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Archive for the ‘Picture book’ Category

Mrs Chippy the Cat by Susan Brocker, Illus. Raymond McGrath. Pub. Scholastic, 2021.

June 29, 2021 Comments off

This true story is part of the legendary Ernst Shackleton and his ship the Endurance which was crushed by sea ice and led to a great journey of survival in 1914.

Mrs Chippy got on board the Endurance because he was a good ratter. He was in fact a male cat but was better than a wife to the carpenter on board Chippy McNeish who gave him his name. The cat earned his passage by being company to the men on board Endurance. He even found a stowaway.

When the ship was caught in pack ice and eventually was crushed and sank, Mrs Chippy was with the men. But did he survive the journey? Read it and find out.

Excellent illustrations by Raymond McGrath who captures the Antarctic environment and the stormy southern seas. Fishing Mrs Chippy out of the stormy cold seas was a highlight for me and creeping out on the bowsprit.

An outline of the details of the journey are in the back plus some real photographs. Don’t miss this it is very good.

Takahe Trouble by sally Sutton, illus. by Jenny Cooper. Pub. Scholastic, 2021

June 3, 2021 Comments off

I liked this story for a three reasons. Firstly because it is about an endangered NZ flightless bird, the takahe, well two actually, Secondly it is a true story and thirdly the illustrations of the two takahe are delightful.

Walter is a very conservative takahe. Takes no risks, has yet to find his adventurous side and steadies the ship in a crisis. Manaaki is a devil may care takahe, wants to see a rat, a roaring road and eat foreign food.

Manaaki cajoles Walter into getting through the fence and come what may. Each of Manaaki’s desires are going to come true and others too. It is a night they will never forget but caring humans are in sight.

Deliciously illustrated by Jenny Cooper. The two teenage takahe are drawn to character and the rat is a pearler.

Great story, very witty, easy to read a very classy idea. The truth of the story is in the back. get it and read it.

Categories: Picture book Tags: , ,

World Folk Tales retold by Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod, illus. Brent Larsen. Pub. Giltedge Publishing 2021. PR. Lighthouse

May 28, 2021 Comments off

This picture book of folk tales from fourteen different countries and cultures around the world is possibly the best collection of it’s type that I have read. In hard back picture book size it would be an essential purchase for school libraries and a classy book for the home with primary and intermediate age children and for adults too.

From folk tales we get lessons and wisdom and these 14 tales are full of both. Starting with a Maori legend of Rata’s Diosappearing Waka it puts Maori legends firmly on equal rating with legends from other cultures.

There is a Aboriginal legend of Dreamtime. a Greek legend of Arachne and Athena and others from India, Indonesia, Ireland, Scotland, Chile, Mongolia, USA, Brazil, Nigeria and my favourite from Turkey.

Each story is told on a two page spread splendidly illustrated by Brent Larsen. Pick it up read one and be bewildered with their brilliance.

A very classy publication. Miss this and you will kick yourself.

I te Timotanga. In the Beginning Retold and Illus. by Peter Gossage. Maori translation Na Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira. Pub. Scholastic

May 9, 2021 Comments off

In the beginning there was Ranginui the father and Papatuanuku the mother. They had many children but they lived in a dark world. Tangaroa, Tane, Rongo and the other children tried to part their parents and bring light into the World. Read this excellent Maori creation legend and see how they did it.

This legend was first written 20 years ago and the author has since died but his work lives on, as does the legend. The written text is simple and easy to read with the Maori text coming first and the English translation next to it.

Peter Gossage’s “stained glass technique” illustrations always impressed me and give enhancement to the written text.

The overall result is that the creation myth is more accessible to young and older readers. Check it out it is good.

Oli and Basil. The Dashing Frogs of Travel by Megan Hess. Pub. Hardie Grant, 2021.

May 7, 2021 Comments off

This is a very classy picture book about difference and cooperation. Oli and Basil are as different as chalk and cheese and neither knows that meeting the other will change their lives completely.

Both frogs live in stately homes in Paris but they have never met. Oli is an inventor who likes to pull things apart and to create things that move. he is working on a jetpack. Basil is totally different but does have an interest in balloons and flying things. Both are frustrated with their lives.

Then they enter a contest to make a Pig Fly. There is a lot of competition and both lose out to a hedgehog but they meet and decide to work together as a team. Check this superbly illustrated picture book and see how they get on.

Basil and Oli are excellently portrayed and the illustrations are full of ideas and things to look closely at. See if the pig ever does fly.

This is the first in a series titled The World of Claris. Oli and Boris do meet Claris she is a rather chic French mouse, see how they get on.

Fourteen Wolves by Catherine Barr, illus. Jenni Desmond. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2021.

May 6, 2021 Comments off

This is positively the best non fiction picture book I have read for many a year and it is about wolves an animal that features heavily in literature and myth and mythology of human beings. It is also a success story for humankind who are so often, in fact nearly always responsible for habitat destruction and the cause of species disappearing.

In the 1930’s the wolves disappeared from Yellowstone national park due to human beings and the ecosystem of the park started to collapse. Elks started to thrive as they were the food of the wolves. Elks ate all the shrubbery and grassland and started on the trees. Subsequently the whole cycle of life disappeared from the park including birds fish insects, everything.

In 1995 14 wolves were transferred from Canada as a first shipment of wolves back to Yellowstone and the fate of each of these wolves is monitored in this book. The wolves formed into breeding packs and scattered throughout the park along with other wolves who were brought in later.

As a result of this the life cycle habitat and environment of Yellowstone changed back to the way it was before.

The book is divided into three parts – Coming Home in which the wolves are transplanted back and how they adapt to their new environment. A New Yellowstone which tells how the park changed, and Understanding How Nature Works shows the food chain of the park and how all the living things there are connected.

Magnificently illustrated by Jenni Desmond which enhances Catherine Barr’s storytelling. A first class package that is essential for school libraries and for the home. Science and human behaviour at it’s best. A rewilding story.

My Cat Can See Ghosts by Emily Joe. Pub, Beatnik, 2021.

April 11, 2021 Comments off

I read this delightful and insightful picture book about cats and ghosts to my granddaughters who both have a cat. They loved it and said immediately it was just like their cats.

Cat behaviour is always intriguing, they are an aristocratic animal who have staff and know how to get what they want. My granddaughters are the same.

The text is poetic “Sometimes my cat appears to stare, At something more than just thin air.” You will have to read it yourself to see what happens next.

The illustrations by the author are superb. The ghosts in the cat’s eyes, the relaxed way a cats stretches out and the sudden burst of energy that a cat shows with hairs puffed up tall. All there in dark pastel colours with yellow shades prominent.

Lovely ending. A must buy for any school library and a home with cats.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

There’s A Bear in the Window by June Pitman-Hayes Illus. Minky Stapleton. Retold in Maori by Pania Papa.

March 28, 2021 Comments off

During Covid lockdown part of the being kind and caring culture was for people to put teddy bears in their windows for people passing by to see. We had one in our window which got many children stopping.

This picture book looks at things from the bears’ point of view, what did they see?

The first bear sees rainbows in the sky and a piwakawaka flitting through the trees. Other bears see families flying kites, people playing music, and the bear in gumboots with his arm in a sling sees a kereru and a tui. Check out what the other bears see.

This first half of the picture book is in English, the second half tells the same story in Maori language. The whole thing is put to music which can be downloaded or streamed in both English and Maori.

Bright breezy illustrations with photographs of bears in peoples windows and a glossary of Maori terms.

Great for music, read-a-loud and for study of Maori language. Also a reminder of lockdown from Covid.

Dream Big Little Mole by Tom Percival, illus. Christine Pym. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2021.

March 26, 2021 Comments off

Little moles watches the birds fly and the ducks swim and she wishes she could do that. Owl tells her to “dream Big…Be brilliant. Be you”. So she does.

Little mole decides she is good at digging holes so she sets off to dig the biggest hole ever. But nothing goes smooth. She digs through foxes roof and ruins his day, ruins someone’s lawn, causes a little rabbit to trip on one of his dirt mounds and lose his kite.

She decides to give up but otter tells her to keep going. She digs down and through the banks of a river. Check out and see what happens.

Good message about holding onto your dreams and taking risks.

Illustrations enhance the text. Mole is suitably inquisitive, owl is studious, hedgehog is smug and otter is charming.

A good read-a loud for juniors.

This Is Where I Stand by Philippa Werry, illus. Kieran Rynhart. Pub. Scholastic, 2021.

March 25, 2021 Comments off

This powerful picture book is my sophisticated picture book of the year and it is just in time for ANZAC day when we remember the fallen at Gallipoli and in every war.

It opens with a bronze statue of a WW1 soldier, handsome, young, rifle slung over his left shoulder.”This is where I stand. All Day. Every Day. All Night. Every Night”.

He watches the children play, he sees the stars at night. he sees the children pass, he notes the remembrance once a year,he remembers the soldiers going to war in ships, the desert sands of Egypt, the slaughter at Gallipoli, the wounded coming home with their haunted eyes, the protesters..”.I am memory”.

Superb illustrations by Kieran Rynhart. Perfect to understand the sacrifices of war and the passage of time.

Categories: Picture book, War Tags: , ,