Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Change’

Moth. An evolution Story by Isabel Thomas illus. Daniel Egneus.

July 18, 2018 Comments off

mothMoth. An evolution Story by Isabel Thomas illus. Daniel Egneus. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2018.

The theory of Evolution and Natural selection has so often been tagged with the catch phrase “survival of the fittest”. This sophisticated picture book brilliantly illustrates that those that survive are those that have the ability to adapt. Adaptation is the key to evolution.

This picture book concentrates on the history of the peppered moth as it changed through the Industrial Revolution and into the modern world where humankind has started to clean up the environment.

At first the salt and pepper winged moths survived because they could disguise themselves from predators, then the black winged moths thrived during the dark days of the industrial Revolution. Now as humankind cleans up the environment, both coloured moths are able to flourish.

Brilliantly illustrated by Daniel Egneus who captures the natural world of the moths as they relate to the changing environment. The Industrial Revolution has never been portrayed better than this.

Isabel Thomas’s text is superb, simple yet telling. A perfect introduction to Natural Selection for children, and a timely reminder to adults on the effects humankind has on the environment of all the species that inhabit our planet.

The best sophisticated picture book of the year in my opinion.

Rain Fall by Ella West.

January 15, 2018 Comments off

rain fallRain Fall by Ella West. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2018.

When a teenage boy who “wouldn’t hurt a fly” empties a shotgun into the local police station and  blows his house up with plastic explosive while surrounded by the Armed Offenders squad, then disappears into the bush, you know something is dreadfully wrong.

Add to that a suspected murder and missing body and you have a mystery on your hands.

Fifteen year old Annie lives in Westport, just out of town and down the road from Pete the boy suspected of murder who used the shotgun and blew up his house. Annie loves horses and while exercising her horse Blue along the West Coast beach she meets a boy Jack, who is a rodeo star, a little older than her, and whose father is a detective sent from over the hill to investigate the crimes mentioned above.

Jack kisses Annie, her first kiss, and romance blossoms but around them the community is falling apart. What is going on? Read it and find out.

The rain soaked West Coast becomes another character in this novel that chronicles the effects that mine closures and job losses have on a community. Set near the Stockton mine, Annie’s father drives the coal train from Stockton to Otira and becomes victim of the mine closures. The whole community is stressed.

Up to date account of a real situation. The descriptions of the rain and the Coast environment are superb and the tensions created by the murder make great reading.

A worthy follow up to Ella West’s hit novel Night Vision which is reviewed on this blog and has the most hits of any novel on it. Intermediate and high school readers will enjoy this.

Kid Normal by Greg James & Chris Smith, illus. Erica Salcedo.

August 8, 2017 Comments off

kid normalKid Normal by Greg James & Chris Smith, illus. Erica Salcedo. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

This novel for middle school, intermediate and junior secondary school readers is one of the most bizarre stories I have ever read. That’s not putting it down, its a compliment because reluctant readers are the big challenge these days and this story will suck them in.

There are two strands to the plot, one for each author, and they are skillfully brought together as the book proceeds. The first is about Murph, a boy who has moved schools so many times he is fed up to the back teeth. He is mistakenly accepted by a school that deals with children who have a weird talent or capability some of super hero status but not all. They discover Murph is just normal but he adjusts to his new life. Will he become a hero?

The second strand is about Clive Meeke a scientist working on DNA who is pressured by his boss. Who isn’t these days? While conducting an experiment with a wasp in the room things go pear shaped and Meeke becomes power crazy Nektar, half man half wasp.

If you want to know any more you will have to read it yourself but if you just want a snippet to get the feel of the book there is a short story in the middle of the book that mimics James Bond, about a super hero The Blue Phantom,  that is just brilliant.

Written by two BBC Radio 1 jocks who have the gift of the gab the story is never drab. Some of the idiom and metaphor are superb with Erica Salcedo providing illustrations that enhance the plot and give you an idea of what the characters look like.

It is a good laugh and reading should be fun.

Roses are Blue by Sally Murphy. Illus. Gabriel Evans

July 3, 2014 Comments off

roses are blueRoses are Blue by Sally Murphy. Illus. Gabriel Evans. Pub. Walker Books, 2014.

This is one of the most moving stories for younger readers that I have ever read.

It is a short novel written in blank verse consisting of short sentences that make reading so easy.

Before the car accident Amber Rose’s mum was a vibrant woman. She loved gardening and painting and was an attentive mother. Even then when she turned up at school to pick Amber up, Amber was a little embarrassed.

The accident changed everything. Amber, her mum, her dad and younger brother Jack moved from their beautiful old house with verandahs and great garden into a modern house with Aunt Fi. Mum has brain damage, is in a wheelchair and is relearning how to communicate.

Amber is afraid to tell her new classmates about her mother. Then her class has an art competition that will be judged on Mothers day with all the mothers coming for high tea.

Amber worries what her classmates will think of her mother. Read it and find out what happens you will not be disappointed.

Brilliantly illustrated by Gabriel Evans who shows the love within Amber’s family and enhances the story in a way that moves you emotionally. Amber is beautifully drawn and the mother has that sadness accompanied by I wish I was the way I was look. We would all be like that.

It is a story of a family dealing with tragic change. I have read no better. For primary school children but older students and adults will relate to this novel.