Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite. My Story by Roger Daltrey

March 5, 2019 Comments off

daltryThanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite. My Story by Roger Daltrey. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2018.

Pete Townsend once described The Who as “four people who should never have been in a band together”. In this autobiography Roger Daltrey goes out to prove how wrong this statement is, in a most literary manner.

For Daltrey the arguments, fights and friction gave the music of The Who, energy and vitality, something they fought about through their whole history. He portrays Pete Townsend as a brilliant but tortured composer whose music was at the heart of The Who.

Daltrey pulls no punches as he talks about the drugs, the girls, the TV sets out the window, the cars in the swimming pool, the touring, the death of Keith Moon and John Entwistle, Pete’s arrest for alleged child pornography(of which he was innocent), everything.

But more than that he gives a brilliant portrait of post war Britain and the rise of teenagers as a market force in the 60’s and 70’s.

One thing I will always remember from this book is how he describes the demise of singing at every level of society even in our education system. After the war people sang at parties, they sang at work, they sang in schools, they sang at home, they whistled as they walked down the street. Music was everywhere. It stemmed from keeping the morale up in war time and boy could we use some of it today. Nobody sings anymore. If you do they raise their eyes above the level of their cell phones and tut tut.

Thanks Roger for reminding me of where I came from and for a brilliant book.

If you are a rock fan, get a hold of this book it is classic rock history. And then there is Mr Kibblewhite. Who is he? Who are you?

Fing by David Walliams

March 1, 2019 Comments off

fingFing by David Walliams. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

This is the latest novel of madness, mayhem and laughter from the pen of David Walliams. It is about bad child behaviour and parents who try too hard to be nice to their child.

Mr and Mrs Meek are librarians and they have the most horrible daughter Myrtle. They give her everything she wants and now she wants the impossible – a Fing. What the hell is a Fing I hear you say? Exactly, but being librarians the Meeks’ discover a Fing in a volume titled Monsterpedia, which has a place in the back for another, as yet to be found, monster.

Mr Meek goes looking in the Fing’s known habitat of the “deepest, darkest, jungliest Jungle. Will he find it? read the book and find out. He does find the Honkopotamus and the two headed Croco-croco but what does a Fing look like?

I think Mr Walliams is also having a crack at the modern trend by kids to use fing and fink instead of thing and think, a habit that I find distasteful. Sure English is allowed to change but lets not be lazy and cheap about it.

Primary and intermediate students are going to love it. Easy to read, gross and funny and a warning to children to behave.

Thomas Comes to New Zealand.

February 27, 2019 Comments off

thomas TankThomas Comes to New Zealand. Pub. Hardie Grant Egmont, Imprint HarperCollins, 2019

Using a TV character to promote reading to pre-schoolers is a good idea. This board book with sturdy pages can withstand tough conditions and brings the delights of NZ to the new reader.

Thomas comes with the Fat Controller on the barge Dilly to NZ. he visits 90 mile beach, Tane Mahuta, Auckland, crosses over to the South island and visits Queenstown and a rugby game in Christchurch between the All Blacks and Wallabies.

The photographic like illustrations are superb.

What a start to reading!

Eric always look on the bright side of life Idle a sortabiography by Eric Idle.

February 26, 2019 Comments off

IdleEric always look on the bright side of life Idle a sortabiography by Eric Idle. Pub. weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2018.

Life has a simple plot, First you’re here, And then you’re not. These lines start this incredible autobiography by a man who in my opinion ranks alongside Spike Milligan and Eric Morecombe as the funniest man I ever came across. Well not across exactly but we did live on the same planet.

Son of a RAF pilot who was squashed to death hitchhiking home after the War and brought up in an orphanage, he rose to become  a brilliant comedian with Monty Python and was a very good musician as well. He was the man that added Monty to the title while John Cleese added the word Python

This is his life without the shameful bits and on his wife’s instructions the grubby bits but it has everything else. His relationship with the other Pythons, with people like George Harrison, all the Python shows and films and  a record of  60’s television history.

It is full of brilliant quotes such as his own “men have a brain and a penis but only enough blood to feed one at a time” Think about it.

From George Harrison there is “If we had known we were going to be The Beatles we would have tried harder”

Eric Idle is a man who opposed Brexit and to my great envy stood on the terraces at Wembley with Bill Oddie to see England win the World cup in 1966. It will never happen again.

The rest you can find out for your self but remember “always look on the bright side of life”

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer.

February 25, 2019 Comments off

dogfishTo Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer. Pub. Hardie Grant Egmont 2019, Imprint HarperCollins.

This is definitely a book for the girls but boys would benefit from reading it but I doubt many will.

It’s about two pre-pubescent girls whose fathers are gay and starting off a relationship that the men hope will lead to marriage. Bett is a California girl, into surfing and the outdoor and her pet name is Dogfish. Avery is from New York full of neuroses and into indoor cerebral activities and she calls herself Night Owl.

Their fathers Marlow and Sam book both girls into a summer camp for 8 weeks while they travel through China on motorbikes to discover each other. They want their daughters to bond at camp so that they can become a family.

The book is told entirely in emails between the two girls and other characters who come into. the story. At first the girls are loath to follow their fathers’ wishes and plan to ignore each other at camp but soon discover they have lots in common and like each other.

Unfortunately their fathers’ trip to China does not go well, they fight, leaving the girls, having bonded to ponder and wonder what to do next. Will things work out? Read it and see. Superb ending.

I was mighty impressed with this book. It is very witty, beautifully structured and the action never dulls. I liked the two girls but the men were not my type. I said it is not for boys and I should elaborate – lots of period talk!!

For intermediate and high school students but YA will get a laugh and gays will hoot and holler.

The Wonderful Whippet of Winifred Weatherwax by Philippa Stasiuk.

February 22, 2019 Comments off

whippetThe Wonderful Whippet of Winifred Weatherwax by Philippa Stasiuk. Pub. Tivoli Press, 2018.

I laughed all the way through this sumptuously written story about Kennel Clubs, best in Show dog competitions and the dog owners. I think Philippa Stasiuk is taking the water and she does it superbly well.

Heroine is Freddy, a 15 year old girl, real name Winifred Weatherwax. Freddy’s mother buys a whippet called Shumba. It has something unusual about it which Freddy recognises immediately even though she has no knowledge of dog breeding.

It turns out Shumba is of mysterious pedigree which the breeder is hiding from the rest of the dog world. Freddy brings the best out in the dog and it wins it’s first show in unprecedented fashion. Suddenly the best in Show world looks up determined to solve the mystery of this familiar first time winner.

Then champion dogs start to go missing and Shumba’s fortunes rise. Who is behind the missing dogs and will Shumba be next? Freddy and her friend Eli investigate.

Wonderful satire of the dog world and of New York social whirl. Freddy utters at one stage “I watched a woman spoon-feed her dog an organic, grass-fed lamb smoothie” and of New York society she describes Upper East Side tenants of having two things – a doorman and a therapist.

The writing is lofty, tightly written and hugely funny.

Savour this one.

For capable intermediate  and High school students. Adults will get a laugh out of it too.

The Book That Never Ends by Beck & Matt Stanton

February 21, 2019 Comments off

book neverThe Book That Never Ends by Beck & Matt Stanton. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

It’s a dream come true – a book that never ends, or it could be a nightmare.

This picture book challenges children right from the start “No kid could ever find the end of this book” but give it your best shot.

it starts with an ink blot type black and white illustration in which you can see either a bear or a lion. Which ever it is you move to another directed page and keep going and going and going.

The illustrations are simple and enlightening. It is for everybody, give it a go!!

One of the most interesting picture books I have read for sometime.