Archive for the ‘Picture book’ Category

Sky High by David Hill, Illus. Phoebe Morris

July 17, 2017 Comments off

sky highSky High by David Hill, Illus. Phoebe Morris. Pub.Penguin Random House, 2017.

When Jean Batten flew back to Britain after setting the record for the journey from Britain to Australia the Press lauded her as “the girl who has beaten all the men” and again when she landed at Mangere Airport after a World record flight of 23, 000 Kilometers in 11 days 45 minutes she was named Hine-o-te-Rangi “daughter of the skies.”

She opened the Aviation Pioneers Pavilion at MOTAT in 1977 and then we forgot her. Five years after her death on the island of Majorca her death was discovered. What happened in between is a mystery.

Sensitively told by David Hill and dramatically illustrated by Phoebe Morris. Her first double page spread of a small plane tossing in the turbulent skies with the sight of New Zealand in the distance sets the standard.

These two worked together on Hillary’s story First to the Top and this is another winner.

For primary and intermediate students. There is a timeline of Jean Batten’s life in the back and the covers show a map of the World with Batten’s flights marked. No space wasted in this book.

A quality publication.



Categories: Non Fiction, Picture book Tags:

I Can’t Sleep by Stephanie Blake.

July 15, 2017 Comments off

can't sleepI Can’t Sleep by Stephanie Blake. Pub Gecko Press 2017.

I admit I am addicted to these picture books about Simon, the rabbit with a great imagination. This latest book keeps my addiction going and it is available for purchase in August.

Simon and his little brother Casper decide to build a MEGA GIGA-NORMOUS hut out of Casper’s blanky. The reader will rightly pick that there is trouble ahead when it is bed time. Casper can’t sleep without his blanky and Simon has to assume his alter ego identity, Super Rabbit, to rescue the situation.

Great fun with the familiar big font text and whole page primary colour illustrations, to accentuate the drama of the story. Blues and black for the night and brighter colours for day time and the monster.

Good read-a-loud for juniors and a knowing laugh for adults.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Picture book Tags: ,

Where is Grandma? by Peter Schossow

June 30, 2017 Comments off

where is grandmaWhere is Grandma? by Peter Schossow. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

I have never seen illustrations like those in this excellent picture book about a young boy Henry who gets lost in the hospital while visiting his grandma.

Each double page illustrations shows a side of hospital life from reception through the endless wards to triage, geriatrics, neo- natal, the basement and security until Henry finally finds grandma.

Henry gets lost because his minder is talking on her cell phone. How typical these days, many a sin is committed while others are on their cell phones.

Each illustration has big people with prominent noses, going about there lives in the hospital and accentuates the loneliness and trauma of being in such a place. The illustrations also reflect the cultural diversity of modern Germany.

Henry is bewildered yet interested in all he experiences until Grandma scolds him when security deliver him to her room, but she is delighted to see him.

The hospital environment is sterile and unwelcoming yet there is a moment of comic genius when Henry finds a friend who has a bean stuck up her nose. How did it get there? and what has happened to grandma?

Read it and find out, you will find it a unique experience.

Nga Atua: Maori Gods by Robyn Kahukiwa

June 13, 2017 Comments off

maori GodsNga Atua: Maori Gods by Robyn Kahukiwa. Pub. Oratia Books, 2017.

I have been reading Robyn Kahukiwa’s books for more than 30 years and they have always impressed me.

This picture book is a simple introduction to some of the deities that are special, unique and awesome and are some of the supernatural beings of Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White cloud.

Tane is described first as the most powerful Atua who looks after the birds the trees and the people, he also gave light to the land by pushing Ranginui the sky away from Papatuanuke, the Earth.

Maui is in there of course and so is Ruaumoko who I am well acquainted with here in Christchurch because when Ruaumoko burps an earthquake is on the way. The stunner for me was Mahuika the Atua of fire. Each finger of her hand has a name and she hurls fire at her enemies.

The illustrations are superb and affirm the relevance of the Maori Gods today just as the Greek and Roman Gods are relevant and all the other cultural gods of Earth’s many peoples.

Dino Diggers. Digger Disaster by Rose Impey, illus. Chris Chatterton.

May 31, 2017 Comments off

digger disasterDino Diggers. Digger Disaster by Rose Impey, illus. Chris Chatterton. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

Terri, Tyrone, Ricky, Bruno and Stacey are the best diggers in Dino-town but things do not always go right.

They are building a car factory for a rather grumpy Mr Ali O’Saurus who can’t wait till the next Ice Age to get the foundations laid. Haste makes for error and a water pipe is burst. Calamity? Not for the Dino Diggers they sort it out fast and the job is well done.

Simple story but with a strong message of working hard, sorting out your problems and doing the best you can.

The illustrations are cool. Dinosaurs driving bulldozers, trucks and diggers with a smile on their faces. Lots of boy appeal for reluctant readers and as part of a series leads the reader to further books about the same characters.

In the back is a kit set to make up a Dino Digger and reference to a web page to help the reader with the construction. A practical picture book for early primary readers.

The Big Bad Mood by Tom Jamieson, illus. Olga Demidova.

May 31, 2017 Comments off

bad moodThe Big Bad Mood by Tom Jamieson, illus. Olga Demidova. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

If you could see a big bad mood, what would it look like? Well George is going to find out on a day when nothing is going right for him and he is in a right mood.

Mum says “there is a big mood hanging around you today George” so George goes looking for it and it makes him badder and moodier that ever. Then he finds the Mood and it takes him on  on a mischievous bender. They make  a big bad mood sandwich with pickles, cheese, ham, mustard and a sprinkle of shaved caterpillar legs.

It’s fun at first especially when they fill the swimming pool with jelly and custard but George tires of it because it is noisy and makes his friends unhappy. So the Big Bad Mood stomps off. But will George become a better person for his experiences and learn to say sorry?

Read it and find out for yourself.

Excellent colourful illustrations by Olga Demidova. The Big bad Mood is perfect and the World Famous Big Bad Mood Sandwich is a delight and almost edible for some.

Good positive message that tantrums and moods are not for ever and there is a price to pay. Great read-a-loud for pre- school and early primary children and good to have in the home for children to linger over.


Grandad’s Guitar by Janine McVeagh. illus. Fifi Colston.

May 24, 2017 Comments off

grandads guitarGrandad’s Guitar by Janine McVeagh. illus. Fifi Colston. Pub. Makaro Press, 2017.

When Kahu is given a worn and scratched old guitar for his birthday by his Nana, he is not pleased. “why can’t I have a new one?“.

So Nana tells him the history of the guitar that was owned by his grandfather, has been around the world, entertained people from many cultures and was a strong binding factor in the relationship between his grandparents.

As Nana tells this story to Kahu he is learning to play the guitar and has three chords mastered by the end of the story.

It is probably set in the 1970’s when many New Zealanders took off for their OE on board an Italian passenger liner. I did and this picture book has a strong nostalgia about it for me and  I suspect many other grandparents out there. This is their story too.

Grandfather played the guitar all over Europe, through the Middle East to India. It nearly got swept away but now Kahu has it. He is proud.

Fifi Colston’s excellent illustrations show the hippy culture of the time, the combi van, the relationship between the grandparents and the various cultures that they met in their travels.

All in all a classy publication. It is released today at $25.00 a copy. Well worth it.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,