Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

A Different Dog by Paul Jennings.

April 8, 2017 Comments off

different dogA Different Dog by Paul Jennings. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

Fans of Paul Jennings will not be disappointed in this long short story. Just over 80 pages of writing that will keep you on edge and keep you guessing to the end.

The boy who narrates the story is known only as the boy. He never speaks but once owned a dog called Deefer whose fate is crucial to the story. The boy lives with his mother and they are very poor but both want to break that poverty thing.

Although the boy never talks you know what he is thinking. He has no friends and is harangued at school  but an adventure in which a vehicle leaves the road and kills the owner leaving another dog, is to change the boy’s life. Read it and see how.

The illustrations by Geoff Kelly in black and white pen are a critical part of this story

Superbly constructed by a master storyteller for reluctant readers of intermediate and secondary school age.

A Day With Dogs by Dorothee de Monfreid.

September 5, 2016 Comments off

day with dogsA Day With Dogs by Dorothee de Monfreid. Pub. Gecko Press, 2016.

This is  a picture book that is meant to be pawed over if you will excuse the pun. It is about 22 breeds of dogs who you have seen before in books by the same author  (a link is at bottom of this review).

The covers are thick cardboard and the pages are double thick so they can be turned often.

It starts with a profile of the house in which the dogs live and it takes the reader from the morning bathroom activities to bed at night. In between time we have the clothes they wear, town and country environments the things they learn at school like the alphabet and numbers 1 to 11, the food they eat and everything else too.

The dogs have names and you can follow each dog as they go through the day. The illustrations are big and bold in bright colours with the detail enough to have a child looking for ages. Each item or activity is named in block letters so that words can be learned.

I can’t tell you anymore its just great so go and get it. Pre schoolers and juniors will love it.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

Frankie Potts and the Sparkplug Mysteries by Juliet Jacha, illus. Phoebe Morris

June 21, 2016 Comments off

Frankie Potts sparkplugFrankie Potts and the Sparkplug Mysteries by Juliet Jacha, illus. Phoebe Morris. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2016.

Frankie Potts loves mysteries and in this first book of a new series for readers aged 7 years-10 years the mystery starts out when she finds a dog outside Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe.

The dog shows a lot of skills. he can dance, turn in circles, skate board and seems to understand everything humans say. Frankie calls him Sparkplug and pleads with her parents to keep him.

Enter Frankie’s grandma who is known as the Formidable Mildred and she seems to have an immediate rapport with the dog. Grandma also has many secrets and a secret tattoo.

When the circus comes to town many mysteries are revealed. At the end of each chapter Frankie sums up all the mysteries that have been created in a list. But the list is to change quickly.

Fantastic little story for newly confident readers beautifully illustrated by Phoebe Morris who captures the personality of all the characters with my favourite being the bully Ralph Peter-McGee. Isn’t it a mystery that so many bullies have hyphenated names.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Mystery Tags:

Toughen Up Andrew by Anne Manchester, illus. Fifi Colston

June 9, 2016 Comments off

toughen AndrewToughen Up Andrew by Anne Manchester, illus. Fifi Colston. Pub Makaro Press, 2016.

It is said that you can’t go wrong with a good animal story because children and adults mostly have a great deal of affection for pets.

This 80 page, easy to read story of a coddled Pekinese dog named Andrew will enchant any reader who is a pet fan.

Andrew has an aging owner whose grandson thinks Andrew is a bit soft and needs toughening up. Andrew is a bit overweight and loves comfort but still has  the spring of youth in him at times. A holiday to Lake Ferry on the Wairarapa coast tests Andrew to the full. He meets a seal goes crayfishing, swims in the sea and plays football with the boys.

It’s all quite exhausting for the poor dog but he comes through it well.

Nicely  illustrated by Fifi Colston and the photographs of the real people mentioned in the story are perfect. I didn’t tell you about the eel so read this book and find out.

The ANZAC Puppy by Peter Millett and Trish Bowles.

January 19, 2015 Comments off

anzac puppyThe ANZAC Puppy by Peter Millett and Trish Bowles. Pub. Scholastic, 2014.

It matters nought that this story of a dog who went to World War 1 with a New Zealand is true or not. Many animals were used in WW1 including dogs, horses, donkeys and pigeons and it is possible that some dogs got into the trenches.

This story was based on the Regimental mascot of the NZ Rifle brigade Freda a harlequin Great Dane. Peter Millett has given Freda’s story a very human touch. As a puppy the dog could not be kept by Lucy and her family and was given away to a young soldier on his way to fight in France.

As the war stretched on Freda grew up and became comforting to soldiers in the most dreadful of wars. Told in Peter Millett’s well paced simple dialogue and superbly illustrated by Trish Bowles water colour illustrations. The dog in the soldiers pocket is charming as is Fredas first encounter with rats.

The war scenes are as real as they can be without the gore. The presence of the dog enhances the fact that the soldiers are human beigs fighting a war that should never have happend.

The ending has the young soldier, now a man,  united with the young girl, now a woman and Freda who is something special. positive stuff.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy Illus Tony Ross.

March 28, 2014 Comments off

tale of a tailTale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy Illus Tony Ross. Pub. Orion Children’s Books, 2014.

I hoped there was another Margaret Mahy  lurking around somewhere, this is it and it is a beauty.

Tom and his mum moved into Prodigy Street on Thursday, a street that is dominated by cats and sorely needs  a dog or two to even things up. On the Sunday Tomasz Mirabilis in his flowing black cloak with red lining moves into the red roofed house at the end of the street with his magical dog Najki.

Najki has a wagger that moves up and down and it grants wishes but be careful what you wish for it may come true. Careless wishing can cause problems and it does.

Tom strikes up a friendship with Mr Mirabilis and Najki and also with Sarah a cat lover from down the street. They go to the Farfetched school and have rivals at the Weasel school from across town and also from a boy gang called the Cat-kickers. Both are going to be dealt with by Najki’s wishing tale.

Oh but things go wrong. A wild cat named Miaouler the Yowler delivers a frenzied attack on Najki and suddeenly all is different again. But in true Margaret Mahy fashion, the ordinary world for the children now seems so extraordinary. Positive to the end.

Brilliant writing with the usual emphasis on language. This is Margaret’s forte and she doesn’t let you down.

The inimitable Tony Ross illustrates in his usual way with understated physical features but hugely expressive faces on both humans and animals. The illustration of Miriabilis at the beginning of chapter one sets the pattern for things to come.

Delicious read for primary children and for adults who like clever writing.

A letter to my Dog Photographs by Robin Layton

November 26, 2012 Comments off

A Letter to my dog. NZ Edition. Photos Robin Layton. Pub. Whitcouls, 2012.

Groucho Marx once said “outside of a dog a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it is too dark to read”. I wish there had been more humour in this book but still for dog lovers it is an excellent read.

I was amazed at the depth of feeling that people have for their dogs. Some address their dog as mommy while others talk in terms that I would only use on the woman I love. Still for dog lovers this will be totally understandable.

Written in two parts, one a NZ section about owners who write a letter to their dog telling the dog what they mean to them. It is moving. Some come out of earthquake ridden Canterbury and others from known celebrities.

The American section is of celebrities and others talking about their dogs and is deep felt. In the back there are portraits of the dog owners. A bit over the top in parts for us Kiwis.

My favourite bit was a mother writing about how her 2 year old son feels about the family dog “I love the way it tickles when you lick my toes and when you eat the peas that I throw on the floor”. A bit more of this would have made it more appealing to children.

Each dog is photographed by photojournalist Robin Layton and they are excellent photographs. My favourite being Tony Bennett looking over Central Park with his dog.

For everybody really but dog lovers most of all.