Dino Diggers. Digger Disaster by Rose Impey, illus. Chris Chatterton.

May 31, 2017 Comments off

digger disasterDino Diggers. Digger Disaster by Rose Impey, illus. Chris Chatterton. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

Terri, Tyrone, Ricky, Bruno and Stacey are the best diggers in Dino-town but things do not always go right.

They are building a car factory for a rather grumpy Mr Ali O’Saurus who can’t wait till the next Ice Age to get the foundations laid. Haste makes for error and a water pipe is burst. Calamity? Not for the Dino Diggers they sort it out fast and the job is well done.

Simple story but with a strong message of working hard, sorting out your problems and doing the best you can.

The illustrations are cool. Dinosaurs driving bulldozers, trucks and diggers with a smile on their faces. Lots of boy appeal for reluctant readers and as part of a series leads the reader to further books about the same characters.

In the back is a kit set to make up a Dino Digger and reference to a web page to help the reader with the construction. A practical picture book for early primary readers.

The Big Bad Mood by Tom Jamieson, illus. Olga Demidova.

May 31, 2017 Comments off

bad moodThe Big Bad Mood by Tom Jamieson, illus. Olga Demidova. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

If you could see a big bad mood, what would it look like? Well George is going to find out on a day when nothing is going right for him and he is in a right mood.

Mum says “there is a big mood hanging around you today George” so George goes looking for it and it makes him badder and moodier that ever. Then he finds the Mood and it takes him on  on a mischievous bender. They make  a big bad mood sandwich with pickles, cheese, ham, mustard and a sprinkle of shaved caterpillar legs.

It’s fun at first especially when they fill the swimming pool with jelly and custard but George tires of it because it is noisy and makes his friends unhappy. So the Big Bad Mood stomps off. But will George become a better person for his experiences and learn to say sorry?

Read it and find out for yourself.

Excellent colourful illustrations by Olga Demidova. The Bid bad Mood is perfect and the World Famous Big Bad Mood Sandwich is a delight and almost edible for some.

Good positive message that tantrums and moods are not for ever and there is a price to pay. great read-a-loud for pre- school and early primary children and good to have in the home for children to linger over.

 

My Life as A Hashtag by Gabrielle Williams

May 28, 2017 Comments off

hashtagMy Life as A Hashtag by Gabrielle Williams. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2017.

I regard this novel as one of the most important novels for teens and young adults that I have read. Why?  Because it deals with the whole way that teenagers and the young communicate using social media and the serious problems that can occur when things go wrong.

Social media can be a vicious forum where people can say what they like and the word or concept “friend” is a misnomer like no other.

MC is an ordinary girl with good friends who go to school, party and text and communicate with each other all day every day. It is the social norm.

Misunderstandings over a boy between MC and her friend Anouk cause a ruckus on Tumblr that goes viral and shakes everyone concerned to the core. And the boy wasn’t worth it. After MC has been left out of a party at Anouk’s she uses an App that uses any face to deliver a message. MC picks celebrities including Justin Bieber and the Queen with a corgi on her lap, to humiliate Anouk, and it goes viral.

MC doesn’t realise that what she has done is bullying and her life falls apart. Can she recover and sets things right? Read this amazing story and find out.

Lots of amusing girl talk, some of it bitchy, and some laugh out loud moments. Dialogue between characters is particularly strong and there is a total scoundrel of a boy character.

The message from Gabrielle Williams is loud and clear. Cyber bullying is not ok. You cannot go back once you press that enter button. What you write is always there and can be very damaging to everyone.

It ends positively fortunately. There is a better way, it is just matter of finding it.

Grandad’s Guitar by Janine McVeagh. illus. Fifi Colston.

May 24, 2017 Comments off

grandads guitarGrandad’s Guitar by Janine McVeagh. illus. Fifi Colston. Pub. Makaro Press, 2017.

When Kahu is given a worn and scratched old guitar for his birthday by his Nana, he is not pleased. “why can’t I have a new one?“.

So Nana tells him the history of the guitar that was owned by his grandfather, has been around the world, entertained people from many cultures and was a strong binding factor in the relationship between his grandparents.

As Nana tells this story to Kahu he is learning to play the guitar and has three chords mastered by the end of the story.

It is probably set in the 1970’s when many New Zealanders took off for their OE on board an Italian passenger liner. I did and this picture book has a strong nostalgia about it for me and  I suspect many other grandparents out there. This is their story too.

Grandfather played the guitar all over Europe, through the Middle East to India. It nearly got swept away but now Kahu has it. He is proud.

Fifi Colston’s excellent illustrations show the hippy culture of the time, the combi van, the relationship between the grandparents and the various cultures that they met in their travels.

All in all a classy publication. It is released today at $25.00 a copy. Well worth it.

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See You When I see You by Rose Lagercrantz, Illus. Eva Eriksson.

May 23, 2017 Comments off

see you whenSee You When I see You by Rose Lagercrantz, Illus. Eva Eriksson. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

This is the fifth book in this series about Dani and her best friend Ella. They now live apart as Ella has gone to another town but have half a locket each which they hang around their necks to cement their friendship.

Dani has been sad as her mother was killed in a car crash and her father has been in hospital but is now back with a new girlfriend Sadie.

In this two part story Dani goes to the zoo with her class, gets separated but meets Ella also at the zoo with her class. The two celebrate being together.

The second part has Sadie coming to dinner. Dani had last seen Sadie when they rode Iceland ponies with her friend Ella. Things did not go well and Dani is upset that her father appears to have forgotten her mother.

Beautifully written  with simple words and short sentences for the newly confident reader of 5-7 years. The power of these stories is that they introduce grown up circumstances with child experiences.

Superbly illustrated by Eva Eriksson, my favourite is a drawing of a boy at the zoo walking around like a gorilla. A lovely book.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

May 21, 2017 Comments off

chemical heartsOur Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland. Pub. Hot Key Books, 2016.

There is a Japanese art form called Kintsukuroi in which you take a bowl or plate or a pot break it into pieces and stick it back together again so that it becomes more beautiful for having been broken.

This really is a metaphor for the relationship that develops between Henry Page who narrates the novel and Grace Town a beautiful, mysterious, damaged and thoroughly weird girl. Henry wonders what it will be like to fall in love and when he first sees Grace he knows he is drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

Henry struggles to get anything going with Grace, they text each other, work together on the school newspaper but one day she is hot the next cold. Then he finds out about a deep sadness that Grace is carrying around. Henry wants to care for Grace and for her to recognise that they are an item but Grace slips into the abyss and forgets the world exists. Grace tells Henry that “stories with happy endings are stories that haven’t finished yet”.

Henry finds out that this is true. The novel also asks the question do men feel romance?. Do they crush on girls and go through the same heartbreak as girls do over boys?

Brilliantly written in a style that draws on film, book and music trivia with bold dialogue and great depth on what it is like to be growing up and seeking love. I read this in two sittings I couldn’t put it down. Thank you Linley for recommending it to me.

For teenagers and young adults who like the novels of John Green and grew up with Harry Potter, The Twilight series and the music of the Strokes and the Pixies.

Don’t miss this one you will kick yourself if you do.

Middle School. I Funny. School of laughs by James Patterson, illus. Chris Grabenstein.

May 16, 2017 Comments off

school laughMiddle School. I Funny. School of laughs by James Patterson, illus. Chris Grabenstein. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2017.

I have reviewed a number of books by these two authors and they always have a funny way to address issues that concern children such as bullying and friendship which always have a positive ending.

The novels are easy to read, appeal to the reluctant reader of primary and intermediate age and are expertly illustrated.

In this novel wheelchair bound comedian Jamie has finished with his TV show and returned to school with his friends Gilda, Joey and Pierce. Once again they have to contend with bullies Stevie and Lars but this time the bullies have an ally in the new Headmaster, Coach Ball.

Coach Ball has a flattop haircut and a closet full of tracksuits and has a desire to close the school library and turn it into a wrestling arena. The new librarian Ms Denning has a month to prove that more than 50% of students are using the library or the die is cast.

Jamie and his friends set out to help, but how come Coach Ball drives a $140,000 Masaerati? Read it and find out.

 

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