Archive for the ‘Non Fiction’ Category

Harry Potter. A Journey Through A History of Magic.

December 18, 2017 Comments off

potter magicHarry Potter. A Journey Through A History of Magic. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

For enthusiastic readers who want to know all about the magic in the Harry Potter Series.

This well illustrated and very informative book has the original synopsis of the Harry Potter series that was sent to Bloomsbury and the rest is the history of magic throughout history that formed the basis of the magic curricula of Hogwarts as taught to Harry and his fellow students.

References to the text of the 7 books are illustrated by the roots of the magic from Leonardo da Vinci to the earliest atlas of the stars and the magical creatures.

Potions and Alchemy, Herbology, Charms and Defence against the dark Arts are covered. Does a mandrake root really scream when you pull it out of the ground? Is there a potion that can make you fall in love or tell the truth? When was the beginning of Palm reading.

The highlight for me was the original hand written scripts in JK Rowling’s own handwriting with alterations and some which never made it into the books.

Totally fascinating.

Regions of New Zealand. An Easy Guide by Peter Dowling

November 1, 2017 Comments off

regions of NZRegions of New Zealand. An Easy Guide by Peter Dowling. Pub. Oratia Books, 2017.

Before I consent to review a non fiction work on my blog I ask myself the question “can this book rival or do things better than online sources”. The answer in this case is most definitely yes.

As specified in the title it is an easy guide showing all the regions of NZ, what they look like with pictorial photographs, the history, how many people live there and what the main activities and products of the region are.

It shows tourist attractions, major land marks, main geographical features and something unique about the region as well as its Maori heritage and place name. For example  Gisborne is Te Tai Rawhiti and near the Turanganui River Capt James Cook first set foot on new Zealand soil.

Northland is the warmest region, Auckland has the largest population at 1.6million people and Canterbury the second.

Simply set out with great photographs and information  blocks. Suitable for school libraries and especially for new immigrants to New Zealand

The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd.

October 18, 2017 Comments off

art activity bookThe New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd. Pub. Te Papa Press, 2017.

Te papa is the national museum of New Zealand and with this publication it seeks to introduce children to more than 50 significant historical and contemporary works from it’s own collections and it does. But of more importance it seeks to get children to creatively respond to these works and at the same time develop their own art skills.

Yes it is a big job and it has been done well. It is multi cultural in appeal from European, Pasifika and Maori art, as are the artists. It is modernist and post modernist art of New Zealand.

It is for the individual to work with as their own or as a text for whole classes. It has a hands on style about it and whats more it shows how art can be fun and how art works can stimulate your own imagination. Get your hands on it , it is very good.

Night of the Riot by Matt Elliott.

October 11, 2017 Comments off

night riotNight of the Riot by Matt Elliott. Pub. Salisbury Books Birkenhead, 2017.

A well written novel about a true event in Whanganui just after the outbreak of World War 1, the catastrophe of Gallipoli and the sinking of the Lusitania. Told from the point of view of a 12 year old farm boy Snow Goodison who was working for a German immigrant named Konrad Schmidt during these events.

New Zealanders often say with confidence after an overseas tragedy that “it couldn’t happen here”. The people of Whanganui thought the same and young Snow thought the same. A riot in the main street in which several businesses where wrecked and looted including that NZ icon Hallensteins, destroyed all that.

Told in three parts in which Part 1 is a fascinating outline of life in small town New Zealand before and during WW1 when cars were rare, transport was on horseback or Shank’s pony and domestic life was physically hard work.

Snow is an admirable character, brave, loyal, hard working and most of all honest. He faces bullying behaviour with courage, but will everybody see it that way?

Read it and find out. For primary, intermediate and junior secondary students.

Go Fiji Go. How Fiji won its first Olympic gold medal by David Riley.

October 3, 2017 Comments off

go fijiGo Fiji Go. How Fiji won its first Olympic gold medal by David Riley. Pub. Reading Warrior, 2017.

One of the fairy tale , feelgood stories of the Rio Olympics was the gold medal by the Fijian Sevens rugby team. This is their story and it is inspiring.

Six months before the Olympics Cyclone Winston, one of the most powerful storms seen in the Pacific, smashed Fiji. The damage was astonishing. How could this small island nation get up and win an Olympic medal for the first time?

Much of the credit can go to Englishman Ben Ryan who became the head coach and changed the whole culture of Fijian Sevens teams. He gave them a good diet, he took away their cell phones, he trained them like they had never done before and he gave them discipline.

He didn’t change the natural exuberance of Fijian teams who had won the World championship twice in a row and had the best Sevens player ever in Waisale Serevi. But Serevi had retired and Fiji had a new batch of players.

Each player is profiled and each game at Rio documented. It is a great story with excellent photographs. It will appeal to reluctant readers who like sport.

Rugby League World by David Riley.

October 2, 2017 Comments off

rugby league worldRugby League World by David Riley. Pub. Reading Warrior, 2017.

This 97 page easy to read book on Rugby league is full of interesting facts and figures about the history of the game plus all the big personalities from this part of the World including NZ, Australia, Papua new Guinea, Niue, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Tokelau, Fiji, Maori players and includes the women’s league and the wheelchair game.

It is full of excellent photographs and statistics and with the Rugby league World Cup coming up it would be an excellent acquisition for league fans and the school library.

Did you know that league was invented in Northern England in 1895 so that the players could be paid. They reduced the teams to 13 a side. took out lineouts and replaced rucks and mauls with play the ball.

New Zealand toured UK with a league team full of ex All Blacks in 1907 who felt that players should be paid considering the money raised by huge crowds at the games. The English insisted on calling them the All Blacks and it wasn’t until 1938 that they became the Kiwis.

NRL and state of Origin football is also presented and each country has a top 13 of all time named plus legends of the game. See if you know the answers to these questions – who is the only player to have won World cup medals in both rugby League and rugby Union? What nationality is Manu Vatuvei? Who was the first captain of the Warriors? What new trophy will this years World league Cup be played for? The answers are in the book.

It is an impressive volume with easy text and is sure to keep sport minded, reluctant reader boys interested. Don’t miss this one.

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Pele. The Autobiography.

September 23, 2017 Comments off

pele.jpgPele. The Autobiography. Pub. Pocket books, 2007.

No other footballer has commanded the respect and adulation that Pele has yet he is the most humble of characters and enjoyed an almost injury free career. He played at four World Cups, scored 1283 goals and played for Santos, Brazil and New York Cosmos.

He worked for player rights in Brazil, married twice and sired seven children. He was World Ambassador for the United Nations, took the “beautiful game” (a phrase he coined) to America and the man who had Mohammed Ali say when they met “two legends together”.

How did he do all that from the slums of Bauru in Central west Brazil? Well read it and find out, it is riveting.

He was a deeply religious man but erroneously attributed his skills to god at a time when everything a young man wanted to do was considered a sin. It was practice, dedication and a strong body that made him a good footballer. He was only 5ft 9 inches tall but astonishingly good in the air. He mastered the art of keeping the ball under control close to his body and was very fast.

About his footballing ability he said this “people assume that because I scored so many goals that I was an out and out striker. But  I never was. I was an attacking mid fielder, a deep lying centre forward”. He also has some advice about the media -“before a game never read the newspaper or listen to the radio and TV”

An entertaining read that is his own story. When he met and played against George Best as the king of football, Best said to him “what kind of king are you? you don’t smoke or drink”. Well Pele is still alive. I saw him play once and he scored for Santos against Fulham at Craven Cottage but they lost 2-1. The great Bobby Moore also played.