Author Archive

Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan.

July 11, 2019 Comments off

winter fireWinter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

First published in 1994 this reprint was made because the themes it has are so relevent to today’s world and because it is damn good literature. I am so glad it was reprinted because I missed it first time around.

Sixteen year old Elsha is the main character and her story is totally inspiring. Her guts and determination lead to a wisdom that is unquestionable and you will be with her the whole way.

The world she lives in is in total winter. The climate of the world has changed and heating is the only game in town. The World is kept warm by mining firestone and the top banana in this world is the Firelord who has the power to divine firestone.

Society has two groups equivalent to the haves and the have nots. The Chosen are in command and the Quelled are their slaves, are branded and are forced to mine firestone in appalling conditions. The Chosen live in mansions, the Quelled in tents and squalor. Elsha is one of the Quelled and she is rebellious.

Ingrained in Chosen thought is the opinion that the Quelled have no intelligence, no rights and no soul. Their women are not women but harsha. Elsha becomes handmaid to the Firelord and has to live in the Chosen world that despises her.

Elsha swears to use her position with the Firelord to improve the life of the Quelled and open the eyes of the Chosen. Will she succeed? Read it and find out.

Superbly structured and written by one of New Zealand’s great writers. If you miss this second time around you are mad. The more I read the deeper I became attached to Elsha’s plight and quest. Magic!!

The Invincibles. Power Up. by Peter Millett, illus.Myles Lawford.

July 5, 2019 Comments off

invinciblesThe Invincibles. Power Up. by Peter Millett, illus.Myles Lawford. Pub.Scholastic, 2019.

Getting kids into reading these days is hard work. Peter Millett knows this, so do teachers librarians parents and care givers. So what do you do? well books have to be easy to read, have a lot of action and humour preferably the poo, bum wees variety, and they can be read very quickly.

This short novel has all of that and in New Zealand the other must have is rugby, sport and competition. These are there also.

Muzza, Andrea, Scotty, Tana and Zinnia turn up for rugby practice and are struck by lightning. They develop different super powers and turn themselves into the Invincibles. They want to turn their rugby skills into something unbeatable and the kidnapping of the All Greats gives them a chance to take on a nasty scoundrel called tricky Ricky and put things right in the world of rugby.

Stirring stuff with plenty of action and humour. Scotty becomes Windbreaker and I don’t need to tell you one of his talents.

Superbly illustrated by Myles Lawford, his characterisation of the Invincibles is right on the nail.

Great for reluctant boys. Go ahead try it out. Excellent cover.

Don’t drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan, illus. Lenny Wen.

July 5, 2019 Comments off

drink pinkDon’t drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan , illus. Lenny Wen.

An unusual yet compelling picture book about the relationship between Madeline and her grandfather who her parents regard as both crazy and old. Of course he is a bit of both but mostly he cares about Madeline.

On her birthday from age 1 to 15 grandfather gives her a coloured potion with a warning “don’t drink the pink”. Each year the coloured potion has a different effect on Madeline from making her breath fire to becoming invisible and walking through walls but not harmful. Gee I wish I had a grandfather like that.

The mystery what will happen when she does drink the Pink? Read it and find out.

The illustrations create a homely yet mysterious atmosphere and also support the other themes of counting and colour. The rhyming text is both repetitive and imaginative. An interesting package this.

On The Brink by Maria Gill, illus.Terry Fitzgibbon.

July 3, 2019 Comments off

brinkOn The Brink by Maria Gill, illus.Terry Fitzgibbon. Pub. new Holland, 2019.

The bench mark for any non fiction work is “can you get better information at the right level on the Internet?” The answer for this work is No. It is simply put accurate information, laid out in an easy to follow manner and superbly illustrated.

It’s aim is to lay the facts about endangered species in New Zealand before the reader and gives the reasons why they are endangered and what is needed to save the species from extinction. Like global warming it is vital to our survival on this planet.

Birds, insects, marine life, reptiles, fish, frogs and bats, are all covered. The point is will the 45 NZ fairy terns, 55 Maui dolphins, 300 Hamilton’s frogs, 250 lowland longjawed Galaxia’s and an unknown number of Mokohinau Stag beetles survive another 10-15 years. Plus the top 5 in all catagories.

They had better because sooner or later human may become endanger themselves.

Superbly illustrated by Terry Fitzgibbon with drawings of each creature.

Essential for all school libraries and great to have in the home.

Dear Pluto by Carmen Gloria.

July 1, 2019 Comments off

plutoDear Pluto by Carmen Gloria. Pub. Uncommon Grammar, 2019.

When the International Astronomical Union downgraded Pluto to a dwarf planet, I was a bit miffed and so was the personalised Pluto in this picture book for juniors.

I mean Pluto has five moons and resides in the Kuiper Belt of asteroids outside of Neptune. But then it is small, is still a part of the Solar system and like the character Pluto in this book, is quite content to be a dwarf planet like the five others in our system.

A lovely characterisation of Pluto that sits comfortably alongside Carmen Gloria’s earlier publication on Mercury. Juniors will love it and it is a simple introduction to a study of the solar system.

Antarctic Journeys by Philippa Werry.

June 30, 2019 Comments off

Antarctic journeysAntarctic Journeys by Philippa Werry. Pub. New Holland, 2019.

Did you know that more meteorite fall on Antarctica than any other place on Earth. I wonder why? and it is impossible to put a marker into the exact spot of the South Pole because the ice moves and even a day later it is inaccurate by several centimeters. It doesn’t stop them putting one in though and it is in the form of a striped post.

If the seas around Antarctica get any warmer the environment around it will be invaded by crabs making most of the rare species that live there under danger. Counting penguins is a hazardous business because only half the population is there at any given time. Nesting couples take turns at going to sea to feed so they can fed their offspring.

Find out what it is like to winter over in Antarctic and find out some of the more human stories of life and history of the ice. Great photographs old and new and some of the weird things that happen there.

Philippa Werry spent a summer on the ice meeting the people who work there, doing what they do and seeing all the historical huts and sites that make up Antarctica history.

A fascinating story for everyone.  Did you know that Roald Dahl was named after Roald Amunsden? Make sure you check out Margaret Mahy’s poem on the Skiddoo. Totally skiddacious.

For everybody.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags:

Monkey on the Run by Leo Timmers

June 30, 2019 Comments off

monkeyMonkey on the Run by Leo Timmers. Pub. Gecko Press, 2019.

Wordless picture books are a very valuable education tool especially if you are learning another language. They give you an opportunity to describe what you see, with as many words as you know, and there are no right or wrong answers.

Leo Timmers has created a gem with this picture book.

Father is taking young monkey home and he runs into a traffic problem. Young monkey leaps off onto a fir engine driven by a rhinoceros and using a snake as a fire hose. The goats house is on fire and the whole thing is being filmed live by a TV station.

From there on it gets more bizarre but you will have to read it yourself to find out the rest. he does get home eventually but it seems that he goes around in a circle. See what you think.

Sophisticated yet simple. Other Leo Timmers books are reviewed on this blog.