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Keyword: ‘Sinking’

Sinking by David Hill

May 9, 2013 Comments off

sinkingSinking by David Hill. pub Scholastic, 2013.

Conrad is just in his teens and beginning to notice how girls are filling out their jeans. He is a good swimmer and has hopes of making the Nationals. He is a disciplined boy, trains every day and has good relationships with his family and friends.

One morning on the way to swimming an old man stumbles out in front of him muttering. He is the grandfather of the new girl in school. Her name is Bex, she is skinny and rides a horse. He likes her but he would never tell his mates.

Town gossip has it  that a death occurred near the river some years before. What happened and who is involved? Bex and Conrad are about to find out.

Simple story about ordinary people for Primary and intermediate students. Girls who like horses and young people who train for any sport will get something out of this novel.

David Hill has a skill to be able to make a story about the most ordinary of circumstances. His understanding of early teen relationships and of Alzheimer’s disease makes this story special.

I read it in one sitting and I rarely do this.

My NZ Story. The Wahine Disaster by Shirley Corlett.

April 6, 2020 Comments off

wahineMy NZ Story. The Wahine Disaster by Shirley Corlett. Pub. Scholastic, 2020.

This novel was originally part of the My Story Series titled Abandon Ship published in 2003 but it has been redesigned and I have just read it in the week that the Wahine went down 52 years ago.

It is powerfully written in diary form by 12 year old Debbie who was aboard the ship and saved the diary by wrapping it in plastic before going into the sea and being rescued at Seatoun.

The novel is skilfully linked to another sinking in Wellington harbour of the Birmin one hundred years before, on which one of Debbies relatives was doctor. This provides a spooky side to the story when Debbie was in the water, freezing cold and barely able to hang on, she feels she was assisted by her grandfather relative.

Lots of pictures in the back plus a portrait of life in 1968 the year that Martin Luther King was shot and the Beverley Hillbillies was the most popular TV show.

Easy to read and a great lockdown story of another tragedy in another time.


Arc of the Scythe bk3: The Toll by Neal Shusterman.

December 9, 2019 Comments off

The TollArc of the Scythe bk3: The Toll by Neal Shusterman. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

The third and final book in this trilogy and the big question is “what will become of the world of Scythes, Tonists and Thunderhead after the sinking of the Scythe Headquarters Endura”?

In a nutshell it is knackered. Chaos reigns. Everything is changing.

Firstly Scythedom is divided and Robert Goddard is now self declared Highblade of the Scythes and is determined to unite Scythes and increase their power over both the Thunderhead and the Tonists. Gleaning or killing is increased to alarming proportions and the fairness and equity of the gleaning is now targeted racism. Highblade Goddard blames Rowan or Scythe Lucifer for the destruction of Endura although Rowan and Citra or Scythe Anastasia died together in the sinking of Endura. In this World in which mortality has been conquered does anybody really die permanently?

Secondly Thunderhead, that AI entity that can process 2 billion actions per second, has withdrawn from the World. Everybody is declared “unsavory” and no longer has direct contact with Thunderhead. Day to day operations are still handled by Thunderhead but personal access has ended. The question is does Thunderhead have a plan for humanity or is it going to be left to destroy itself?

Thirdly the Tonists that wacko group of religious followers of the Tone have a living leader, The Toll who is a character you know from the previous two books and he is the only person that Thunderhead will talk directly to. Some Tonists have turned radical or Sibilant and Anarchy reigns as the Tonists search for their identity in this new World.

Fourthly, Scythe Faraday and his assistant in the last book detected a blind spot for Thunderhead in the South Pacific and they go searching, crash land on an island to make some interesting discoveries.

The action is non stop as each of the player groups reacts to the actions of the other. Has Thunderhead given up on humanity? Will the Scythes under Goddard glean humans out of existence? Do the Tonists have the answers? What of Anastasia, Lucifer and Faraday? Is the South Pacific the answer to their problems?

Stunning writing from Shusterman with an ending that will have you gasping. The best series since Hunger Games and will appeal to a similar audience. An interesting angle is added to this series with the character of Jericho and the personalisation of Thunderhead in human form. Can a machine ever understand humans?

Wonderful stuff, I am still buzzing over it.


Maui’s Taonga Tales. A Treasury of stories from Aotearoa and the Pacific.

November 26, 2019 Comments off

mauis taongaMaui’s Taonga Tales. A Treasury of stories from Aotearoa and the Pacific. Pub. Te Papa Press, 2019.

December release

For me the most appealing aspect of Maori Culture has been the myths, legends and story telling along with the distinctive and unique art work. Maori highly regard their Toanga or treasures and this work combines Taonga relics with myth, legend and factual story telling.

The stories are narrated by that braggart and trickster, Maui and we get his famous legend of catching the North island with a special hook carved from a jaw bone plus Tane and the Kete of Knowledge amongst others.

There are modern stories of Willie Apiata’s bravery in battle and the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior plus the beautiful tale of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. Stories of bravery and heroism of Maori women and men in battle and in protection of their tribe and children also feature.

All are illustrated by eight contempory Maori Artists who combine the past styles with the new techniques of todays art. For me the most haunting artwork and story is that of Captain Cook’s confrontation and misunderstandings with first contact with Maori. The bodies on the beach make stunning artwork.

This work is for everybody. A powerful piece of publication. Don’t miss it.

Night of the Riot by Matt Elliott.

October 11, 2017 Comments off

night riotNight of the Riot by Matt Elliott. Pub. Salisbury Books Birkenhead, 2017.

A well written novel about a true event in Whanganui just after the outbreak of World War 1, the catastrophe of Gallipoli and the sinking of the Lusitania. Told from the point of view of a 12 year old farm boy Snow Goodison who was working for a German immigrant named Konrad Schmidt during these events.

New Zealanders often say with confidence after an overseas tragedy that “it couldn’t happen here”. The people of Whanganui thought the same and young Snow thought the same. A riot in the main street in which several businesses where wrecked and looted including that NZ icon Hallensteins, destroyed all that.

Told in three parts in which Part 1 is a fascinating outline of life in small town New Zealand before and during WW1 when cars were rare, transport was on horseback or Shank’s pony and domestic life was physically hard work.

Snow is an admirable character, brave, loyal, hard working and most of all honest. He faces bullying behaviour with courage, but will everybody see it that way?

Read it and find out. For primary, intermediate and junior secondary students.

The Deadly Sky by David Hill.

December 6, 2014 Comments off

deadly skyThe Deadly Sky by David Hill. Pub. Puffin Books, 2014.

The testing of nuclear bombs on Mururoa Atoll in the early 1970’s really rankled with New Zealanders. The Kirk Government sent a ship there to try to stop the tests and of course there were later repercussions with the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985.

David Hill has gone back to the time when France was exploding a nuclear device a few hundred feet above the atoll and radiation was uncontrolled. The sea was polluted, fish died and nuclear products entered the food chain and the environment.

Opinion about the tests was split between those who opposed and those that felt that the tests were necessary to protect the alleged free world from the communists. Without nuclear weapons people were convinced the communists would invade. Nuclear tests therefore were  for our own protection. But then the Tahitians and other Pacific nations including New Zealand began saying sure we can wear those arguments but why do it in our backyard. If it is that important do it in France.

David Hill weighs up all this argument through High School boy Darryl who goes to Tahiti and to the island of Mangareva a few hundred kilometers from the test zone. He accompanies his mother who is talking to students who want to come and study in New Zealand.

Darryl sees the opposition in Tahiti and on the island of Mangareva through his relationship with Alicia an attractive girl and her cousin Raoul. Both are bitterly opposed to the French tests.

The relaxed island life is well portrayed by David Hill and the issues are simply explained. He builds the tension up nicely and all the drama is going to come in the flight back to Tahiti from Mangareva on the eve of a Nuclear test on Mururoa.

What I most like about the book was after Darryl’s experience he goes outside and the world has already moved on.

A book for intermediate and junior high school students. It is what one has come to expect from David Hill.

Forget me not by Sue Lawson

April 4, 2012 Comments off

Forget me not The story of one family’s voyage on the Titanic. by Sue Lawson. Pub. black dog books, 2012.

“We weren’t supposed to arrive in New York like this were we?” So sayeth one of the survivors of the Titanic in this recent novel for Intermediate and high school students about the sinking 100 years ago.

Told from the point of view of teenage brother and sister Thomas and Evie it is a story of a ship riven by social class and conformity.

Thomas and Evie are able to explore all areas of the Titanic and life on board. Relationships develop that personalise the tragedy and fortunately none as absurd as those in James Camerons film.

The hitting of the iceberg and sinking of the ship are well told as is the time in the lifeboats and the rescue onto the ship Carpathia.

Narrated by Thomas and Evie in consecutive chapters and divided by days on board, this is an easy read about the best known disaster in world history.