Middle School. Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein.

July 21, 2017 Comments off

stoopidMiddle School. Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2017.

It was a miserable wet day and I needed something easy to read that would make me laugh and think at the same time so I grabbed Pottymouth and Stoopid. I was not wrong.

I love these Middle School stories they deal with serious issues like bullying, poverty, inequality, snobbery and friendship and they turn them into heart warming stories.

Pottymouth (Michael) is a black boy who invents new words that sound like swearing but are not. His friend is Stoopid (David) and they met at nursery school and are still friends at middle school. They are not as they are described by their school mates and are ploys to the old statement of “give a dog a bad name”.

Michael is a foster child and Michael comes from a broken relationship. Both boys and their mutual friend Anna Britannica are terrific. They have fun together but they have many low points that make them angry.

David’s father is a frustrated writer and a penny pincher but when he takes David and Michael to lunch one day he listens to their stories and this is to change their lives.

I do like a happy ending and am always on the side of the underdog. These are great stories for the reluctant reader, easy to read superbly illustrated by Chris Grabenstein and essential in every school library.

The City of Secret Rivers by Jacob Sager Weinstein.

July 20, 2017 Comments off

city secret riversThe City of Secret Rivers by Jacob Sager Weinstein. Pub. Walker Books, 2017.

When you are in the presence of magic never break your word and never, never, never tell a lie. Unfortunately the main character in this fantasy novel for middle school students, Hyacinth, forgets this, and gets into heaps of trouble in the sewers of London.

Hyacinth and her mother come from America to live in London and experienced travelers will know that Americans are obsessed with the bathroom. Plumbing in London is not it’s strongest point and the hot and cold water do not mix the same as in America.

There is a reason for this and it is all to do with magic. Hyacinth borrows a wrench and decides to put the plumbing right and in doing so attracts the attention of the Saltpetre men who kidnap her mother. Who would think that one drop of water could cause so much trouble?

Hyacinth and her neighbour Lady Rosylyn escape into the sewers to stop a great tragedy form happening. The rest you will have to read for yourself. But there are some characters that titillated me, they are the Toshers who live in the sewers and have names like Longface Lucky and Newfangled Troy.

The plot goes along at a rate of knots but readers of fantasy will be enchanted.

Little Kiwi has a Forest feast by Bob Darroch

July 19, 2017 Comments off

little kiwiLittle Kiwi has a Forest feast by Bob Darroch. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2017.

When little kiwi tells his sister “I’b got a colt” the rumour mill starts that has little kiwi leaving the forest on a horse. His friends pour round to see him only to find that he habn’d got a ‘orse but he could ead one because he is uggry!

The other birds see his predicament and bring around lots of worms. Too many in fact so they all have a feast but little sister still thinks it would be fun having a horse.

Delightful story for juniors about the New Zealand forest bird community and the latest in the dozen or so picture books that make up the Little Kiwi series..

Sky High by David Hill, Illus. Phoebe Morris

July 17, 2017 Comments off

sky highSky High by David Hill, Illus. Phoebe Morris. Pub.Penguin Random House, 2017.

When Jean Batten flew back to Britain after setting the record for the journey from Britain to Australia the Press lauded her as “the girl who has beaten all the men” and again when she landed at Mangere Airport after a World record flight of 23, 000 Kilometers in 11 days 45 minutes she was named Hine-o-te-Rangi “daughter of the skies.”

She opened the Aviation Pioneers Pavilion at MOTAT in 1977 and then we forgot her. Five years after her death on the island of Majorca her death was discovered. What happened in between is a mystery.

Sensitively told by David Hill and dramatically illustrated by Phoebe Morris. Her first double page spread of a small plane tossing in the turbulent skies with the sight of New Zealand in the distance sets the standard.

These two worked together on Hillary’s story First to the Top and this is another winner.

For primary and intermediate students. There is a timeline of Jean Batten’s life in the back and the covers show a map of the World with Batten’s flights marked. No space wasted in this book.

A quality publication.

 

 

Categories: Non Fiction, Picture book Tags:

I Can’t Sleep by Stephanie Blake.

July 15, 2017 Comments off

can't sleepI Can’t Sleep by Stephanie Blake. Pub Gecko Press 2017.

I admit I am addicted to these picture books about Simon, the rabbit with a great imagination. This latest book keeps my addiction going and it is available for purchase in August.

Simon and his little brother Casper decide to build a MEGA GIGA-NORMOUS hut out of Casper’s blanky. The reader will rightly pick that there is trouble ahead when it is bed time. Casper can’t sleep without his blanky and Simon has to assume his alter ego identity, Super Rabbit, to rescue the situation.

Great fun with the familiar big font text and whole page primary colour illustrations, to accentuate the drama of the story. Blues and black for the night and brighter colours for day time and the monster.

Good read-a-loud for juniors and a knowing laugh for adults.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Picture book Tags: ,

Blue Peter best Book Awards 2017 Winners

July 13, 2017 Comments off

anti boredomThe Anti-Boredom Book Of Brilliant Outdoor Things to do by Andy seed, Illus. Scott Garrett. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

These two books are not fiction titles but are equally valuable in getting kids to do things during the holidays for instance and to inspire their imaginations.

Fun can be created simply in your own environment with a little effort and imagination. In the outdoors Make a garden, photograph things up close, play pooh sticks (my favourite), make a shelter, enjoy sponge bombs, create sand art and a host of other activities.

You should never be bored again if you have this book. Of course there are some silly things in here as well but you will have to read it yourself to find out what they are.

Excellent illustrations show you how and highlight the fun to be had. So turn off the tv, shut down the play station and get outside for some fun.

Aimed at primary and intermediate school aged pupils.

book of meThe Book of Me by Adam Frost, illus. Sarah Ray. Pub Bloomsbury Childrens Books, 2017.

This is a book that helps you take a good look at yourself, the things that you do and the people who are the most important in your life like your dad and mum.

It gets you to look at the things that you like and dislike, what makes you happy and sad and how you would like the world to be. It suggests ways in which you can test yourself.

Where are you most ticklish? If you had a tail what would you prefer? can you snap your fingers or juggle?

And your parents. Do they embarrass you in front of your friends? How does your dad dance to music – like a rock god, a total freak out or just a head bob.

Lots of laughs to make that rainy day pass quickly. For Primary and intermediate kids

 

 

Edgeland by Jake Halpen and PeterKujawinski.

July 10, 2017 Comments off

edgelandEdgeland by Jake Halpen and PeterKujawinski. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

It is said that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Make this book the exception because the cover introduces you to this novel in the best way possible. The sea surging through arches into a chasm. The people in this novel call it The Drain and it is 30 miles wide and 100 miles across.

Where is it going and what mysteries surround it? For the population in this novel the drain is at the core of their hopes and dreams particularly at death. Are they being deceived?

Wren is a lower caste urchin with a strong sense of survival and caring for others. Alec is from a rich family who needs to prove himself to his family. He works for a funeral parlour to assist the bodies of the dead and some of the living  over the edge of the Drain to the afterlife.

Alec and Wren are friends but they are going to find out things that they never thought possible. Their journey in the land of the dead is thought provoking and deep. Look out for the links to this pair of authors first title together the very impressive Nightfall also reviewed on this blog.

Drown the serpent of Fear is a mantra that characterises this novel for Intermediate and high school students. A very good read. The ending will have you on the edge of your seat.