Archive for the ‘Picture book’ Category

Ernest Rutherford. Just an Ordinary Boy by Maria Gill, Illus. Alistair Hughes. Pub. Upstart Press, 2023

February 2, 2023 Comments off

An easy to read picture book on the boyhood life of arguably New Zealand’s finest scientist Ernest Rutherford.

Aimed at primary and intermediate age children the picture book part of this publication looks at an ordinary boy growing up in small town New Zealand in a family of 14 children.

Young Ernest played rugby was fascinated by lightening and the world of science and failed early exams as he sought scholarships for higher learning. He persisted and was ultimately successful and became one of the mist revered scientists alongside the likes of Einstein, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and Marie Curie.

He was Knighted, appears on the NZ$100 note and has a statue in Shanghai showing him holding two parts of an atom apart in recognition of his achievement of being the first man to split the atom.

In the back is a time line of his achievements, his experiments with radiation and a glossary of scientific terms..

Alastair Hughes illustrations paint a picture of a bygone era in which young Ernest grew up and show the wonder he had for science..

Excellent cover.Maria Gill on the money as usual.

Farewell Anahera by Vanessa Hatley-Owen. Illustrated by Scott Irvine. Translated by Kanapu Rangitauira. Pub. Duck Creek Press 2023.

January 23, 2023 Comments off


What happens when you Die? is a question often asked by children. This explanation from the world of Maori culture is sensitively told and illustrated in this picture book for everybody.

Anahera has died and as she lies on the marae she wakes from a deep sleep but feels like” she was there, but not there at the same time”. She sees her whanau and friends celebrating her life and she remembers “all the things she had done and the moments she shared”.

After three days she is away skimming over the land to Te Rerenga waiua or Cape Reinga. This is a place of spirit and believed to be the place where the Wairua or spirit returns to after death.

Beautifully illustrated by Scott Irvine who translates the spirit of Anahera and her journey beautifully into eerie images.

The text is in both English and Maori. Very deep and reflective of life and death.

Mischievous Milly by Nadia Lim, illus. Fifi Colston. Pub. Scholastic 2022.

December 8, 2022 Comments off

A delightful picture book about an orphan baby goat that comes to stay on Nadia Lim’s South Island farm and causes all sorts of fun and mischief.

Based on a true story by this famous TV chef there is also a recipe for strawberry jellies which would make a great dessert for Xmas dinner.

Fifi Colston’s illustrations enhance the fun and mischief of Milly’s antics and of life on the farm with a stroppy rooster and a pair of lovely lambs who become Milly’s friends.

There are also real life pictures of Milly around the farm and facts about goats and growing strawberries. Its a very classy package that would be a treat in any home with young children

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Who Took the toilet Paper? by Amy Harrop, illus. Jenny Cooper. Pub. Scholastic, 2022

December 2, 2022 Comments off

If you have ever been asked the question Does a bear shit in the woods? then the answer to it is in this delightful picture book that will have children laughing and many adults too.

Papa bear is caught on a very small toilet having done the goods but no paper to finish the job. Whose responsibility is it for not replacing the toilet roll? very awkward indeed.

An investigation is carried out and the culprit is at hand. Who is it do you think? read it and find out.

Amy Harrop’s rhyming text tells a good yarn but it is Jenny Coopers illustrations that steal the show. The bewildered looks on Papa bears face and the response of the other animals, will have you in stitches.

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There Are No Moa e hoa by Melinda Szymanik. Illus. Isobel Te Aho-White. Pub. Scholastic, 2022.

December 2, 2022 Comments off

One of the things I wish was still around in New Zealand is the Moa. It must have been an impressive bird. But hey in literature we can bring it back and that is what this picture book does.

That dynamic duo Batkiwi answer a call from the forest that suggests something weird has returned. tuatara is convinced of it and feels afraid that it will eat him. Batkiwi are not sure about it and wonder if tuatara has been eating mushrooms but he assures them not. He knows what he has seen.

The moon is big and shining could tuatara be seeing things. Read it and find out.

Excellent illustrations of New Zealand forest life with the ghostly moa memorable.

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Meanwhile Back on Earth by Oliver Jeffers. Pub. HarperCollins 2022.

November 26, 2022 Comments off

This spectacularly illustrated picture book about the history of the World and human’s place in the Universe,

is one of the best picture books of the year.

Sub titled Finding our Place Through Time and Space and A Cosmic View on conflict this picture book sums up the smallness and insignificance of humans in the Universe.

A father takes his children on a car ride through space traveling at the average driving speed of 37 mph. The kids as always fight in the back just as humans have fought with each other through their whole time of existence on this planet.

Theoretically if they drove to the Moon it would take a year to get there, withour a toilet stop. To get to Saturn it would take 2,400 years, to Mars 170 years. At the edge of the solar System the next stop is Alpha Centauri just a 77 million year drive away

At the attainment of reaching the planets Jeffers takes us back to Earth to see what humans were doing at the time and you have guessed it they were fighting each other. Have we changed at all? Make up your own mind but it looks grim to me.

A picture book for everyone which simplifies our place in the Universe albeit in a very downbeat fashion. Kids will always fight in the backseat of a car and humans will always fight over territory but as Neil Armstrong said when he returned from the Moon “No matter where you travel. it’s always nice to get home?

Hare & Kunekune’s Moonlight Mission by Laura Shallcrass. Pub. Beatnik Publishing, 2022.

November 25, 2022 Comments off

A lovely picture book with superb illustrations and a message for us all in a World that has gone heartless.

Hare and Kunekune are friends and on the opening two page spread they are sleeping together beneath a fruit tree. They are so close that their bodies have merged in contentment.

Fruit is going missing at night and they seek advice from owl and other animals as to who is taking it.

What they discover is a wider problem that can only be solved by community action. And it is. read this superb picture book and find out what is going on.

From the author of award winning Hare & Ruru the portraits of the animals will leave you breathless with awe especially hare and kunekune but owl is pretty special too.

In hard cover with an illustration that says pick me up. Good read a-loud and good values that the world needs right now..

Tide’s Out. Tai Timu by Frances Plumpton. Illus. Stephanie Thatcher. Maori translation Na Darryn Joseph. Pub. Mary Egan Publishing, 2022

November 25, 2022 Comments off

Every child will study the seashore some time at school and this is a very good one for juniors and pre school children.

Set at Huia beach on the Manukau harbour, the water colour illustrations are superb and give life to the beach and the lifeforms that children can easily find if they search.

Narrated as a counting book and a bilingual English and Maori picture book this publication serves more than one function.

Each illustration is a two page spread with the harbour and hills in the background and the children and life forms easy to identify. Crabs, seaweed, scallop shells, driftwood sea anemones etc.

In the back are other creatures that can be found.

An excellent resource for school libraries and for home reading.

Perfect Presents by Anke Kuhl. Pub. Gecko Press, 2022

October 19, 2022 Comments off

This is a perfect hardback small sized picture book for juniors and pre school children and will also satisfy adult readers. It is sure to start off discussion.

A monstrous looking creature in a singlet with a watch on his left hand sits in a chair by the door waiting. The door bell rings and it is a thin yellow and black lizard with a travel trolley, who wishes him the best for today.

The creature is celebrating his birthday and after devouring three presents with relish then reaches out for the lizard. What is going to happen? read it for yourself. Very dramatic with a great ending.

The illustrations in crayon are very effective and the whole package will have the child asking for more. Another superb publication from gecko who really know what they are doing. Perfect!

Sparrow FART by Samantha Laugesen, illus. Scott Tulloch. Pub. Lighthouse, November 2022.

October 18, 2022 Comments off

Do sparrows fart at the crack of dawn, if you will excuse the pun? If they do I have never heard one. What does a sparrow fart sound like? Well Tom’s grandma assures him that they do.

Tom is too energised to go to bed so he asks owl if he has heard a sparrow fart and what noise does he make when he wakes up? Pigeon doesn’t know nor does rooster, chicken or turkey. Sparrow isn’t having a bar of it either. Go back to sleep they yell.

Guess what happens next? but is it at the crack of dawn?

Lots of fun in this picture book. The illustrations are a treat especially the images of the birds.

A great gift for Xmas and read aloud for pre schoolers and juniors.

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