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Woolly Wally by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnard.

June 22, 2018 Comments off

woolly wallyWoolly Wally by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnard. Pub. Oratia Books, 2018.

This picture book  is truly New Zealand, it is a good laugh from start to finish and will appeal to children and adults equally.

We have all met big heads that love themselves and Wally the ram is one of these. He has a magnificent fleece of wool, impressive horns and will father all the lambs born on the farm. That is until the shearers come and everything changes. Read it and find out how.

Dawn McMillan’s rhyming text tells the story and cements the humour but she does get away with an outrageous line “But best of all, when spring comes, all ewes girls will be mums”. My English teacher would have crucified me for that.

Ross Kinnaird’s illustrations are perfect. He makes Wally a pretty boy but not that pretty. Those teeth. Still the female sheep think he is bewetiful. Sorry about that.

Miss this one and you will kick yourself.

Detective Gordon: A Case for Buffy by Ulf Nilsson, Illus Gitte Spee.

June 22, 2018 Comments off

buffyDetective Gordon: A Case for Buffy by Ulf Nilsson, Illus Gitte Spee. Pub. Gecko Press, 2018.

This the fourth and last part of this series about Detective Gordon whose domain is the forest and all the animals in it.

The series is noted for it’s humour and it’s good values, as well as the perceptive illustrations of Gitte Spee.

This final story concentrates on Buffy, who is now Chief of police and deeply sad because she cannot remember what happened to her mother and her 15 brothers and sisters. With a little help from two little police, a toad and a mouse, Detective Gordon jogs Buffy’s memory to help find Buffy’s mum and to see if she is still alive.

The search takes them to Cave Island on which dwells a fox  who Buffy remembers caused her and her mother to flee. Detective Gordon has regrets as it was he who drove the fox from his forest and when you drive your danger away, it becomes someone else’s danger.

The fox is sly, as foxes are, but he does have a code “I never eat anything I have spoken to. You do not converse with your lunch”

Is Buffy’s mum alive? where are her brothers and sisters? How will the fox react?

A great read for the newly independent reader.

The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams illus. Tony Ross.

June 20, 2018 Comments off

worst children3The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams illus. Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

I don’t really need to review this book because kids will already know about it, but I do so for all those kids who would rather make monkey noises than sing xmas carols(I.m one of those), or those who stick all their bogeys together so that they look like a huge green icicle, then eat them.

Yes it is ten more horrible children who throw tantrums, do pranks, are overly bossy, kung fu everything and generally make life intolerable for those around them. Sure it is well over the top but we all know the type.

My favourite is Walter the Wasp a short arsed bully with a sharp nose and a wit that cuts like a knife. He is out to win bully of the year trophy which is a gold statuette depicting a bully giving a smaller child a wedgie.

There is always a seriousness about David Walliam’s books, he hates cheats, bullies, public school twits and the gap between rich and poor.

I love his books and you will too. This man has done more to get reluctant kids to read than anybody since J.K. Rowling. Illustrated brilliantly once again in colour by Tony Ross.

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.