Archive for the ‘Picture book’ Category

Ming’s Iceberg by Kiri Lightfoot & Kimberly Andrews. Pub. Scholastic, 2021

October 19, 2021 Comments off

“Inside this egg is a brave explorer” are the opening lines of this enchanting story of a penguin who wants know what happens where the Sky touches the sea. Don’t we all but not all of us have the nerve to try and find out.

Ming hatches from her egg and looks out to sea and wonders what is out there. her parents know she will be adventurous from the start.

While walking on the ice with her father Ming is thrown into the sea, climbs aboard and iceberg and drifts north. beneath her the iceberg slowly melts. She is in trouble, how is she going to return to her family? Read it and find out.

A hint of environmental climate change in this story of the great white south and the animal life that lives there.

The illustrations are superb with the blue whale being fantastic. Albert Ross is my favourite, I wonder what he is? Check it and see.

Good read aloud for juniors and a nice bit of fantasy.

Ka Pai Kiwi Favourites 5 sing-along Stories. Pub Scholastic, 2021.

October 18, 2021 Comments off

A fun book with stories based on popular songs for children written in English first and then in Maori. To be used with reference to a free soundtrack at

All song stories feature NZ animals and birds and Maori Taniwha etc. The lyrics mimic popular songs and are sung by well known artists like Pio Terei, Jay Laga’aia and all are translated by Ngaere Roberts.

The illustrations are also by a number of illustrators like Deborah Hinde and Steve Mahardhika.

The overall feeling is one of fun and enjoyment with illustrations emphasising the fun.

Great for use in the pre school, primary school and the home. Songs are a great way to teach language and tunes like Row row Row your boat and the Hokey Tokey are well known.

A pleasing read and in hard cover so it will withstand wear and tear.

Muki and Pickles by Ross Murray. Pub. Beatnik Publishing 2021

October 2, 2021 Comments off

Muki and Pickles are delightful little bunnies who dress well and have fun together.

Pickles loves cake but can’t chose between zesty lemon cake and black forest gateau. Who can?

Muki likes books and he carries around with him an Insect Guide and later on a Book of Knots.

Together they build a raft to get across a river to acquire the last peach on the tree but they are a bit late.

Things work out ok though as Mrs Raccoon is pleased with them cleaning up the sticks in her yard to build the raft and guess what she gives them? This also brings another cake into the picture.

Interesting style of illustrations with pastel colours of gardens and flowers that seem to smile at you as you read. The characters of Muki and Pickles are delightful.

Great read-a-loud for juniors and pre school children but the sense of humour will give a chuckle to older readers.

Takahe Maths by Julie Ellis, Illus. Isobel Te Aho-White. Pub. OneTree House, 2021

September 13, 2021 Comments off

The fall and rise of the Takahe in New Zealand a conservation story and a unique way to teach simple mathematics especially addition and subtraction.

The takahe is a flightless, plump bird with a magnificent red beak, red spindly legs and blue green plumage. When the Maori came there were approx. 10,000 Takahe in NZ. They were easy to catch and made a nice meal so numbers fell by 1,500.

The arrival of Europeans knocked off a further 1,700 so the Takahe hid in remote tussock covered mountainous valleys. Stoats and weasels ate their eggs and numbers reduced further. From 1800-1900 only 4 were spotted and the opinion was that they were extinct.

In 1948 Geoffrey Orbell found Takahe in the Murchison Mountains above lake Te Anau. Since then they have been the target of conservation and this classy picture book tells that story. Read it and see.

Clever text by Julie Ellis has the reader doing simple maths to plot the progress of the Takahe while perceptive illustrations create a pleasing picture book.

Essential picture book for the classroom and the home for juniors and pre school children. Don’t miss this one

Curly-Cat by Jennifer Somervell. Illus. Zerika Van Jaarsveld. Pub. Landing Lights Press, 2021

September 12, 2021 Comments off

This is a first class picture book about more than a cat with a long straggly tail. It is about bullying, it is about cats and how they communicate with their tails and it is about friends and their importance for self esteem.

Curly-Cat has an unruly tail. He thinks it is different and weird. He tries everything to make it look better including a trip to the Laundrocat to make it curly, remove hairballs and look good. It doesn’t, and a very impressive Meany cat taunts him about it.

Curly -Cat goes to Barber Cat to shorten his tail but that is not the answer and Curly -Cat leaves with tears in his eyes. Then Barber Cat has a brilliant idea that will change Curly-Cats life for ever at the Best Tail in Pawsville Competition. It is great as tails are judged to the music of the Hot Tin Roof band.

The illustrations are superb and in the back information is given about the breed of cat used to make all the characters. There is also an information page on what bullying is and a picture of the cat with the longest tail.

The happy ending is illustrated as the cats play Tails and Ladders while eating Mouse Mallows, choc Fish and wing chips.

One of the picture books of the year. This book will keep youngsters occupied for hours.

Categories: Picture book Tags: , ,

Grandpa versus Swing by Tania Sickling, illus. Lael Chisholm. Pub. Scholastic, 2021.

August 16, 2021 Comments off

Debut picture book for Tania Sickling and winner of the Joy Cowley Award and I am not surprised. As a grandpa I could relate to this story and know the enjoyment that grandchildren get when granddad gets in a pickle.

Grandpa is very competitive eager to show his grandkids that he has still got it. He gets on a swing and brandishes himself about until it is time to get out and go for dinner. He is stuck, the children are greatly amused but how is he going to get out? Can grandma sort the situation out and will his dinner get cold? Check it and find out.

Told in rhyming text which is witty and not forced “He tried to jump out, but the new swing had got him! It danced around him, stuck fast to his bottom”.

Illustrations are superb especially those of the changing features and mood of the grandpa.

Great for reading aloud and for telling stories about relationships between children and their grandpa.

A classy little package.

Pablo by Rascal. Translated by Antony Shugaar. Pub. Gecko Press, 2021

August 10, 2021 Comments off

This excellent picture book is simplicity itself but it covers a whole lot of ground.

Pablo is inside a black egg that he is getting too big for. After a hearty breakfast he begins his way out. First an eye hole, then another. The world is new for him and he doesn’t want to miss a trick.

A beak appears then a leg followed by another leg. Guess what is next? Read this book to find out it is superb.

He does have a dilemma though. What to do with the shell? It could be useful.

Only three colours used. Black, white and yellow. Oh that life was this simple!

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

That’s What Dragons Do by Raymond McGrath. Pub. Scholastic, 2021.

August 10, 2021 Comments off

Dragons like to roar, to fly and to breathe fire but what happens when a dragon meets a firefighter and what happens when a firefighter meets a cupcake fairy and then a cupcake fairy meets a big digger dumper driver?

Yes this is a what if story and is the sort of story to tell when putting a child to bed. In the story it is a little girl that is going to bed and she appears in every action that takes place. It all ends ok with father in full control putting out the light to go to sleep after all the adventure.

The illustrations are the star of this piece of work which also takes you into outer space.

Great read aloud and plenty for a preschooler and early primary students to get their teeth into.

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: , ,