Sports are Fantastic Fun! by Ole Konnecke.

June 30, 2018 Comments off

sportsSports are Fantastic Fun! by Ole Konnecke. Pub. Gecko Press, 2018.

This picture book sized publication is a celebration of different sports. Some of the sports are prominent like football, rugby, tennis, cricket and basketball but some are on the fringes like arm wrestling, skiing, gymnastics, ballet, surfing and golf.

But they are all fantastic with Ole Konnecke giving you the basic facts and drawing out some of the quirky things about the sport. eg  Ice hockey has 4 referees to make sure the players who always fight are playing by the rules.

In downhill ski jumping birds on skis are deemed to be cheating and in basketball height is considered to be an asset so don’t let a giraffe or an elephant play.

All sports are humerously illustrated and the message is it is fun to play sports.

Get off your cell phones and playstations, read this book, and play sport. It is good for you.

For kids of all ages.

Categories: Non Fiction, Picture book Tags:

Selma by Jutta Bauer

June 28, 2018 Comments off

SelmaSelma by Jutta Bauer, pub.Gecko press, 2018

What is it like to be truly content? So content in fact that not even a million dollars would make any difference. Well Selma the sheep has the answer.

Selma gets up at sunrise, eats a little grass, plays with her children, exercises, eats more grass, has a chat with Mrs Miller in the evening, then falls fast asleep.

What a perfect day. There is comfort in routine, at least I have always felt so and Selma thinks so too and I love her to bits. But what if she had more time? read it and find out.

Simplicity itself in both text and illustrations, and so deep. This is for everybody.

It is one of the best books you will ever read.

Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas by Ant Sang and Michael Bennett.

June 27, 2018 Comments off

go go ninjasHelen and the Go-Go Ninjas by Ant Sang and Michael Bennett. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018

There is a filmic quality about this excellent graphic novel for readers as wide as intermediate to young adult. It has a lot of depth to it.

It is set around a city like Auckland and is in two time zones. In the present Helen is a protester of environmental issues while her prig of a boyfriend is a PhD student working on sound vibrations emanating from plants called paramecia. The two have all but reached the end of their relationship.

The boyfriend scientist, named Marion after John Wayne, has found that by stimulating the queen paramecia he can create sound vibrations that eliminate the need for anaesthetics and create endless possibilities for humankind.

Meanwhile Helen has been arrested for hanging a protest banner off the SkyTower and confronts Marion in his laboratory. Suddenly they are invaded by GoGo Ninjas from the year 2355 who mistakenly kidnap Helen because they felt Marion was a girls name and take her back to the future.

In the future Marion’s invention has created social chaos and the Ninjas want him to reverse the process. But  all is not as it seems. Read it and find out what happens. There is even a Stockholm Syndrome romantic relationship

Very clever, very imaginative and full on action. I was amazed how much philosophical , scientific and emotional argument can be communicated in Ant Sang’s brilliant comic illustrations. Combine this with Michael Bennett’s tight script and you have a film classic in the making. There is even a copy of a Planet of the Apes scene involving the SkyTower in the future, just as Charlton Heston finds the Statue of liberty on the Beach.

I read this very quickly in like 30 minutes, then sat down and read it again. You will two. I am off to read it again. If you miss this you will kick yourself. Very cool indeed

Because Everything is Right but Everything is Wrong by Erin Donohue.

June 26, 2018 Comments off

Everything rightBecause Everything is Right but Everything is Wrong by Erin Donohue. Pub. Escalator Press Whitireia, 2017.

The New Zealand Children and Young Adults Book Awards often recognise a novel that is right out of left field and this one is about the very important subject of mental illness, particularly with teens.

Caleb is in year 13 and until now has been a very competent student. Now he wonders if you can be lost and not know it. He suffers from two conditions that dominate his life -the Fear during which he can barely breathe and the Deadness which makes him want to stay in bed and do nothing.

At school his grades fall, he doesn’t do the required work and he wonders how he will function outside of school if he can’t function inside school.

His parents and little brother are at their wits end. “Its like he’s not even there”.

Then Casey appears. A rebellious attractive girl that taunts Caleb and her presence is the mystery of the novel and the catalyst that leads to him having treatment for mental illness.

Clearly written from experience the novel does not demonise mental illness but carefully analyses Caleb’s breakdown. I cannot comment on the treatment given to Caleb, I just don’t know but I was glad none of the drugs that he is treated with are mentioned.

I thought the attitude of Caleb’s parents was superb and that of his friends and little brother commendable.

Short and to the point which makes for compelling reading for teens and young adults.

Woolly Wally by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnard.

June 22, 2018 Comments off

woolly wallyWoolly Wally by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnard. Pub. Oratia Books, 2018.

This picture book  is truly New Zealand, it is a good laugh from start to finish and will appeal to children and adults equally.

We have all met big heads that love themselves and Wally the ram is one of these. He has a magnificent fleece of wool, impressive horns and will father all the lambs born on the farm. That is until the shearers come and everything changes. Read it and find out how.

Dawn McMillan’s rhyming text tells the story and cements the humour but she does get away with an outrageous line “But best of all, when spring comes, all ewes girls will be mums”. My English teacher would have crucified me for that.

Ross Kinnaird’s illustrations are perfect. He makes Wally a pretty boy but not that pretty. Those teeth. Still the female sheep think he is bewetiful. Sorry about that.

Miss this one and you will kick yourself.

Detective Gordon: A Case for Buffy by Ulf Nilsson, Illus Gitte Spee.

June 22, 2018 Comments off

buffyDetective Gordon: A Case for Buffy by Ulf Nilsson, Illus Gitte Spee. Pub. Gecko Press, 2018.

This the fourth and last part of this series about Detective Gordon whose domain is the forest and all the animals in it.

The series is noted for it’s humour and it’s good values, as well as the perceptive illustrations of Gitte Spee.

This final story concentrates on Buffy, who is now Chief of police and deeply sad because she cannot remember what happened to her mother and her 15 brothers and sisters. With a little help from two little police, a toad and a mouse, Detective Gordon jogs Buffy’s memory to help find Buffy’s mum and to see if she is still alive.

The search takes them to Cave Island on which dwells a fox  who Buffy remembers caused her and her mother to flee. Detective Gordon has regrets as it was he who drove the fox from his forest and when you drive your danger away, it becomes someone else’s danger.

The fox is sly, as foxes are, but he does have a code “I never eat anything I have spoken to. You do not converse with your lunch”

Is Buffy’s mum alive? where are her brothers and sisters? How will the fox react?

A great read for the newly independent reader.

The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams illus. Tony Ross.

June 20, 2018 Comments off

worst children3The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams illus. Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

I don’t really need to review this book because kids will already know about it, but I do so for all those kids who would rather make monkey noises than sing xmas carols(I.m one of those), or those who stick all their bogeys together so that they look like a huge green icicle, then eat them.

Yes it is ten more horrible children who throw tantrums, do pranks, are overly bossy, kung fu everything and generally make life intolerable for those around them. Sure it is well over the top but we all know the type.

My favourite is Walter the Wasp a short arsed bully with a sharp nose and a wit that cuts like a knife. He is out to win bully of the year trophy which is a gold statuette depicting a bully giving a smaller child a wedgie.

There is always a seriousness about David Walliam’s books, he hates cheats, bullies, public school twits and the gap between rich and poor.

I love his books and you will too. This man has done more to get reluctant kids to read than anybody since J.K. Rowling. Illustrated brilliantly once again in colour by Tony Ross.