. She wishes her ashes to be scattered in the forest and Alek demands that papa take him into the forest to do so.
Papa is very reluctant to go to the forest and at night after boiled milk he tells Alek or the boy as he becomes known, stories of the forest witch Baba Yaga.
When they do go to the forest papa is overcome and cannot go back and the two live the winter in a run down cottage. At night papa tells stories of the forest, how people lived there to escape the Winter King and how men were sent to the Gulag.
The stories are a mix of make believe and truth of papa’s own life experience under the rule of Stalin. Papa and Alek become the wild child and wild man of the forest.
In summer Alek and his Papa travel through the forest living off the land but papa has a terrible accident and Alek nurses him and tends to his terrible injuries. When they return to the cottage it has been renovated and inhabited by Elenya and her parents. Elenya befriends Alek and as their friendship grows the truth about papa emerges.
This sparks off a series of incidents that are just hypnotic and shocking. The ending is astonishing and hopeful, but nothing is ever resolved. Can history ever be resolved.
Brilliantly written in language that I would call lofty. Definitely young adult and adult. A story of survival, a story about the casualties of history and of life. Alek is a brilliant boy.
A picture book of childhood imagination as dad takes his daughter Tora camping. Both have different needs and desires on this trip and as dad shops and prepares for the night under the stars, Tora grows impatient.
As they trudge through the forest and the meadows dad is on the cell phone and the ipad while Tora hunts out the wild animals.
She sees a boa constrictor under a tree, Giraffes feeding from a tree, a lion stalking in the field, hippos resting and a crocodile in the river. Dad misses them all.
As night falls and they camp by the lake Tora is glad of dad’s preparations and the two share an imaginative water dragon in the lake.
Lovely story told in simple text and illustrated beautifully by Eva Erikson. My favourites are the trolls in the field and the fairies in the mist.
A great read-a-lod for juniors and a bed time story for pre schoolers..
Followers of this very readible series will be glad this is out. New readers need not have read the earlier parts but you will be mad not to. The reader is brought up to date within the first 30 pages and then it is in to the new action.
The wolf virus that has altered the DNA in 15 year old Tory and her friends Hi, Ben and Shelton is still changing and heightening their senses to that of a wolf. This part is called exposure so I will leave it to the reader to work out what the novel is all about.
Once again we have a sinister villain who has kidnapped two of the Virals classmates, the Gables twins. He is keeping them in a well and lowering their food in a bucket with water constantly dripping over them in a confined space.
The Virals as the group of teenagers is called plus wolfdog Coop, decide to use their abilities for the common good allowing the authors to stretch into crime and their extensive knowledge of forensics.
A startling new development is the revelation of a thirteenth zodiac sign, the serpent bearer and the revelation that the mad scientist, Karsten, who developed the virus that changed the Virals, has left an encrypted flashdrive which is in the possession of whipped rich boy, Chance.
Go on you want to read it. I found it compulsive. High school students and driven Intermediates will enjoy this new part.
It is a pleasure to review a picture book where the author and illustrator are working in perfect harmony, each telling the same story yet adding their own dimension.
A boy sees a beautiful cherry tree across a fast flowing cold river. he wants to climb in it’s branches and taste it’s sweet fruit. A concerned bird warns him off and over the years suggests better ways of crossing the river.
After many years and many failures the boy discovers the tree has gone and takes the plunge. He finds the bird was right about the river but he is in for a surprise further down stream.
The text is carefully placed on each page allowing the illustrations to tell their own story. And as is characteristic of Mark’s books the dialogue between boy and bird is snappy and witty.
Rowan Sommerset chooses cherry red, browns creams and whites to draw the boy, the tree and the bird and it works perfectly. She builds the boy’s plans dreams and frustrations into her illustrations. There is a Japanese style about the illustratons.
A picture book in perfect harmony. A classy book to have in your home and a must for the school library.