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Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

Avis and the Promise of Dragons by Heather McQuillan.

October 14, 2019 Comments off

avisAvis and the Promise of Dragons by Heather McQuillan. Pub. AHOY, imprint Cuba Press, 2019.

How do you weave an ex All Black star, a manipulative dragon, a kind hearted little girl with a slovenly father and brother, a mother who has left home, a bully, an endangered species smuggler and chocolate bars into a novel?

Check out this easy to read tale and find out. Of course it is an outrageous fantasy and tall story, but it is good fun and an easy read for primary and intermediate students.

Avis is the central character and she is a very likeable. Her father is in a slump because his wife and Avls’s mother has run off with an ex All Black. Bruno the 14 year old brother is in a grump as well. Avis does everything around the house.

Then Avis gets a job minding an eccentric scientists house while she attends to a screeching peacock, and discovers a giant lizard that loves chocolate which makes it shed it’s skin and grow quickly. Not only that it becomes a dragon and is able to manipulate Avis through thought control.

I can tell you no more but it is fun.

Cornelia and the Jungle Machine by Nora Brech.

October 9, 2019 Comments off

corneliaCornelia and the Jungle Machine by Nora Brech. Pub. Gecko Press, 2019.

Not quite a wordless picture book, with the written text giving you just enough to stimulate your imagination.

Cornelia moves with her parents to a new or rather old house. It looks like the sort of house Norman Bates lived in – stuffed animals on the walls and a grim gothic exterior.

Cornelia doesn’t like it, there’s no one to play with. Her parents send her off into the forest to have some time out and the fantasy begins and Oh what fantasy.

Cornelia finds a ladder leading to the tree tops and meets Fredrik who has an eye patch and an inventive personality. They have a great time.

The illustrations are impressive. Kids will pour over them for hours. Some of the best I have seen in a picture book.

Needless to say Cornelia comes back to her new home with a different point of view.

For primary and intermediate readers but everybody will love this story. Check it out.

Midnight Ninja by Sam Lloyd

October 7, 2019 Comments off

ninjaMidnight Ninja by Sam Lloyd. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2019

This picture book is for that special person who likes secrets, martial arts, adventure, fantasy and kicking their legs out and saying hi yah.

At night a little boy and his cat Ginger become the Midnight Ninja and Ninja Master. Ginger, like all cats of course, is in command.

When the boy finds out that socks have been going missing off clothes lines Midnight Ninja springs into action  and is off to Baddie town. He finds spiders wearing socks on their legs and they have a lot of legs. The biggest spider is fierce and he traps Midnight Ninja but Ginger is on his way in a ninja cycle through  the teleporter.

The fighting is fierce but ends with a compromise. See what it is.

Very appealing illustrations showing the ninja hideout with hidden high tech gizmos, a Ninja Spy Cam and a teleporter.

Great read-a-loud with illustrations that will have juniors pawing over it for hours..

The Land of ROAR by Jenny McLachan

August 26, 2019 Comments off

land roarThe Land of ROAR by Jenny McLachan. Pub. Egmont, 2019.

When twins Arthur and Rose Trout were young they used to go and stay with their granddad every summer holidays. They had fun and used their imaginations to create a world they called ROAR.

They were the masters of ROAR and in their world they created a bad creature that was half human, half crow called Crowky. He lived on a island and flew everywhere causing havoc but Arthur and Rose were in control. Rose was fearless and had a horse called Prosecco and the world of ROAR was safe while they believed.

Now the twins are eleven and they no longer believe in their imaginary world or at least Rose’s imagination has been turned off by real life. Arthur is still keen but he too is growing up.

When asked to clear out the attic in Grandad’s house the twins discover an old map of ROAR and a wooden horse called Prosecco plus other reminders. The old doorway into ROAR, a camp bed is still there.

By accident grandad while clearing out the bed is sucked into ROAR and Arthur goes looking for him and discovers that ROAR is real but things have changed. In their absence Crowky has become all powerful, a magic road has split ROAR and man eating scarecrows wander at night terrorising everything.

The twins are needed to restore ROAR to it’s previous state. But will Rose come to the party and is Crowky really as powerful as all that? The existence of ROAR is dependent on Arthur and Rose’s imagination, perhaps they can save it. Read and find out.

Excellent fantasy for junior and intermediate readers. There are dragons too but the unicorns have all but disappeared or have they?

Ringlet and the day the oceans stopped by Felicity Williams.

August 17, 2019 Comments off

RingletRinglet and the day the oceans stopped by Felicity Williams.Pub. AHOY, Imprint Cuba Press, 2019.

One of the most unusual fantasy novels for primary and intermediate students that I have ever read. It is set under the sea and brings a whole new range of terminology and characters with it.

The novel begins with a legend -“when the world began there was water everywhere”, but things have changed and the oceans are in danger. Land has risen, animals have evolved and the seas have formed different currents which go everywhere.

Into the story comes a mermaid named Ringlet and her merdog Iskee. The story stands or falls on how the reader gets on with Ringlet (most readers will). She is a jolly hockey sticks, innocent sort of lass that most fathers would like for a daughter. She is good natured, caring and above all brave.

When Ringlet breaks the baton of a high placed mermaid she is sent away to get another and rapidly finds she is on a quest that can save the oceans. I can tell you no more, read it and find out.

Written with some enthusiasm that at first is hard to get your head around but persistence is worth it. The world of Merfolk is here.

Roderick and the Wizard of Endor by F.M. McQueen.

May 16, 2019 Comments off

wizard endorRoderick and the Wizard of Endor by F.M. McQueen. Pub. Tross Publishing, 2019.

Jolly little tale or quest this, with good values, lively characters and a plot that includes action, magic and drama.

It does have a green, conservation, climate change agenda too but that enhances it’s appeal. Concisely written with a lot of old world philosophy and structured in short sharp chapters that will keep the reader involved.

Roderick is a large marmot like creature and his friend Pepin is a squirrel like creature. They meet an invisible human named Percy who has become invisible because he took some leprechauns gold from the crock at the end of the rainbow. Don’t do this.

The result is Percy is invisible and Roderick and Pepin touch the gold and become invisible too. The upside is that they can now see the fairy world that is invisible to the human world. How can they become visible again? The answer is the Wizard of Endor.

The three  now go on a quest to find the Wizard who lives in a castle high up in the Mountains of Endor. This journey provides action and drama and we visit places like the Poisoned Forest, Findels gap, the Land of Blue Ice and meet elves  and a huge snake called Hestrum.

A map and a picture at the start show the route and the characters. Good fantasy, but will they find the Wizard and lose their invisibilty?  A sequel is set up.

A good read-a-loud for juniors and fantasy for primary and intermediate readers.

A Place of Stone and Darkness by Chris Mousdale.

May 1, 2019 Comments off

stone & DarknessA Place of Stone and Darkness by Chris Mousdale. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2019.

 

At last a fantasy novel with some depth. Deep not because it is set almost totally underground but because it has a lot of significant observations about the Human condition, and it is a very good tale.

Thousands of years ago Humans hounded the Strigg people out of the forests and into underground caves where their culture survived and thrived out of Human knowledge. The Striggs are a bird like creature that has lost it’s ability to fly as their wings have evolved into arm like structures with claws.

Striggworld is now under threat from polluted water from the earth above and from lack of drinking water as wells dry up. Their food supply which is a mushroom like product, morra, has also begun to be scarce and the Elders of the Striggs are contemplating a move North. They would love to go back to the surface but it is too dangerous.

On the eve of a spangletime ceremony which celebrates the move from childhood to adulthood, a young Strigg, Ellee, discovers a human boy called Blue who has fallen down a well into the underground. She saves him and with the help of her academic brother, Sidfred, brings him back to home.

When Blue is discovered by the Strigg Elders panic hits the small community. Some including Kass a fierce warrior type want to kill him to avoid other Humans finding a way underground but the Elders view is that is not our way and never will be our way.

They decide to return Blue to to Uptop or the surface, where all the Toppas live. The action begins and it will have you spellbound. Read it and find out what happens.

If there is a catchphrase that describes this novel it is “It is amazing what eventually ends up underground”. We should take heed of that. It says a lot about the Human condition of treating the Planet and every other creature on it as if it is ours alone to use. The Striggs know all about us and our destructive ways.

Excellent story, descriptively written and with a message for all Humankind.

Chris Mousdale creates an imaginative World that is totally believable, the Striggs are believable The Strigg way contrasts with that of Humans and puts us to shame. And his illustrations are superb. One of the best of the year.

Suitable for Intermediate and High school readers.