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Oh, So Many Kisses by Maura Finn and Jenny Cooper

April 19, 2018 Comments off

many kissesOh, So Many Kisses by Maura Finn and Jenny Cooper. Pub. Scholastic, 2018

There is a multi cultural flavour about this picture book for juniors and pre schoolers that demands to be read aloud.

It is about kissing of course and I can see some boys cringing and going oooooh! but not all. There are a great variety of kisses, a wet kiss, a high kiss, a low kiss, a cheeky kiss and there is always room for one more.

My favourite was always the stolen kiss but in this book it is the snuffle kiss between a mother and baby piglet. Having animals in the mix, plus old and young people is inspired.

Jenny Coopers illustrations are priceless, good enough to get the boys interested.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Picture book Tags:

Kiwi One and Kiwi Two by Stephanie Thatcher.

April 19, 2018 Comments off

kiwi 1Kiwi One and Kiwi Two by Stephanie Thatcher. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

Kiwis are nocturnal birds and Kiwi one and kiwi two have been asleep all day along with tuatara in the burrow next door.

When a beautiful night arrives they are ready for play and celebrate by waking up all the other forest animals and getting them out unceremoniously to play. At first  the pukeko, the duck, the gecko and other animals get involved but they have been up all day and are soon going to flag.

As day breaks  and kiwis one and two are ready for bed the other animals lay around like parents with a new baby who has kept them up all night.

Great illustrations that show the joy of childhood and the ordeal of parenthood with rhyming text that demands to be read aloud.

Great for pre schoolers and juniors.

Yolaska the Godwit by Marlene J. Bennetts, illus. Trish Bowles.

April 19, 2018 Comments off

godwitYolaska the Godwit by Marlene J. Bennetts, illus. Trish Bowles. Pub. Emjay Publishing St Martins Christchurch, 2018.

Yolaska Godwit is on his first 11,000 kilometre flight across the sea from Alaska to New Zealand, a flight that will take him and his flock 8-10 days and on which he will lose half his body weight.

It’s a stunning feat and when the birds arrive in my hometown of Christchurch and depart at the end of summer to return to Alaska people line the beaches and applaud. It is May in Christchurch now and most godwits are on their journey home but some of the young ones remain behind for the winter to build up strength.

Beautifully told by Marlene J. Bennetts who is a bit of a wordsmith and brings out the drama of Yolaska’s experience. Trish Bowles illustrations are lifelike and dramatic. The attack of a skua bird on Yolaska and the humans involved with the birds are superb.

A beautiful story and an essential nature study experience for primary school libraries. Contact the authors at bennettsmarlene@gmail.com

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Running the Country-the Updated Edition by Maria Gill

April 18, 2018 Comments off

running country2Running the Country-the Updated Edition by Maria Gill. Pub. New Holland, 2018.

The last general election in New Zealand threw up a different situation than any other since MMP was adopted as our voting system. The largest party did not get more than 50% of the vote and could not make agreement with any minor parties. The second largest party was able to form a coalition, a situation that many people failed to understand and still haven’t got over.

Maria Gill adds this new situation to this updated version of the 2013 book also reviewed earlier in this blog.

An outline of some of the issues that have arisen since the last book like homelessness and peoples rights around the World compared to our own, are featured plus a simple recap on major parties in the economy and society who are watch guards on our system are highlighted.

An easily accessible publication with box sized pieces of information, political cartoons by Malcolm Evans and a glossary of terms in the back.

A very useful source of information indeed. You would never find it this well explained on a website. For primary intermediate and junior secondary students.

ANZAC Animals by Maria Gill, illus. Marco Ivancic.

April 17, 2018 Comments off

ANZAC AnimalsANZAC Animals by Maria Gill, illus. Marco Ivancic. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

This inspirational, carefully researched and brilliantly illustrated story of animals who had an impact during the 1st and 2nd World Wars is a timely reminder of how war affected peoples lives with ANZAC Day just over a week away.

Many animals went to war, many are known about, particularly dogs, horses, mules and donkeys with an estimated 1 million dogs and 8 million horses, donkeys and mules killed in WW1. Many of their stories are in this fine publication but many other animals were also and remarkably involved.

Kangaroos, Torty the tortoise, Monkeys and cats were often mascots or companions and then there is Lulu the chicken. Read her story it is amazing. Pigeons were often used when other communication sources were out of action or inappropriate. In fact pigeons were awarded the Victoria Cross. Don’t believe me? Read this book and find out.

Marco Ivancic’s illustrations give life and drama to the text and original photographs and maps of battle scenarios increase the knowledge of past wars.

Kids love animals and this publication is a great way to get them involved in history.

A Story of the Undead,the Unexpected and the Not Unfunny by Andrew Hansen illus. Jessica Roberts

April 16, 2018 Comments off

undeadA Story of the Undead,the Unexpected and the Not Unfunny by Andrew Hansen illus. Jessica Roberts. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

I love silly stories especially when they tamper with history and are clever about it. This one tells alternative facts about Ancient Egypt that will make junior and intermediate students laugh and adults to smile knowingly.

Bab is a clever boy, so clever that his teachers expel him from school because he is brighter than they are. His parents are delighted because they are professors of Egyptology and they can now go in search of a famous chin beard that has been worn by the Pharaohs and is now missing.

The beard has a dark magical power and when one Pharaoh dies it searches for the cleverest person around, attaches itself to his or her chin and that person becomes Pharaoh.

You’ve guessed it. When Bab’s parents are out searching for the beard, the beard finds Bab and attaches to his chin. An Ibis and a walking fish take Bab to the ancient city of Mumphis where Jackals are banned an becomes Pharaoh.

But a super bad Jackal named Cainus has a mission to steal the beard and resurrect his former master the Unpharaoh. But first he must get past Bab.

Very funny in a clever way with excellent pen and ink illustrations from Jessica Roberts.

Nobody Real by Steve Camden.

April 11, 2018 Comments off

nobody real.jpgNobody Real by Steve Camden. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

It took me three days to read this astonishing novel. I sat down poured a whiskey and said Wow. A mixture of realism and fantasy that is strangely satisfying.

To paraphrase a theme from the book “the real us lives in dark corners”. If you don’t want to go there don’t start this book.

Marcie or Mars is about to turn 18 and has just finished her final exams. Everybody says your whole life is in front of you, but first she must settle with the past.

When she was a toddler her artistic mum left and she grew up with her artistic father who is an agonised writer. He has had a novel published that critics called brilliant. Marcie copes with life by creating an invisible friend who is like a boy polar bear she calls Thor. He has been with her for 10 years and it is time to go. She has to be weened off Thor and it is up to Thor to do it.

What Marcie doesn’t know is that Thor has his own unreal world which parallels the real world of Marcie and when his work with Marcie is done he will face the Fade. What is the Fade? You will have to read the novel to find out.

Marcie needs to be herself, she has to make her own mistakes and she has to settle with the breakup of her parents. Her  road to reconcile with the past and her current friends and family is going to be bumpy.

Fascinating style of writing. Written in different fonts for the real and the unreal often poetic, always interesting, often confusing but totally compelling. One of the best young adult novels I have read for a long time.