Archive for the ‘Non Fiction’ Category

What Can Possibly go Wrong? by John & Michelle Hotham.

September 20, 2019 Comments off

possibly wrongWhat Can Possibly go Wrong? by John & Michelle Hotham. Pub. Shugar Print New Zealand, 2019.

Ever done something stupid that you regret, and wished you had thought more about it before you started? Things like standing up in the bath, patting a dog that you don’t know, sticking a knife into a power point, using power tools without permission or walking into something while reading your cell phone.

Well this health and safety book for kids and their parents will get you to discuss and think about things that are potentially hazardous to you and everybody around you.

There are 14 scenarios to consider and whats more they are all entertainingly presented

both in picture and in rhyming verse.

Stranger danger, medicine cabinets and playing with a ball inside are also done well. Aimed at 3-9 year olds it certainly has application at older levels, at school and in the home.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags: ,

The NZ Series. Pioneer Women edited by Sarah Ell.

September 2, 2019 Comments off

pioneer womenThe NZ Series. Pioneer Women edited by Sarah Ell. Pub. Oratia, 2019.

After reading this historical account taken from diaries and letters written by women who pioneered New Zealand, I was completely blown away. I don’t think they make women like this anymore.

Their stories are stunning. It starts with extracts from a letter written by a woman identified only as Maggie who warns of what type of person is suitable and not suitable for a new life in New Zealand. You must be of good and strong constitution, those of a refined or genteel disposition should forget it.

The voyage out here has it’s nightmares and astonishingly a measles outbreak on ship. It is still here today. Hone Heke and the flag pole story is told from a woman settlers point of view, the 1855 wellington earthquake, the Tarawera eruption of 1886, Lady barker recounts the big snow of 1867 and the “sweating Commission” enquiry into the exploitive¬† conditions of work of women¬† in 1889.

These and other stories will shake you to the core. I am proud to be associated with women of this calibre and it helps show the resilience that have made New zealanders the kind of people they are.

Superb photographs, paintings and primary sources of information. Every school should get this series – it is who we are.

The NZ Series. Volcanoes & Earthquakes by Gordon Ell & Sarah Ell.

September 2, 2019 Comments off

volcanoesThe NZ Series. Volcanoes & Earthquakes by Gordon Ell & Sarah Ell. Pub. Oratia, 2019.

This non fiction work is part of a new series that looks at what makes New Zealand what it is. This deals with the tectonic forces that have shaped New Zealand and given it a natural beauty that is looked on with awe by other countries.

We are on a boundary called the Pacific ring of fire due to the fact that two giant plates – The Australian Plate and the Pacific plate are grinding next to each other, where this happens magma from the central core of the planet ekes out as volcanoes and the grinding causes earthquakes.

With photographs maps and diagrams these forces are shown and the resultant landscapes are displayed in a professional yet simple way so that primary and intermediate students can easily understand. useful too at high school level. All Nz’s active volcanoes are described and some of the giant episodes from the geological past such as Taupo and Banks Peninsula

Some interesting facts emerge like there are 50 volcanoes in the city of Auckland and they are due to go off in at any time. Better sell up now. It also looks at recent earthquakes in Christchurch and Kaikoura and there is a prophetic photograph of Christchurch cathedral in 1889 with it’s spire broken as a result of an earthquake.

We are not called the Shakey Isles for nothing. Better than any Internet search.

Coo Coo Kereru by Terry Fitzgibbon

August 18, 2019 Comments off

coo cooCoo Coo Kereru by Terry Fitzgibbon. Pub. New Holland, 2019.

A big reason why I like living in New Zealand is the birds and not just the feathered variety.

The kereru or blue green wood pigeon is one I have seen less and less of. I used to see many at Totaranui in the Abel Tasman National park where we used to camp every year and the last time I saw one was in the Christchurch botanical gardens.

You don’t just spot one, the first evidence of one in your presence is the noise it makes when it flies. They are a plump bird and are often clumsy in flight probably due to fermenting berries in their stomach.

like many NZ birds the kereru is in danger. Loss of habitat, animals such as the possum and man himself have reduced the life expectancy of the kereru from 20-25 years to 5-6 years. This is a tragedy.

This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of the life of a kereru which also features in the Maori legend of Maui. it helped him pull up the North Island.

This book has rhyming verse in the front and information in the back and it tells you what to do if you find an injured bird. The onus is on us all to save these beautiful gifts.

The information is compiled by Terry Fitzgibbon who works for the Department of Conservation.

Simple, easy to understand and excellent for study at primary and intermediate level.

Space on Earth by Dr. Sheila Kanani.

August 9, 2019 Comments off

space on earthSpace on Earth by Dr. Sheila Kanani. Pub. Alma books Ltd, 2019.

A riveting non fiction book with large font and easy to read chapters concerning the spinoff technology from the Space programme that has enhanced life on earth.

I will tell you briefly about three things that we take for granted now and owe greatly to the Space programme.

Firstly taking selfies is a national pastime. The minute camera in a cell phone was developed from the need to have precise, quality photographs from outer space.

Secondly artificial limbs were developed from the need to have robotic arms that could do precision jobs while floating in space as on the international Space station. Did you know that they built an artificial leg for an elephant whose leg was blown off by a land mine?

Thirdly swim suit designs and fabric. Did you know that a suit made from a fabric used in space suits enabled swimmers to go so fast that they banned them?

Read all about the way other space technology has affected the way we live and survive on this planet. Imagine the world without satellite technology in communication and the GPS system.

fascinating reading for those readers not into fiction of intermediate and junior high


On The Brink by Maria Gill, illus.Terry Fitzgibbon.

July 3, 2019 Comments off

brinkOn The Brink by Maria Gill, illus.Terry Fitzgibbon. Pub. new Holland, 2019.

The bench mark for any non fiction work is “can you get better information at the right level on the Internet?” The answer for this work is No. It is simply put accurate information, laid out in an easy to follow manner and superbly illustrated.

It’s aim is to lay the facts about endangered species in New Zealand before the reader and gives the reasons why they are endangered and what is needed to save the species from extinction. Like global warming it is vital to our survival on this planet.

Birds, insects, marine life, reptiles, fish, frogs and bats, are all covered. The point is will the 45 NZ fairy terns, 55 Maui dolphins, 300 Hamilton’s frogs, 250 lowland longjawed Galaxia’s and an unknown number of Mokohinau Stag beetles survive another 10-15 years. Plus the top 5 in all catagories.

They had better because sooner or later human may become endanger themselves.

Superbly illustrated by Terry Fitzgibbon with drawings of each creature.

Essential for all school libraries and great to have in the home.

Dear Pluto by Carmen Gloria.

July 1, 2019 Comments off

plutoDear Pluto by Carmen Gloria. Pub. Uncommon Grammar, 2019.

When the International Astronomical Union downgraded Pluto to a dwarf planet, I was a bit miffed and so was the personalised Pluto in this picture book for juniors.

I mean Pluto has five moons and resides in the Kuiper Belt of asteroids outside of Neptune. But then it is small, is still a part of the Solar system and like the character Pluto in this book, is quite content to be a dwarf planet like the five others in our system.

A lovely characterisation of Pluto that sits comfortably alongside Carmen Gloria’s earlier publication on Mercury. Juniors will love it and it is a simple introduction to a study of the solar system.