Food Atlas by Guilia Malerba, illus Febe Sillani.

October 4, 2018 Comments off

food atlasFood Atlas by Guilia Malerba, illus Febe Sillani. Pub.Oratia Books, 2018.

This big , big book about the food and delicacies of the World was released yesterday and you won’t get a better book about this subject anywhere. Every school library should have this and as a book for the home it is also priceless.

Let me tell you some of the things that are in it. New Zealand gets a good mention with Toheroas, Manuka honey and pineapple lumps featuring.

Australia has the Pie Floater? and a word about the macadamia nut which the Aborigines have used for ever because it is the oiliest nut in the World.

In Madagascar they use the Zebu for meat and milk and in South Africa the biltong and Bobotie are mentioned and you can find out what a Kalahari Red is.

It was an Ethiopian shepherd that discovered coffee when he found his lazy goats were energised after eating coffee beans.

The Russians help keep warm by drinking black tea while holding a sugar cube in their mouths.

The Incas were the first to cultivate potatoes and  Quinoa which is considered the food of choice for astronauts by NASA.

Every culture is covered, it is just fascinating.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags:

The Quest Series Pt1. How to set the World on Fire by T.K. Riggins.

October 2, 2018 Comments off

world on fireThe Quest Series Pt1. How to set the World on Fire by T.K. Riggins. Pub. Franchise Publishing Vancouver, 2017.

After reading literally hundreds of fantasy novels it is refreshing to read a really good one. For fantasy to be successful with me it must have  a number of things -firstly mythical dragon like creature or a unicorn. This novel has both. A half lion half dragon beast called a langara which is the guardian of the Forest of Morais and two unicorns one white one black.

Secondly it must have magic. There must be magicians who can do wonderous things, and thirdly there has to be bad things and bad people that need to be overcome to return a troubled land or society to peace and harmony.

This novel has them all, and there is the sage mirror. Find out what it is.

Kase wants to be a warrior and him and his elder sister Cali, who is a scholar, go to a school called the Academy. The Academy caters for warriors, scholars and wizards but never the twain shall meet until now.

Every year the Academy has the Quest for older students before they leave school and teams of all scholars, all warriors, all wizards are the norm. This year is different. Kase Cali, Lena and Talen are not in their final year, not all from one class and they form a team called Liberati to contest the Q. Their first task is to bring hot lava back in it’s natural condition without it solidifying. Tough stuff.

How will they do against older teams? What about school bad boy Niveous? What about the unicorns and the langara? I am not going to tell you any more, you will have to read it yourself. And it is very good.

Great introduction to fantasy for kids from 8-15 years. Good values too. Friendship, families, teamwork, leadership and selflessness are themes. Lots of science and problem solving.

The second book in the series Money Jane is already out.

Scared to Death by Anthony Horowitz

September 28, 2018 Comments off

scared to deathScared to Death by Anthony Horowitz Pub. Walker books, 2018.

This book came to me on a day in which I received 14 other books to read. I checked them all out but there was no doubt that this was the one I would read first and I was not disappointed.

The cover boasts “read this at your peril” and it was not wrong. Ten stunning short stories, eleven really if you read the Note from the Chairman of Walker Books at the end. Each of the stories pushes boundaries and the endings of all of them are particularly satisfying.

Bet your life pushes the TV quiz show to deadly heights. You Have Arrived is what you wish would happen to those thugs out there. The Cobra challenges the cynic in the lovely city of Marrakech. Robo Nanny takes child care to a new level. My Bloody French Exchange brings the vampire into reckoning.

If you want to know about any of the other five you will have to read it yourself but Power was most satisfying and the J Train awoke my new York experience.

Each story is wonderfully constructed and told. Every story will surprise you. Anthony Horowitz is a master story teller.

Short stories evoke the imagination and will attract the most reluctant of readers. One of the best collections I have read and apart from Juniors they are for all reading levels.

The Sea Dreamer by Terry Fitzgibbon.

September 26, 2018 Comments off

sea dreamerThe Sea Dreamer by Terry Fitzgibbon. Pub. New Holland, 2018.

When Sam goes to sleep he dreams and floats away on his toy tugboat Wakato accompanied by Pania of the reef. he goes on a journey of discovery and in the process learns about the sea and all the animals who live in it and around it.

There is a strong conservation element about his discoveries which include sea life getting tangled in drastic plastic pollution. He dreams of towing the plastic back to shore for recycling.

Sam learns that the sea is our main source of oxygen and that the power of the oceans waves can help create energy for when oil supplies run out.

he learns about the giant squid, about whales about the albatross and the North and South poles. he wakes with the message that we need to look after the sea and keep it healthy.

Good message and great colourful illustrations. My favourite was Sam towing the mother polar bear and her cub to safety on a flimsy ice floe.

Well worth purchasing for the home or school library.

Jacob’s Toys. The BIG Backyard Adventure by Claudia Woods.

September 22, 2018 Comments off

jacobs toysJacob’s Toys. The BIG Backyard Adventure by Claudia Woods. Pub. Harbour Publishing House, 2018.

This picture book for juniors was a real surprise with beautifully constructed rhyming text and illustrations that bring out the nature of the characters and the drama they are going through.

Jacob decides that he is BIG now and doesn’t need his soft toys anymore but is he really ready to discard them and what about the toys themselves?

Mum puts them in the washing machine, onto the line, hit by a storm, chased by a cat, washed down a drain, blown into the air and then guess where?

The repeated text containing the toys names makes for great reading aloud. Children can join in too.

The illustrations  are mixed media eg drawing, painting, natural materials, clay, felt etc They are made on large boards and layered with all the items and then photographed. Some of the photos are taken from different angles to create a 3D effect. They cover a whole page sometimes more and really compliment the text beautifully and add a dimension in themselves. At the end is a big surprise as the illustrations contain more than you think.

Check this beauty out.

Circus Quest Bk1: The Playbill by Maureen Crisp, illus. Irina Burtseva.

September 21, 2018 Comments off

circus quest 1Circus Quest Bk1: The Playbill by Maureen Crisp, illus. Irina Burtseva. Pub. Marmac Media, 2018.

This is the first of 10 books from the Circus Quest series for junior and newly confident readers. Each novel has a clue to solve which leads to the next one.

The Circus Charles will finish if they don’t complete a challenge and if they do complete the challenge they will join the top circus companies at the Circonvention.

Budding trapeze artist Skye and her brother Kestrel who is a clown are responsible for solving a series of clues that will give the circus a chance of survival. On top of that their mother is missing, their father is behaving mysteriously, and a series of accidents

suggests there is a traitor in their midst.

Firstly they have to solve the problem of where the clues are. See if they do.

Easy to read with big font, short chapters and only about 80 pages per book. A great way to get  youngsters into reading.

 

circus quest 2Circus Quest Bk2: Magician’s Moustache.

The first venue of the Circus Charles tour is at the island town of Papenton,  which is famous for it’s hundreds of clocks.

Skye and Kestrel after finding the key to the clues of the challenge to save the circus, deduce that the next clue is in a clock. But which one?

Already the traitor has sabotaged a rope to the big top and other accidents are about to happen. Who is masterminding these acts? There are some shifty characters involved.

Skye deduces the rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock is a clue and if you know the rhyme you the reader are half way there. Skye shows her trapeze skills to find the next clue which is a written code. I solved it but can you?

Another good thing about the series is that the characters are drawn at the front by illustrator Irina Burtseva who captures the characters, the circus and the action very well in black and white pen drawings.

A series to keep an eye on.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Mystery Tags:

Fire Stallion by Stacy Gregg.

September 18, 2018 Comments off

fire stallionFire Stallion by Stacy Gregg. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

This is the best Stacy Gregg book about girls and horses yet. It has everything – action, two horses, history in a wonderful place, a film set, romance, transmogrification and the line “she swept into the stable like she was walking onto a yacht”. You can’t beat that Carly Simon.

Set in Iceland where the horses are pure bred and been untainted for more than 1000 years. No other horses are allowed in Iceland and if an Icelandic horse leaves the county it can’t get back in again.

Brunhilda is an Icelandic legendary warrior Queen and 14 year old Hilly and her mother are on a Hollywood film set in Iceland making a film of her life. A Hollywood starlet named Jamisen has the part of Brunhilda and Hilly is her stunt double doing all the horse riding scenes. Jamisen is true brat pack and her male lead man is a Justin Bieber double named Anders Mortenson. Romance looms and there is a wedding but between whom?

Hilly is advised by a cultural adviser in Norse affairs named Gudrun who has the power to send Hilly back in time into the body of the real Brunhilda.

The action is stunning and the horse talk endless. Strong girls confront the male opinion of “a man should be in control, it’s the natural order of things”

A wonderful story, spellbinding in parts which takes fans of Stacy Gregg forward in age a little into the puberty thing. Intermediate and junior high school kids will love it and I suspect younger girl readers will prise it out of your hands given a chance. Boys should give it a crack too the action is brilliant