Eve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher

June 18, 2018 Comments off

eve of manEve of Man by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018.

This  dystopian fiction young adult novel will blow your mind. Few novels will promote more discussion about life, survival and the human condition than this one.

It is superbly written by two writers who are in total harmony. One narrates through Eve around whom the novel is based with the other taking Bram an 18 year old boy who plays a female character called Holly who is the game breaker in this novel.

No female baby has been born on Earth for more than 50 years. Then comes Eve whose mother allegedly dies in birth and whose father is condemned as mad and hidden away.

Eve grows up in an ivory tower on top of a mountain surrounded by aging mothers, worshiped by the populace who live beneath her and befriended by Holly her constant companion. Those in power see Eve as the saviour of humankind and they are searching for a suitable male companion for her to breed with.

Holly is sixteen, inquisitive and starting to get the stirrings. Holly alias Bram is falling for Eve as a man and when suitor after suitor proves disasterous for Eve, Bram’s feelings for Holly begin to overwhelm him. When Eve finds out that Holly really is Bram she too becomes smitten. Can their love ever be?

The absence of women has turned the male population into heartless beasts. Without women to soften their animal instincts they are lost. Is there hope for humankind. Read it and find out. It is a stunning read and the first of three parts.

Being a Princess is Very Hard Work by Sarah Kilbride, illus. Ada Grey.

May 26, 2018 Comments off

princessBeing a Princess is Very Hard Work by Sarah Kilbride, illus. Ada Grey. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2018.

What do parents say to a girl, or a boy for that matter, who wants to be a princess? Well in this glorious picture book the parents take two stances.

Firstly they point out what princesses have to do. They have to look interested all day when they are bored out of their trees. They have to look good all the time and run in long dresses. They cannot stick their tongues out or make a face and must finish their dinners even with greens. Then there is dealing with knights and dragons and no farting or burping. Sounds horrendous.

But that is not enough really so secondly they say how much they love the little girl for what she is already. But you will have to read that part for yourself.

Fabulous illustrations that fully compliment the rhyming text and with a great sense of humour. We all need some silliness in our lives.

The Day the War Came by Nicola Davies, illus. Rebecca Cobb.

May 25, 2018 Comments off

day war cameThe Day the War Came by Nicola Davies, illus. Rebecca Cobb. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

This is one of the most powerful and moving picture books I have ever read and you will be moved too.

It is narrated by a little girl who wears the same clothes from beginning to end. It starts with family happiness around the breakfast table, moves to school where the little girl is learning about volcanoes, drawing birds and singing about tadpoles turning into frogs.

Then the war comes in a devastating series of images that has the little girls home and town bombed to the stone age. Her journey to a safe haven follows but the war comes with her in her mind and in the attitudes of the people she encounters.

She is eventually refused entry to a school because there isn’t a chair for her, but as is usually the case children come to the rescue. Read it and find out how.

Rebecca Cobb’s illustrations are stunning especially the coming of the war, helicopters in the sky, the bomb crater of the little girls home. Then on the journey away lonely shoes on the beach.

The written text will make you cry. The repeated school scene is powerful.

Superb.

Ash Arising by Mandy Hager.

May 22, 2018 Comments off

Ash ArisingAsh Arising by Mandy Hager. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018.

This sequel to The Nature of Ash reviewed earlier on this blog, is a powerful novel promoting peaceful means to solve political problems that have gone feral.

New Zealand is not a happy place led by a corrupt regime who rely on political and financial backing from the one-percenters who control the wealth of the Nation.

PM Bill Chandler and Police Commissioner Hargreaves have created a state where evil bastards who don’t give a damn about morals and rules are given free reign. The ruling political parties have manufactured political complacency by making politics so toxic that no-one wants to commit especially the young.

Ash, his Down Syndrome brother Mikey, ex cop Jeannie and her son Travis, plus lawyer Lucinda and a few others take the government the army and the police on, in this political thriller. It is not going to be pleasant and there is collateral damage. I hate that phrase. The positive is that the young are at the vanguard of the protest.

Added to New Zealand’s internal political problems is a rivalry between the two World Alliances The UPR and the WA who are playing silly buggers with NZers. It is all rather messy and it is great to read that one individual with support can influence and change the way the World thinks. The philosophy of Martin Luther king, Gandhi and other peaceful protestors is at the heart of  Ash and his friends protest.

A thrilling read for High school and Young adult readers. Mandy Hager writes this convincing story with aplomb. Once you start you won’t put it down.

The Visitor by Anjte Damm.

May 19, 2018 Comments off

The Visitor by Anjte Damm. Pub. Gecko Press, 2018.

visitorWhat a brilliantly conceived and perceptive picture book about fear and loneliness this is.

Illustrated using photographs with cardboard cutout figures inserted, it tells the story of a lonely old lady who never goes outside because she is scared. The photographs are gloomy and she is gloomy.

Then a paper plane comes through her window which exacerbates her fears until a small boy knocks on her door and makes himself at home. he is bright and breezy and wears his cap on backwards

She tells him her name is Elise and he is Emil. He asks her to read to him from her library from which she has read every book. He brings colour into her life. He tells her that her house is cool.

The last double paged illustration in the book is majorly different from the identical illustration at the start. Read it and see how, you will not be disappointed.

The written text is simple, well place in the illustrations and wise beyond belief.

Miniwings. Firestorm’s Musical Muck-up by Sally Sutton, Illus. Kirsten Richards

May 19, 2018 Comments off

miniwingsMiniwings. Firestorm’s Musical Muck-up by Sally Sutton, Illus. Kirsten Richards. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

This is the first of a new series mainly for girls who are getting more confident with reading.

It is about two sisters who play a flute and a violin and see six miniature horses that originally where given by their grandmother but come alive when adults are out of the room. Each horse has it’s own personality and this story is about Firestorm who lives up to his name.

The girls are doing a concert with their class for their parents and friends and organised by their teacher Miss Rose, who doesn’t have a boyfriend. Things start to go wrong when Firestorm pushes the fire alarm but will it get Miss Rose a boyfriend.

A good mix of fantasy and everyday hassles and problems. Written with gusto and plenty of humour and well illustrated by Kirsten Richards who captures all the moments and gives character to the Miniwings.

Categories: Fantasy, Junior Fiction Tags: ,

DUCK by Meg McKinlay and Nathaniel Eckstrom.

May 18, 2018 Comments off

duckDUCK by Meg McKinlay and Nathaniel Eckstrom. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

On a lazy Kansas summer afternoon Duck comes running over the hill yelling DUCK.

Pig, horse, cow and sheep misunderstand. They think that Duck thinks that they too are ducks. They all fob Duck off with answers that make it quite clear to Duck that they are nothing like a duck.

It is Kansas when all said and done and Dorothy Gale would have known what Duck meant. See if you can pick what is going to happen?

Duck understands that he yelled the wrong word.

The illustrations are great. Horse looks suitably long faced, cow looks bemused, sheep is suitably arrogant and pig is reconciled for what may happen while enjoying his mucky environment. Duck is full of concern, the caring little soul.

A good laugh and read-aloud for juniors. Adults will see the bigger picture although some may not.