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Posts Tagged ‘Conservation’

The Rift by Rachael Craw

November 1, 2018 Comments off

riftThe Rift by Rachael Craw, Pub. Walker books, 2018

This action/adventure/fantasy/scifi/ romance/conservation novel, because it is all of these genres, is from an author who is at the top of her game. It is for high school /young adult readers and is one of the most original novels I have read this year.

Black Water Island is a ferry ride off the coast and is controlled by Rangers whose power is hereditary and they protect the Old herd of deer that populate the island. The deer possess a special quality/panacea called Actaeone Bane which is desired by the medical world particularly by a nasty conglomerate called Nutris Pharmaceuticals. Every four years they have a cull and the company sends fortune hunters to organise the cull. It is lead by a sinister dangerous man named Jackson Spear who you will hate from the beginning.

The Island also has a special quality called Electromagnetic Interference which means nothing mechanical or digital will work on the island. Life is hard for the locals but they love it. The island also has a Rift in which dwell Rift Hounds who are powerful creatures who live off the herd. If one of these hounds should attack you and you survive you acquire a quality called Rift Sight although it is not the only way to have Rift Sight. To be a ranger you must possess Rift sight but the current leader Sargent doesn’t have it.

Cal and Meg were attacked by the Rift Hounds when they were 8 years old, now they are going on 18 both possess Rift Sight. Cal who is an outsider has stayed on the island while Meg left the island with her mother Cora and both have returned on the eve of the cull.

There is unfinished business between Cal and Meg and their feelings for each other are a powerful storyline in this novel. You can find out the rest for yourself.

Rachael Craws language is the star of this novel. Her imagery, description and metaphor are powerful weapons that drive the plot and keep the reader in the book. The action is exhilerating, the romance spine tingling and the plot totally believable. If you miss this you will kick yourself.

The Sea Dreamer by Terry Fitzgibbon.

September 26, 2018 Comments off

sea dreamerThe Sea Dreamer by Terry Fitzgibbon. Pub. New Holland, 2018.

When Sam goes to sleep he dreams and floats away on his toy tugboat Wakato accompanied by Pania of the reef. he goes on a journey of discovery and in the process learns about the sea and all the animals who live in it and around it.

There is a strong conservation element about his discoveries which include sea life getting tangled in drastic plastic pollution. He dreams of towing the plastic back to shore for recycling.

Sam learns that the sea is our main source of oxygen and that the power of the oceans waves can help create energy for when oil supplies run out.

he learns about the giant squid, about whales about the albatross and the North and South poles. he wakes with the message that we need to look after the sea and keep it healthy.

Good message and great colourful illustrations. My favourite was Sam towing the mother polar bear and her cub to safety on a flimsy ice floe.

Well worth purchasing for the home or school library.

Supersaurs 1: The Raptors of Paradise by Jay Jay Burridge.

November 13, 2017 Comments off

supersaursSupersaurs 1: The Raptors of Paradise by Jay Jay Burridge. Pub Allen&Unwin, 2017.

The first part of a new adventure series for pre-teens and teens set in a world in which dinosaurs still exist but in a time zone that is pre world War 2.

13 year old Bea sets off with her well bred grandmother Bunty and her square jawed manservant Theodore for the Spice islands to seek the whereabouts of Bea’s parents who disappeared on the Island of Aru 11 years previously. They also hoped to see the elusive Raptors of Paradise who live in the interior of the island.

Things are not going to go well as there is a super bad guy called Christian Hayter on the island who is killing and smuggling raptors and other dinosaurs off the island to foreign buyers. Bea and her troop are going to upset Hayter who is hated by the local people and the raptors alike.

Will he come to a sticky end? Are Bea’s parents still alive? What are the Raptors of Paradise like? and who is the savage little boy who appears at times of crisis in Bea’s life?

There is an absolutely superb scene when Bea and her troop are surrounded by shadow raptors who appear to be dancing. Square jawed Theodore gets the troop to sing knees up mother Brown and loe and behold the raptors mimic them and even learn the whole song.

One might say it is old fashioned writing with a jolly hockeysticks manner and to a certain extent it is, but how refreshing it all is.

Don’t miss this one. Less than $20.00 in book shops now.

12 Huia Birds by Julian Stokoe. Illus. Stacy Eyles

September 20, 2016 Comments off

12-huia12 Huia Birds by Julian Stokoe. Illus. Stacy Eyles. Pub. Oratia Books, 2016.

The last confirmed sighting of a Huia was in 1907 although there were credible but unconfirmed sightings as late as the 1960’s.

It was a beautiful bird prized for it’s feathers by the Maori but it was a ground dweller where it hunted for huhu grubs in fallen logs and other grubs in the soil. The female had a beautiful curved beak and the male a straighter beak, it’s feathers were black, trimmed with white and it had a yellow plumage below the beak.

Before the Maori it sang to hail the dawn but the coming of the dog and the rat began the road to extinction. European settlers and introduced possums, stoats ferrets and weasels finished the fabulous huia off.

This picture book tells that story beginning with 12 huia, counting down to the last bird in rhyming verse as it vanishes off into the sky but there is hope as the bird lives in paintings songs and stories, but this should never happen again to another species.

Well told by Julian Stokoe and superbly illustrated by Stacy Eyles acrylic like paintings of the birds and their diminishing environment. There are some stunning pages none more so than the 9 Huia birds singing songs of love as  the supreme Maori chief seeks the huia’s feathers for his treasure box.

Great appeal for primary and intermediate school students with a powerful conservation message for everybody.

The Bold Ship Phenomenal by Sarah Johnson

June 30, 2016 Comments off

PhenomenalThe Bold Ship Phenomenal by Sarah Johnson. Pub. Flat Bed Press, 2016.

After a tentative start this novel for middle school children develops an original idea into a rollicking double plot story involving pirates, smuggling of endangered species and a pig.

Malachi is 11 years old and he and his father miss his mother who has died. Malachi’s mother always encouraged him to be adventurous and inquisitive and she gave him a magnifying glass and says look for me after I have gone.

Malachi finds a ship in a bottle which has a life of it’s own which parallels the adventure that is to happen in his own life. He becomes aware of a dodgy deal that is going to take place in Waipoua Forest where protestors are trying to stop a road going through which threatens many species.

Read the rest and find out the adventure that malachi gets into and how a piglet helps and hinders his progress. All the strings to the plot are tied up nicely at the end but will Malachi find evidence of his mother in the action?

Short chapters and a large font plus a rapidly changing plot make this novel an excellent read-a-loud for primary students.

Singing home the Whale by Mandy Hager

August 20, 2014 Comments off

singing the whaleSinging home the Whale by Mandy Hager. Pub. Random House, 2014.

The essence of this novel is that it is the union of two souls – Will a teenage boy who has been scarred by a beating and humiliated on Youtube, and a baby orca named Min who has lost his mother to whalers and been separated from his pod.

They come together as Will sings his beloved opera music while at sea in a yacht and his music is heard by the grieving baby orca who responds with his own clicks and whistles. The orca comes alongside the yacht, Will reaches out and their touch has a moving effect on both.

Their relationship is to last a lifetime but the immediate consequences are aggravation and acrimony leading to assaults, family breakups and thankfully beautiful music. The two are so harmonious nothing but long term good can come of it. But it don’t come easy.

Will and Min must find themselves. Will must gain confidence and get over the humiliation of social media exposure. He needs friends. Min needs to find his family but he thirsts for human company like a bird seeks the sky and hope is hard to hold on to when one is little and alone.

The action in the present involves a struggle with a violent and domineering salmon farm owner Bruce who wishes to kill the orca. The local marae, department of fisheries and police get involved in the action.

Through Min we also learn of the culture of the whales. How the humans who they call The Hungry Ones slaughtered the whales in a time they call the Days of Blood. Min sings their song jus as Will sings his “I am captain of the Pinafore and a right good captain too”

The music of Gilbert and Sullivan, Madam Butterfly and a host of opera composers compliments the song of the whales.

Mandy Hager cares about the Planet and all its inhabitants, we all should but she realises the human condition is getting in the way but there is hope. This is a novel of hope and promise. One of the most valuable novels I have read for sometime

Mission Survival: Rage of the Rhino by Bear Grylls.

April 28, 2014 Comments off

rage rhinoMission Survival: Rage of the Rhino by Bear Grylls. Pub. Random House, 2014.

This is the first Bear Grylls novel I have read and I am mighty impressed. I have seen his TV show and have heard from many boys and girls about his books. They are targeted at reluctant readers from 9 years to 15 years. They have short chapters, are easy to read, there are hooks at the end of each chapter to keep you reading and they are exciting adventure.

Beck Granger is the main man or boy. He is a survivor and can exist anywhere. He is brave, he is thoughtful, he is intelligent, he is a strong conservationalist, and he has a strong sense of social and economic fairness. He finds poverty appalling and an unnecessary.

In this novel he is out to save the black and white rhino in Kruger National Park in South Africa. The difficulty is he is lured to South Africa by an organisation called LORUS who are opposed to all that Green Force are doing to save wildlife all over the world.

While out looking for rhino he and  South African girl Samora are captured by poachers and driven across the border into Mozambique. He and Samora escape and face danger from fires, wild dogs and LORUS who will do anything to get rid of them.

Great novels to have in any school library.