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Archive for the ‘Junior Fiction’ Category

The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton, illus. Angela Barrett.

October 16, 2018 Comments off

restless girlsThe Restless Girls by Jessie Burton, illus. Angela Barrett. Pub. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2018.

From the people that brought you Harry Potter comes this superb hardback novel that is old yet new at the same time.

It is old because it is about a king with 12 daughters who believes girls are not as important as boys and shouldn’t have license to explore their talents and imagination. It is new because the girls will not be subjected to the king’s decisions and use imagination to change things.

After their bright and breezy mother, Queen Laurelia is killed in a car accident while driving around the beautiful kingdom of Kalia, the King, Alberto, goes into grieving and takes away all the rights and privileges from his 12 daughters. The Palace becomes like a morgue and the girls are unhappy.

Led by eldest and very intelligent and creative daughter Princess Frida, the Princesses use imagination to visit a wondrous land where they party and dance till dawn. Unfortunately the dancing wears their shoes out and poses a mystery that the king needs to solve.

When the girls refuse to tell him how their shoes became worn he banishes Frida from the kingdom and offers one of his daughters and the crown of Kalia to any man who can solve the problem. Find out what happens, it is brilliant.

The illustrations are superb and leave room for your own imagination. Easy to read for primary and intermediate students. Adults will love it too.

Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo, Pictures by Harry Bliss.

October 11, 2018 Comments off

Good rosieGood Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo, Pictures by Harry Bliss. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

This sophisticated picture book, come comic book made me laugh.

It is the story of Rosie, a good but lonely dog and her good and probably lonely master, George. Each day begins with George having two poached eggs and Rosie having a shiny bowl of dog food. Rosie sees her image in the bottom of the bowl and says hello. The other dog never answers.

Then George has  a good idea and they go to the dog park. This changes life for both Rosie and George but you will have to read it to find out how. All I will say is that Rosie meets big dog Maurice and his bunny, plus Fifi with the bejeweled collar. George meets their owners.

Kate DiCamillo’s tight script is complimented by Harry Bliss’s superb illustrations. Each illustration is a work of art  with detail that enhances the text. You will read this more than once I can assure you and it will make you laugh.

Take your time reading this. savour every page. For everyone.

Kuwi’s Rowdy Crowd by Kat Merewether

October 7, 2018 Comments off

rowdy crowdKuwi’s Rowdy Crowd by Kat Merewether. Pub. Illustrated Publishing, 2018.

This classic picture book will be launched throughout New Zealand next week in Rotorua and around New Zealand for the next month. Make a point of checking it out.

Kuwi the kiwi just wants a quiet morning in her burrow sipping a cup of kawakawa tea but her chick Huwi has other ideas. Huwi wants to play with his friends and make as much fun and noise as possible.

He wants to play King Kong with his tower of blocks, revel in the bath with a flock of farting whio, kung fu with the kokako and tap dance with the tomtits and other things.

Until Kuwi has a melt down, the friends are out, the noise is stopped, and mother and chick have quality silent time together.

The text is fun but the real humour is in the illustrations. There is the Stay Weird tee shirt on the line, the Huwi Potter cupboard under the stairs, the Kicaso painting on the wall, the cans of Bug Beans, the K bars as karate blocks, amongst others. There is a nice little play with rap too, Straight out of Aotearoa.

Lots of Te Reo Maori words with translations in the back.

A fine package for everyone.

Uncle Allan’s Stinky Leg by Jennifer Somervell, illus. Margery Fern.

October 5, 2018 Comments off

stinky legUncle Allan’s Stinky Leg by Jennifer Somervell, illus. Margery Fern. Pub. Talesfromthe farm Publications, 2018.

The fifth picture book from this talented sisterly duo and once again it is about life on the farm with an added dimension.

Uncle Allan is one of those irrepressible farm boys who loves his work. He is slowed down a little by a broken leg (at rugby of course) and is bored, so he heads back to the farm to help with the cows. Not a good idea. He wallows in the mud, the water and the cow poo, rips around on his farm bike, all of which makes his cast crumbly and stinky.

He has to have the cast replaced, but will that stop him? Read it and find out.

The added dimension is about the broken leg. There is an Xray of a broken leg, the different type of fractures, how the body heals a broken leg and more.

As ever the illustrations are simple and enhance the text. Two pages of flies on the Fly leaf set the stage. The country lifestyle is shown and the character of uncle Allen the laid back farm boy is a star.

Great for juniors and any other readers especially “townies” who need to know about country life.

The Quest Series Pt1. How to set the World on Fire by T.K. Riggins.

October 2, 2018 Comments off

world on fireThe Quest Series Pt1. How to set the World on Fire by T.K. Riggins. Pub. Franchise Publishing Vancouver, 2017.

After reading literally hundreds of fantasy novels it is refreshing to read a really good one. For fantasy to be successful with me it must have  a number of things -firstly mythical dragon like creature or a unicorn. This novel has both. A half lion half dragon beast called a langara which is the guardian of the Forest of Morais and two unicorns one white one black.

Secondly it must have magic. There must be magicians who can do wonderous things, and thirdly there has to be bad things and bad people that need to be overcome to return a troubled land or society to peace and harmony.

This novel has them all, and there is the sage mirror. Find out what it is.

Kase wants to be a warrior and him and his elder sister Cali, who is a scholar, go to a school called the Academy. The Academy caters for warriors, scholars and wizards but never the twain shall meet until now.

Every year the Academy has the Quest for older students before they leave school and teams of all scholars, all warriors, all wizards are the norm. This year is different. Kase Cali, Lena and Talen are not in their final year, not all from one class and they form a team called Liberati to contest the Q. Their first task is to bring hot lava back in it’s natural condition without it solidifying. Tough stuff.

How will they do against older teams? What about school bad boy Niveous? What about the unicorns and the langara? I am not going to tell you any more, you will have to read it yourself. And it is very good.

Great introduction to fantasy for kids from 8-15 years. Good values too. Friendship, families, teamwork, leadership and selflessness are themes. Lots of science and problem solving.

The second book in the series Money Jane is already out.

The Sea Dreamer by Terry Fitzgibbon.

September 26, 2018 Comments off

sea dreamerThe Sea Dreamer by Terry Fitzgibbon. Pub. New Holland, 2018.

When Sam goes to sleep he dreams and floats away on his toy tugboat Wakato accompanied by Pania of the reef. he goes on a journey of discovery and in the process learns about the sea and all the animals who live in it and around it.

There is a strong conservation element about his discoveries which include sea life getting tangled in drastic plastic pollution. He dreams of towing the plastic back to shore for recycling.

Sam learns that the sea is our main source of oxygen and that the power of the oceans waves can help create energy for when oil supplies run out.

he learns about the giant squid, about whales about the albatross and the North and South poles. he wakes with the message that we need to look after the sea and keep it healthy.

Good message and great colourful illustrations. My favourite was Sam towing the mother polar bear and her cub to safety on a flimsy ice floe.

Well worth purchasing for the home or school library.

Jacob’s Toys. The BIG Backyard Adventure by Claudia Woods.

September 22, 2018 Comments off

jacobs toysJacob’s Toys. The BIG Backyard Adventure by Claudia Woods. Pub. Harbour Publishing House, 2018.

This picture book for juniors was a real surprise with beautifully constructed rhyming text and illustrations that bring out the nature of the characters and the drama they are going through.

Jacob decides that he is BIG now and doesn’t need his soft toys anymore but is he really ready to discard them and what about the toys themselves?

Mum puts them in the washing machine, onto the line, hit by a storm, chased by a cat, washed down a drain, blown into the air and then guess where?

The repeated text containing the toys names makes for great reading aloud. Children can join in too.

The illustrations  are mixed media eg drawing, painting, natural materials, clay, felt etc They are made on large boards and layered with all the items and then photographed. Some of the photos are taken from different angles to create a 3D effect. They cover a whole page sometimes more and really compliment the text beautifully and add a dimension in themselves. At the end is a big surprise as the illustrations contain more than you think.

Check this beauty out.