Stories of the Night by Kitty Crowther

August 15, 2018 Comments off

night storiesStories of the Night by Kitty Crowther. Pub. Gecko Press, 2018.

A read-a-loud bedtime story for juniors with some class.

Little bear wants three stories from his mum before he goes to sleep. reading to children before they go to bed is a brilliant thing to do. It shows them the power of reading and it gives them something restful to think about before the land of nod takes over.

The stories are about the Night Guardian who puts all the creatures to bed at night, brave little Zhora  who lives in the forest and the old man with an overcoat who finds it hard to sleep.

These stories are similar to fairy tales, myths and legends and are beautifully illustrated with pink pastel colours that are so restful.

A worthwhile investment for the home and the junior classroom..

Dear Professor Whale by Megumi Iwasa, illus. Jun Takabatake.

August 14, 2018 Comments off

dear whaleDear Professor Whale by Megumi Iwasa, illus. Jun Takabatake. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

When giraffe told pelican to deliver a letter to those that live across the horizon he opened up a can of worms that started a splurge of letter writing.

The letter was given to seal who gave it to penguin who told whale about it.

Now whale is wondering what happened to all his friends who have disappeared from Whale point and dreams about the Whale Point Olympics in which he won a gold medal for the best spout.

Whale writes a letter to be delivered by seal and not only contacts some of his old friends but he finds a relative of his old Olympic rival.

I love letters, they for me are the most agreeable form of long distance communication. Perhaps they are on the comeback. In this book for early readers and newly confident readers letters are what precipitates the action. The Olympics are sensational.

The values in this novel are awe inspiring. Sportsmanship, politeness, acceptance of others and there is a warm fuzziness about this book.

The illustrations of all the animals are in keeping with the values of the written text. An altogether first class package.

Check out Yours Sincerely Giraffe also reviewed on this blog.

Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival.

August 12, 2018 Comments off

ruby's worryRuby’s Worry by Tom Percival. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2018

A sophisticated picture book with the theme of children who worry.

Ruby has a worry one day but it is only very small. It is yellow with bushy eyebrows and staring eyes and it won’t go away.

It follows her everywhere, on the school bus, in the park and it stays with her at home and in bed. This can’t go on. How is she going to lose this worry? It’s becoming a worry.

Then one day while out walking she sees a boy her age sitting on a park bench with a worry sitting beside him. Suddenly and spontaneously she discovers the solution.

Read this simply told and beautifully illustrated picture book and find out. The illustrations contrast black and white with colour to telling effect.

Sometimes the solution to any problem is sharing it with somebody else.

I like Tom Percival’s books, check out Perfectly Norman also reviewed on this blog

My Old Man He played Rugby by Peter Millett, illus. Jenny Cooper, Sung by Jay Laga’aia.

August 11, 2018 Comments off

my old manMy Old Man He played Rugby by Peter Millett, illus. Jenny Cooper, Sung by Jay Laga’aia. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

This picture book come sing-a-long book celebrates New Zealand’s national game, Rugby.

Peter Millett’s clever witty text has been put to music by Jay Laga’aia in a rousing CD included with the picture book. My favourite line is “my old man was stretchered home”.

Jenny Coopers illustrations are the star of this show. She has portrayed a game with two teams in the colours of the All Blacks and the Wallabies. My old man is in both sides and the game has a woman referee who sends my old man off for a late tackle.

Jenny Copper has captured the culture and hairstyles of the modern player and even given one polka dot undies. It is heaps of fun with lots of nuances to savour.

The CD also has an all music track to which you can sing the lyrics of the song and book.


Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow.

August 6, 2018 Comments off

girlGirl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. Pub. HarperCollins, 2016.

If I had to give advice to a new writer I would say write what you know, write what you have experienced, write honestly about how you feel and write with a purpose.

Kathleen Glasgow has done all of those things in this compelling young adult novel about 17 year old Charlotte (Charlie) Davis. Charlie thinks that nobody normal will love her.

Charlie has had a harrowing life and has NSSI or non suicidal self injuring. Yes she cuts herself on the arms and legs and amazingly feels that she is in control of her body while she is doing this. She keeps a Tender Kit with her at all times – a box that enables her to cut herself and repair herself afterwards.

The book opens in a psychiatric centre for young girls who do the same as Charlie. She doesn’t speak, she has been living on the street and her body has been cut to ribbons. We learn of her journey to this crisis point in her life in part one of this novel and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading. Abusive mother, bullying at school, drugs, sleeping rough, brutal men, self loathing, worthlessness and extreme self harm. Yet strong friendship from those around her.

Part 2 of the novel takes Charlie out of her Minnesota environment to Tucson Arizona where she finds work at the bottom of the pile and starts to get herself together again. She is vulnerable, she needs love and attention and she needs a massive break in life.

Can she get it or will her past come back to haunt her? read part 3 and find out.

I loved Charlie to pieces. I didn’t want to stop reading about her. I wanted to care for her and for much of the novel I was totally apprehensive. You will be too.

Beautifully written in short sharp episodes that keep you hanging on. It’s tough and has a powerful message ” sometimes you have to let stuff go if you want to move forward”

Keep an Eye on This Koala by Scott Tulloch

August 2, 2018 Comments off

koalaKeep an Eye on This Koala by Scott Tulloch. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

Like Scott Tulloch’s earlier book on the Kiwi reviewed elsewhere on this blog, this too is  a great laugh and easy read for readers 8-12 years old.

Aussies are not noted for their sense of humour but they will need one to see the fun in this story of the dozy koala who believes in bubble-gum trees. Cockatoo doesn’t believe in bubble-gum trees so koala is determined to show him and watch out anyone who is in the way.

Dingo, witchetty grub, cockatoo and drop-bear are in the firing line in this very funny story. Once again the fart becomes a comic weapon but I did wonder how dingo knows that koala tastes like chicken?

Perfect for early readers but don’t forget the earlier book on kiwi.

Boy Under Water by Adam Baron, illus. Benji Davies.

July 30, 2018 Comments off

boy under waterBoy Under Water by Adam Baron, illus. Benji Davies.. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

This novel for intermediate and junior high school readers is about growing up and it addresses a massive question – “Do grown-ups tell you the real stuff or do they try to shove it aside like an old tent stuffed behind a sofa”?

Every family has secrets, secrets that affect other family members and friends  behaviour, and kids do not understand. Why don’t they know? and what will happen when they eventually find out?

Cymbeline Igloo is nine years old and he lives with his mother. He has artistic ability and his mother gives art lessons. Family history comes to a shattering crisis when Cymbelline has to go to the swimming pool with his class. His mother panics and Cymbelline wonders why his mother has never taken him to the pool or any body of water where he could learn to swim.

Cymbelline attends after a challenge from a class member and while waiting to commence a swimming lesson he is pushed into the deep end and sinks to the bottom. His mother erupts. The next morning when Cymbelline wakes up his mother is gone.

I am not going to tell you anymore you will have to read the novel and believe me I did not guess the ending, nor will you but it is brilliant.

Superbly told and explained by Adam Baron with an underlining dark and witty humour. He is talking to the kids and opening big secrets. Deftly illustrated by Benji Davies.

You will find out about the name when you read the book.