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Archive for the ‘Junior Fiction’ Category

Funny Kid 5: Slapstick by Matt Stanton

June 23, 2019 Comments off

slapstickFunny Kid 5: Slapstick by Matt Stanton. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

I sat down and read this latest episode in the life of Funny kid, in one sitting. It was about  the sport of ice hockey and questioned why sport was so popular with some but not with others.

Max is not sporty although some of his friends are. he wondered why people got so much fun out of putting a ball through a hoop or hitting a ball into a hole with a stick. He is soon to find out why in a very funny way.

While attending an ice hockey game with his friend Hugo he is asked to hit a puck into an open goal in a competition and amazes himself by doing it even though he fall flat on his face. He is stirred by the roar of the crowd and next days paper article about the new sports star.

His friends them form an ice hockey team to take on the local high school side.  Former teacher Mr Armstrong makes a return as coach with a wig and the hilarity continues.

Great read for reluctant boys and girls of middle school. I think it is the best yet in this series. Others are reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

Cloud Boy by Marcia Williams.

June 18, 2019 Comments off

cloud boyCloud Boy by Marcia Williams. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

This very memorable novel for middle school readers is written in diary form by Angela Moon. She has an artistic bent, has a pet goldfish called Edith and is extremely fortunate to have a Great grandma called Gertie.

Angie’s best friend is a sickly boy called Harry Christmas. He is a very determined soul who watches and records clouds on a daily basis in his journals. Angie and Harry were born 2 days apart and are inseparable.

With their fathers’ help they build a tree house which they call Artcloud and they spend much of their spare time there looking at clouds and doing art work. Then Harry gets seriously ill. Read it and find out what happens.

Much of the drama of this book are letters written by great grandma Gertie to her cat when as a young girl she was imprisoned in Changi jail after the fall of Singapore in 1942. The letters tell of the cruelty of the Japanese captors to the women and children. It tells of a real life quilt made by the women and girls to pass time in the wretched conditions of Changi Jail.

A superb story of human endurance from the past and in the present as Angela deals with the illness of her best friend. Very easy to read with short diary entries.

Knock Knock by Deano Yipadee and Paul Beavis

June 11, 2019 Comments off

knock knockKnock Knock by Deano Yipadee and Paul Beavis. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Knock Knock jokes have been around forever and before I responded to “Amos who” to a school mate.

In this picture book for juniors Gerri Giraffe tells knock knock jokes to his neighbours. They are not amused. But all is not lost for him, read it and see why.

Amusing rhyming text that has been put to music that you can download. Paul Beavis’s illustrations of Gerri and the other animals in this book are a delight

Flit the Fantail and the Mystery Eggs by Kat Merewether.

June 10, 2019 Comments off

flitFlit the Fantail and the Mystery Eggs by Kat Merewether. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Another delightful and awfully cute picture book for juniors with an air of mystery about it.

Flit is practicing his landings and not doing very well but it has a bonus about it. he finds some rubbery white eggs  on the ground and wonders what bird they belong to. He asks a host of NZ native birds like the Kiwi and the kaka but they are not theirs.

They belong to a creature that has been around for 200 million years. See if you can guess what it is.

Superb illustrations and an introduction to the many NZ creatures that lay eggs. Once again the eyes have it, hence the cute comment.

Kat Merewether’s other books are also reviewed on this blog. Check them out.

The Day the Plants Fought Back by Belinda O’Keefe, illus. Richard Holt

June 9, 2019 Comments off

plants foughtThe Day the Plants Fought Back by Belinda O’Keefe, illus. Richard Holt. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Patrick and Wayne are “two boisterous boys who made lots of noise”. Unfortunately they were also destructive especially with plants. Then the plants fight back and scare the living daylights out of the boys.

As a result their behaviour changes. See what happens.

Love the rhyming text which makes this picture book a good read-a-loud for juniors and the message is perfect. Sometimes people need a good hard scare to make them see sense. Fear is a good way to curb behaviour – a male teacher once told me fear was the key to an orderly classroom. Mind you that was 20 years ago.

Richard holt’s illustrations are perfect. the excitable boys, the fearsome plants with eyes and ears and the wistful mother. A good little package this.

Cinders and Sparks Bk1. Magic at Midnight by Lindsay Kelk, illus. Pippa Curnick

June 6, 2019 Comments off

cindersCinders and Sparks Bk1. Magic at Midnight by Lindsay Kelk, illus. Pippa Curnick. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

This is a junior reader that takes the micky out of the Cinderella fairytale and it is a good laugh. It basically modernises the old tale and introduces a number of other fairy tale characters like little Bo Peep. You the one that lost her sheep. Now she takes them everywhere with her  and at the Princes Ball in which the prince is expected to chose a wife. Bo peeps sheep are under the table. You don’t want to lose them twice.

Cinders fairy godmother had trouble finding Cinders because she wasn’t on any social media site. I think that tells you what this story is like.

Easy to read, a good laugh and opens up the world of magic and fairy tales. There will be 3 books in this series.

Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman, illus. Divya Srinivasan.

June 3, 2019 Comments off

cinnamonCinnamon by Neil Gaiman, illus. Divya Srinivasan. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2019.

Neil Gaiman is no stranger to the weird and wonderful and in this picture book he has the perfect ally in illustrator Divya Srinivasan.

In a hot country ringed by mountains and jungle live a Rajah and his Rani who have a daughter who will not or cannot talk. Her name is Cinnamon. She is a lovely girl with pearls for eyes which means she cannot see either.

A reward is offered for anyone who can get Cinnamon to talk but all fail. Then a powerful tiger comes and wants to teach the girl cub to talk. It pits the strong and powerful against the weak and helpless but somehow it works. What is the attraction? He gives her the three card trick of Pain, Fear and then Love. It works but what will happen then?

Read it and find out.

Superb illustrations  especially the tiger and Cinnamon. A sophisticated picture book.