Charlie and his amazing tales by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnaird

October 6, 2017 Comments off

CharlieCharlie and his amazing tales by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnaird. Pub. Oratia Books, 2017.

Charlie is a dog in need of a new owner and has to sell himself. A young impressionable boy passes by sees the $10.00 sale price and is interested. Charlie sees his chance and rips off a series of amazing stories that only a shaggy dog could tell.

Charlie talks of being a spy, of saving people from flood and fire, of surviving hungry crocodiles and more. He is especially keen to pass himself off as toilet trained, neat and tidy, and having a good imagination.

The boy is sold but is it all true? Check out the ending to see if the boy parts with his $10.00.

Excellent fun from these two experienced writers and illustrators. The rhyming text is not forced and makes for easy reading aloud and the illustrations boost Charlie’s tall tales.. The dog sitting on the loo will bring a few laughs.

A fun publication for the school library and for parents to read to their children at home.

Categories: Humorous Stories Tags: ,

What Makes me a Me? by Ben Faulks & David Tazzyman.

October 4, 2017 Comments off

what makes me meWhat Makes me a Me? by Ben Faulks & David Tazzyman. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

This is a picture book about identity. We all wonder who we are and our place in the World but for the little boy in this book,its a puzzle.

Is he slow like a snail, or like Alfie Wilkes next door who roars like a dinosaur and draws on the wall. Is he like a fast car, a tree or a computer you can turn off and on? Perhaps he is like his dad and mum–son I think your on to something.

Ben Faulks rhyming text tells a good easy to read story and shows the boys willingness  to question everything and David Tazzyman’s illustrations compliment the text perfectly and show the boy’s identity. His woolly hat and John Lennon glasses. Eventually he comes  to the conclusion that what makes me is ME.

Good stuff.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Picture book Tags:

Go Fiji Go. How Fiji won its first Olympic gold medal by David Riley.

October 3, 2017 Comments off

go fijiGo Fiji Go. How Fiji won its first Olympic gold medal by David Riley. Pub. Reading Warrior, 2017.

One of the fairy tale , feelgood stories of the Rio Olympics was the gold medal by the Fijian Sevens rugby team. This is their story and it is inspiring.

Six months before the Olympics Cyclone Winston, one of the most powerful storms seen in the Pacific, smashed Fiji. The damage was astonishing. How could this small island nation get up and win an Olympic medal for the first time?

Much of the credit can go to Englishman Ben Ryan who became the head coach and changed the whole culture of Fijian Sevens teams. He gave them a good diet, he took away their cell phones, he trained them like they had never done before and he gave them discipline.

He didn’t change the natural exuberance of Fijian teams who had won the World championship twice in a row and had the best Sevens player ever in Waisale Serevi. But Serevi had retired and Fiji had a new batch of players.

Each player is profiled and each game at Rio documented. It is a great story with excellent photographs. It will appeal to reluctant readers who like sport.

Rugby League World by David Riley.

October 2, 2017 Comments off

rugby league worldRugby League World by David Riley. Pub. Reading Warrior, 2017.

This 97 page easy to read book on Rugby league is full of interesting facts and figures about the history of the game plus all the big personalities from this part of the World including NZ, Australia, Papua new Guinea, Niue, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Tokelau, Fiji, Maori players and includes the women’s league and the wheelchair game.

It is full of excellent photographs and statistics and with the Rugby league World Cup coming up it would be an excellent acquisition for league fans and the school library.

Did you know that league was invented in Northern England in 1895 so that the players could be paid. They reduced the teams to 13 a side. took out lineouts and replaced rucks and mauls with play the ball.

New Zealand toured UK with a league team full of ex All Blacks in 1907 who felt that players should be paid considering the money raised by huge crowds at the games. The English insisted on calling them the All Blacks and it wasn’t until 1938 that they became the Kiwis.

NRL and state of Origin football is also presented and each country has a top 13 of all time named plus legends of the game. See if you know the answers to these questions – who is the only player to have won World cup medals in both rugby League and rugby Union? What nationality is Manu Vatuvei? Who was the first captain of the Warriors? What new trophy will this years World league Cup be played for? The answers are in the book.

It is an impressive volume with easy text and is sure to keep sport minded, reluctant reader boys interested. Don’t miss this one.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags:

I Hate Everyone but You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin.

September 30, 2017 Comments off

I hate everyoneI Hate Everyone but You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin. pub. Allen&Unwin, 2017.

I guess this is the sort of novel that had to happen. It is written in texts and emails between two girlfriends, Gen and Ava, who text each other at all times of the day and before during and after every event in their lives. It’s the modern relationship.

Gen and Ava were friends at High School in California but now Ava has gone to film school in Boston and Gen has stayed home and goes to a journalism school. I liked and would like to know both of them.

Ava fantasizes about accepting an Oscar and thanking her parents after falling on the steps to the podium. Gen wants to write things that change the world and walk into rooms full of people who fear her. Ava is flirting with bisexuality but Gen thinks she is skating on thin ice. Gen believes men’s infrastructure is designed for failure. Each has many relationships to test their beliefs. The dialogue between them is sharp, witty, perceptive, honest with a fair dose of crying for help.

The action takes place over the first semester of College and it tests their friendship to the limit. Will it survive? In between times there is first sex both hetero and gay and the full gambit of emotions are exposed. Whats more it is enormously funny.

Some will say this novel is for teenage and young adult girls and women, but a guy would be a fool not to tune into all this feminist  wisdom. I loved it.

The authors are close friends as you will imagine and their dialogue is heart felt and real albeit at times tongue in cheek. They started comedy on the YouTube channel Just between us and as far as I am concerned they can write for as long as they want.

Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson.

September 27, 2017 Comments off

landscape invisibleLandscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson. Pub. Candlewick press, imprint Walker Books, 2017.

Life reflects art and art reflects life. That is one of the messages of this extraordinary novel that is written and structured like a catalogue of paintings.

It is set in a world that has been overtaken by an alien culture called Vuvv. They came to this world and convinced humans that their technology and way of life would solve all our problems. They clinically took over using the tools and techniques of capitalism while they themselves lived in the sky. Now human culture and commerce have been destroyed by Vuvv culture, millions have gone broke and struggle from day to day to exist. The changes are not unlike those caused by the computer revolution and economic shifts in today’s world.

Adam is 17 years old and his parents have separated, gone broke, looking for work and barely existing. Adam is an artist he paints the world he sees in spite of suffering from a gastronomic disease that threatens to overwhelm him. It is said that an artist does his best work when he suffers and this applies to Adam.

To make money to exist Adam and his girlfriend Chloe, with the heart shaped face and gorgeous body, make money by acting out their romance for the benefit of Vuvv viewers who love human romance and 50,s doo wop songs such as Take good care of my baby, and One eyed one horned flying purple people eater, because it is nothing like Vuvv life. When the romance goes pear shaped they are in trouble.

I am not going to tell you any more you can find out for yourself but it is just brilliant. I will tell you that when the relationship between Adam and Chloe falls apart the Vuvv are nonplused -“human love lasts until the end of time. If it does not, then it is not love”.

Wow this novel will blow your mind. For senior high school and young adults but here’s a warning. Once you start this novel you won’t put it down. Go get it.

 

Pele. The Autobiography.

September 23, 2017 Comments off

pele.jpgPele. The Autobiography. Pub. Pocket books, 2007.

No other footballer has commanded the respect and adulation that Pele has yet he is the most humble of characters and enjoyed an almost injury free career. He played at four World Cups, scored 1283 goals and played for Santos, Brazil and New York Cosmos.

He worked for player rights in Brazil, married twice and sired seven children. He was World Ambassador for the United Nations, took the “beautiful game” (a phrase he coined) to America and the man who had Mohammed Ali say when they met “two legends together”.

How did he do all that from the slums of Bauru in Central west Brazil? Well read it and find out, it is riveting.

He was a deeply religious man but erroneously attributed his skills to god at a time when everything a young man wanted to do was considered a sin. It was practice, dedication and a strong body that made him a good footballer. He was only 5ft 9 inches tall but astonishingly good in the air. He mastered the art of keeping the ball under control close to his body and was very fast.

About his footballing ability he said this “people assume that because I scored so many goals that I was an out and out striker. But  I never was. I was an attacking mid fielder, a deep lying centre forward”. He also has some advice about the media -“before a game never read the newspaper or listen to the radio and TV”

An entertaining read that is his own story. When he met and played against George Best as the king of football, Best said to him “what kind of king are you? you don’t smoke or drink”. Well Pele is still alive. I saw him play once and he scored for Santos against Fulham at Craven Cottage but they lost 2-1. The great Bobby Moore also played.