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Archive for the ‘Junior Fiction’ Category

My NZ Story. The Wahine Disaster by Shirley Corlett.

April 6, 2020 Comments off

wahineMy NZ Story. The Wahine Disaster by Shirley Corlett. Pub. Scholastic, 2020.

This novel was originally part of the My Story Series titled Abandon Ship published in 2003 but it has been redesigned and I have just read it in the week that the Wahine went down 52 years ago.

It is powerfully written in diary form by 12 year old Debbie who was aboard the ship and saved the diary by wrapping it in plastic before going into the sea and being rescued at Seatoun.

The novel is skilfully linked to another sinking in Wellington harbour of the Birmin one hundred years before, on which one of Debbies relatives was doctor. This provides a spooky side to the story when Debbie was in the water, freezing cold and barely able to hang on, she feels she was assisted by her grandfather relative.

Lots of pictures in the back plus a portrait of life in 1968 the year that Martin Luther King was shot and the Beverley Hillbillies was the most popular TV show.

Easy to read and a great lockdown story of another tragedy in another time.

 

Row, Kiwi,Row Your Boat by Lynette Evans, illus Stevie Mahardhika, sung Pio Terei.

April 5, 2020 Comments off

kiwi rowRow, Kiwi,Row Your Boat by Lynette Evans, illus Stevie Mahardhika, sung Pio Terei. Pub.Scholastic, 2020.

A board book with all the pages hard cardboard so that they can withstand chewing and rough treatment. It is for babies and pre school children for whom the love of books is yet to be established.

It has a song that can be downloaded but parents will know it as it is the old favourite Row Row Row your boat gently down the stream.

Three kiwis go rowing to find a Taniwha. They meet a kingfisher, a rather cool eel, a heron, a duck and others who they want to help them find the taniwha. He is around there somewhere so if you can find him.

Bright eyed illustrations and an excellent taniwha..

Animalphabet by Julia Donaldson, illus. Sharon King-Chai

April 2, 2020 Comments off

animalphabetAnimalphabet by Julia Donaldson, illus. Sharon King-Chai. Pub. MacMillan, 2020.

Very cleverly designed, illustrated and written picture book for juniors and pre-school children. The unity of illustrations and text has never been better. This alphabet picture book will blow your mind.

The written text is enormously clever and demands to be read aloud. It starts with an Ant, but who is prettier than an Ant? of course it is a butterfly but it hasn’t as many legs as a caterpillar and a caterpillar is not as big as an elephant.

But who is pinker than an elephant? and the question of them all who can sing better than a Mole? Read it and find out. Covers air, land and sea creatures.

Sharon King-Chai’s illustrations are superb and the cuttings and flaps in the pages and cover once opened reveal something about the story.

The best picture book so far this year.

Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker.

February 15, 2020 Comments off

real worldHere in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

This easy to read novel with short chapters for primary and Intermediate students, is a delight from beginning to end. It is set in Florida and Sara Pennypacker’s style reminds me of Kate Di Camillo.

Over protection is one of many disadvantages of being an only child. Ware is eleven and a half years old and is a disappointment to his hard working parents. He knows they are disappointed and he would like to change completely.

I think he is a fabulous person. He is a dreamer, a thinker and above all an artist. He struggles to meet and mix with people and prefers to be with his own fantasies. He is the type of boy who when he closes the door to his room, every cell in his body breaths a sigh of relief.

He is put in a childminding school during the summer holidays after his grandmother who he calls Big-deal, and he hates it. Over the fence from the play centre is an old churchyard and he goes in there to play. It reminds him of a medieval castle and his great love is the code of a knight which concentrates on fairness.

Ware meets Jolene in the yard and she is a die hard realist but the two get on with lots of disagreement and banter. Jolene plants a garden in the old churchyard and Ware builds a moat around the old church tower.

Then an older girl Ashley tells Jolene and Ware that the bank is going to sell the church site and destroy the work they are doing.

Read it and find out what happens. Brilliant ending. One of the best of the year.

Wheels by Sally Sutton, illus. Brian Lovelock

February 5, 2020 Comments off

wheelsWheels by Sally Sutton, illus. Brian Lovelock. Pub. Walker Books, 2020.

With a front cover that says  “pick me up and read me”, this picture book attracts reluctant readers especially boys.

The front and back covers are strewn with tyre marks of the various everyday vehicles that are illustrated in this book.  Six different wheeled vehicles are then partly introduced and the reader asked  “shout whats coming if you know”. Each vehicle is presented over four pages with superb illustrations by Brian lovelock.

The written text demands to be read aloud to a class of juniors. Sally Sutton is good at this.  The back has a picture of a wheel with all it’s parts described.

A very worthwhile addition to any classroom and in the home.

Great Grandma’s Shed. Marcum Road Follies by Helen Nickolson, illus. Tanya Maneki.

January 7, 2020 Comments off

Grandmas shedGreat Grandma’s Shed. Marcum Road Follies by Helen Nickolson, illus. Tanya Maneki. Pub. Adelaide books New York, 2019.

This is a collection of old time shaggy dog type stories for juniors, the sort of story that only a grandparent can tell their grand child.

Essential to the story is for the child to believe that a car-Old Red, can be a human like being that can share their lives and do things that adults can do. Once that is accepted the car becomes a friend and a person like anyone else. Indeed he is. He takes them to the movies, he gets sad, the children play tricks on him but he becomes an essential part of the community in the farming area of north California.

Old fashioned story telling in short stories. My favourite is the unruly cows who can do Irish dancing and pester grandma by dirtying up her yard.

There are also other characters like Cutie pie the dog and Teepo the duck. I found it a good laugh. Great illustrations especially those at the end of each story.

A Day at the Zoo by Cassie Roberts.

January 7, 2020 Comments off

day at zooA Day at the Zoo by Cassie Roberts. Pub. Adelaide Books New York, 2019.

This is a picture book about taking risks and joining in.

William and Rose visit the zoo and watch the animals do an array of things. Monkey swings in the trees, Elephant rides a bike giraffe swims laps in his elongated bath and Zebra climbs a rope.

They all call to William and Rose to join in but they are diffident. Will they change their minds by the end of the book? Check it and find out.

Simple rhyming text, good for read aloud or personal reading for juniors.