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Watch Out for the Weka by Ned Barraud.

September 14, 2017 Comments off

watch wekaWatch Out for the Weka by Ned Barraud. Pub. Potton & Burton, 2017.

A delightful picture book about one of New Zealand’s other native birds that have personality and brighten up our lives. The weka which is very much like a brown bush chicken.

My family and I used to camp at Totaranui in the Able Tasman National Park in the 80’s and 90’s. At first we saw many of them then less and less until hardly ever. It was a shame. they were a cheeky bird that would go into your tent an forage.

The weka in this book has a scurrilous look and likes shiny things. The hut ranger gets embarrassed in his altogether when chasing a weka that has nicked his watch. But the weka hasn’t finished yet. read it and see what happens.

Superb digital illustrations of the Able Tasman particularly Awaroa Inlet and the beach bought by ordinary New Zealanders. The weka is classic.

Some Eels by Amelia Harris.

September 5, 2017 Comments off

some eelsSome Eels by Amelia Harris. Pub. Index press, 2017.

If ever a picture book deserved a better cover it is this one.

It is a simple tale that has much to say about friendship and how we cope when things get a bit murky.

Three eels start on a journey, they are not racing but you don’t want to get left behind. They enter deeper, darker waters and confide in each other until there is nothing more to say, so they start to hum. When they emerge from the murk they keep humming.

Beautifully simplistic hand written text with illustrations that are simple yet powerful. Three wriggly lines for the eels and shades of blue for the water.

I loved it and you will too.

Those interested contact http://shop.index.org.nz/product/some-eels

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

The Longest Breakfast by Jenny Bornholdt, Illus. Sarah Wilkins.

August 28, 2017 Comments off

long breakfastThe Longest Breakfast by Jenny Bornholdt, Illus. Sarah Wilkins. Pub. gecko press, 2017.

More often than not the written text plays second fiddle to the illustrations but not in this picture book where they are of equal importance. Try to understand this book while blocking out the written text. No way. This is a test I do with all picture books.

It is a busy and confusing morning in Malcolm’s household. He is the father and responsible for breakfast. But baby says ‘toot”. It could mean anything, baby knows and you the reader can work it out with the visual clues in the illustrations.

All the other children plus the mother and a couple of friends from next door want something different for breakfast, father is in controlled turmoil. Then baby says “toot and buzzzzzz” It’s a clue, see if you can work it out.

The illustrations are big bright water colours,  and there is much in them that reflects family life in the household plus holding visual clues. I love the father, he is cool.

Illustrations and written text working in harmony like a family.

Wolfy by Gregoire Solotareff. translated by Daniel Hahn.

August 25, 2017 Comments off

wolfyWolfy by Gregoire Solotareff. translated by Daniel Hahn. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

A multi level picture book by an Egyptian author who lives in France. It is about friendship but also delves into deeper concepts such as Can the lion lay down with the lamb?

Wolfy is a wolf who has never seen a rabbit and Tom is a rabbit who has never seen a wolf. The two meet and become friends oblivious of the traditional roles that they have in each others lives. They bury an old wolf and talk about wolves eating rabbits and rabbits having fears about wolves. But become friends anyway as wolf has never tasted rabbit and rabbit isn’t scared of wolf.

The friendship is blissful until they play a game of Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? read it and find out what happens.

Great read-a loud for juniors and something for older readers to muse over.

Illustrations feature bold primary colours with the wolf in black and the rabbit in blue. A great addition to the school library and in the home.

Big Box Little Box by Caryl Hart and Edward Underwood.

August 22, 2017 Comments off

big boxBig Box Little Box by Caryl Hart and Edward Underwood. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

It is a pleasure to read a picture book with rhyming text where the rhyme is not forced or uses a made up word. The text flows from one box to another making it perfect for reading aloud to juniors.

Not only that it emphasises shapes, colours and uses that the box has besides the ones that the cat and later the mouse put them to.

” Brown box, Green Box, Yellow box ,black box, blue box, red box. Hey That’s not a bed box.”

The cat is inside most of the boxes with  a knowing look, until the mouse. Then a chase and a surprise ending. Read it and find out what it is.

Superbly paced, well written and set out, with the illustrations just perfect.

Just lovely

Categories: Picture book Tags: , ,

Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival.

August 17, 2017 Comments off

perfectly normanPerfectly Norman by Tom Percival. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

This superb picture book has a touch of genius about it as it helps children who are different understand that they should not be embarrassed or ashamed about their difference and tells them they are not alone.

Norman is,in his parents eyes, perfectly normal, but you the reader know this is not true by the illustrations. Norman and his kite are in colour and everything else is in black and white.

Then the imaginative Norman grows a pair of multi coloured wings and celebrates with a flight with the birds. Norman worries how his parents will react, so wears a warm coat which he never takes off. This makes his life miserable until he realises that the wings are not the problem but wearing the coat is.

He sheds the coat and other children with the same difference shed theirs and we have a wonderful celebration of colour as winged happy children take to the air.

Perfectly Norman or is that normal. Great to read aloud to juniors.

The illustrations are superb. The contrast of black and white with colour enhances the theme of difference and the isolation that people with difference sometimes feel. I repeat, a touch of genius.

So Special by David Hill, Illus. Nikki Slade Robinson

August 6, 2017 Comments off

so specialSo Special by David Hill, Illus. Nikki Slade Robinson. Pub. Duck Creek Press, 2017.

Picture books can be used to highlight topics, feelings and personal situations so that the reader can see that they are not alone. The pen is still mightier than the sword although when applied to this book, there is something ironic about that statement as the topic is the families of the armed forces who are serving overseas and the problems they have.

Oscar and his sister Laila miss their dad who is with the army overseas. Laila sucks her thumb and Oscar sometimes gets angry when other kids ask about the whereabouts of his father. Mother copes as well as she can and supports her children with skill and attention.

But they still miss their dad. Both children learn to live with the fact that their dad is special and is serving his country oversea.

Nikkii Slade Robinson’s illustrations are perceptive, large and colourful. They show the joy and the sadness. The use of the family dog is powerful and the mother is always in control. The aircraft, tank and battleship shadows throughout the book remind readers of who we are talking about.

David Hill’s text is simple, straight to the point and sensitive. Also available in Maori language under the title He Tino Taonga.

This picture book fulfills a need in a most positive way.