Author Archive

What Can Possibly go Wrong? by John & Michelle Hotham.

September 20, 2019 Comments off

possibly wrongWhat Can Possibly go Wrong? by John & Michelle Hotham. Pub. Shugar Print New Zealand, 2019.

Ever done something stupid that you regret, and wished you had thought more about it before you started? Things like standing up in the bath, patting a dog that you don’t know, sticking a knife into a power point, using power tools without permission or walking into something while reading your cell phone.

Well this health and safety book for kids and their parents will get you to discuss and think about things that are potentially hazardous to you and everybody around you.

There are 14 scenarios to consider and whats more they are all entertainingly presented

both in picture and in rhyming verse.

Stranger danger, medicine cabinets and playing with a ball inside are also done well. Aimed at 3-9 year olds it certainly has application at older levels, at school and in the home.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags: ,

American Royals by Katharine McGee.

September 16, 2019 Comments off

royalsAmerican Royals by Katharine McGee. Pub.Penguin Random House, 2019.

I have always liked Romance as a genre and if you are going to read romance then read the best. This is the best. At times the romantic scenarios and the dialogue between the characters is electrifying. It is positively sizzling.

America has a Royal family descended the same way that British Royalty has but from George Washington. If Brexit doesn’t work out for Britain I would recommend that they sell their Royal family to the Americans. They need it.

Now George 1V is on the throne and for the first time the heir is female, Princess Beatrice who is 18 years. She has a sister and brother two years younger and they are twins, Samantha and Jeff.

Jeff is a bit of a playboy, Samantha feels she is not important compared to big sister Beatrice but she has a commoner friend, Nina. Beatrice is perfect and knows she has a role to play as heiress to the throne but she has feelings. She is escorted everywhere by her bodyguard Connor who is a square jawed hunk of manhood.

Onto the scene comes Teddy, a well connected aristocrat as smooth as a baby’s bottom but a cad underneath. Put all these characters together and you have romantic intrigue hotter than a pepper sprout. Then there is Daphne -find out for yourself.

The plot also has many links with the reality of Royalty in UK and elsewhere. There is an Aunt Margaret whose relationship to a fighter pilot was stopped from on high and Charles “liege man” speech to his mother, is reiterated by Teddy.

Brilliantly told in short chapters from each of the female characters in sequence and as bestselling author Sara Shepard wrote “Completely addictive”.

I loved it, you will too. For high school and young adults but intermediate girls will fight you for it. Boys should read it too, it is superb. Better still American Royals 2 is out next year. I can’t wait. Excellent cover design.

Rugby 1 2 3. Whutuporo Tahi Rua Toru by Thalia Kehoe Rowden, illus. Myles Lawford. Na Ngaere Roberts i Whakamaori.

September 11, 2019 Comments off

rugby 123Rugby 1 2 3. Whutuporo Tahi Rua Toru by Thalia Kehoe Rowden, illus. Myles Lawford. Na Ngaere Roberts i Whakamaori. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

What better way to celebrate Maori Language week and on the eve of the Rugby World Cup, than a bi-lingual picture book on rugby and counting.

It celebrates the playing and supporting of the game of rugby at school level in New Zealand/Aotearoa and counting up to 10. The text rhymes and the illustrations are positive, racially and gender balanced, and it is fun.

One of the best.

And the Ocean Was our Sky by Patrick Ness. Illus. Rovina Cai.

September 9, 2019 Comments off

ocean skyAnd the ocean Was our Sky by Patrick Ness. illus. Rovina Cai. Pub. Walker books, 2019.

Nietzsche once said “if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss stares into you”. So it is with this outstanding novel about the worlds of whales and men, each with a determination to kill the other.

This book is from the whales’ point of view as they hunt a devil ship with a white hull called the Toby Wick. For the whale, gazing into the abyss is the reverse of man. They do so when they breach the surface and encounter the sky.

The whale society is as sophisticated as our own and they want to hunt us in the same way as humans hunt the whales. Captain Alexander leads a pod with apprentices whose mission is to chase a prophecy that says a show down with the devil in the form of Toby Wick is inevitable. Read it and see if it is.

Just as Ishmael narrates Moby Dick, apprentice whale, Bathsheba, under the command of Capt. Alexander narrates this stunning novel. The pod discovers a wrecked ship on the surface with a human barely alive on board but carrying a medallion in his hand that is interpreted by the whales as foreshadowing a clash with the devil, Toby Wick.

Bathsheba captures the man for the pod and encloses him in an air bubble so that he can survive in their world. This relationship is to question the whole way in which whales and men relate to each other, but will it stop a catastrophic ending?

This novel is one of the reasons that I stay with children and young adult literature. The illustrations of Rovina Cai are off this planet, depicting the world of the whales in their grey/blue world, but increasingly red mingles, then dominates.

Don’t miss this outstanding work for high school , young adult and adult. The best of the year, bloody brilliant in fact.

Whakarongo ki o Tupuna. Listen to your Ancestors by Darryn Joseph, illus. Munro Te Whata.

September 9, 2019 Comments off

WhakarongoWhakarongo ki o Tupuna. Listen to your Ancestors by Darryn Joseph, illus. Munro Te Whata. Pub. Oratia, 2019.

a heart felt picture book that follows the life of a teacher as she tells her students to basically be cool. Respect your ancestors and your environment and follow their examples.

There are various settings of each adventure from the classroom to the beach to the rest home to the funeral and back to one of the new generation.

Each setting is beautifully illustrated in rich colours with text being in both Maori and English. An excellent tool for teaching and reading in te Reo.

A uniquely New Zealand picture book for everybody.

The Invicibles Pt2. Short Circuit by Peter Millett, illus. Myles Lawford.

September 7, 2019 Comments off

Short circuitThe Invicibles Pt2. Short Circuit by Peter Millett, illus. Myles Lawford. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Book 2 in this series about five super charged kids who play for the same rugby team. They where hit by lightning which gave them super powers but only when they connect together and only for 80 minutes the same time it takes to play a game of rugby.

This last part was questioned by a boy in a class I was talking to about this book. He rightly pointed out that there is 10 minutes for half time and did they lose their powers during this time? What do you think?

Well a short circuit has reduced all Invincibles to inch high and they are targets of wetas and magpies. Tricky Ricky has a plan to steel the gold medals of the All Greats World Cup medals and the Invincibles have to stop him

See if they can but you might have to go down the toilet to follow them.

Lots of laughs with ‘O for awesome” getting a good run and “winning ugly” getting in there too. Illustrations are a star again, check out the magpies.

For reluctant readers of intermediate and primary school level. A good laugh. Part 1 is also review elsewhere on this blog.

Trainsurfer by Kate S Richards

September 5, 2019 Comments off

trainsurferTrainsurfer by Kate S Richards. Pub. 2018.

An inspiring novel set in Apartheid South Africa just before the release of Nelson Mandela, with surfing the focus for revealing the contrasting lives of both black and white people.

Jabu is a young boy when his mother dies while in need of medical attention because she is black. He leaves his shanty town hovel in Soweto and travels to Durban to be with his aunt who has too many children dependent on her for life.

Through surfing Jabu meets white girl Billie and her surfing white mates, Kyle and Josh. The privileged lifestyle of whites contrasts with the poverty, crime ridden lives of blacks.  But life moves in mysterious ways for both racial groups.

The ending is positive, the characters believable, and there is a beautiful story of a young Rhinoceros in the back of a truck with Jabu. The start and ending are linked beautifully.

There is lots of surfing talk and action with the excellent cover showing Jabu dropping into the green room.

Well written with the author structuring short chapters with gaps between paragraphs allowing the reader with a low concentration span to easily drop and read at will.

For reluctant readers at intermediate and junior high school level. Contact the author at