Archive

Posts Tagged ‘families’

Avis and the Promise of Dragons by Heather McQuillan.

October 14, 2019 Comments off

avisAvis and the Promise of Dragons by Heather McQuillan. Pub. AHOY, imprint Cuba Press, 2019.

How do you weave an ex All Black star, a manipulative dragon, a kind hearted little girl with a slovenly father and brother, a mother who has left home, a bully, an endangered species smuggler and chocolate bars into a novel?

Check out this easy to read tale and find out. Of course it is an outrageous fantasy and tall story, but it is good fun and an easy read for primary and intermediate students.

Avis is the central character and she is a very likeable. Her father is in a slump because his wife and Avls’s mother has run off with an ex All Black. Bruno the 14 year old brother is in a grump as well. Avis does everything around the house.

Then Avis gets a job minding an eccentric scientists house while she attends to a screeching peacock, and discovers a giant lizard that loves chocolate which makes it shed it’s skin and grow quickly. Not only that it becomes a dragon and is able to manipulate Avis through thought control.

I can tell you no more but it is fun.

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday by Jo Simmons, illus. Nathan Reed.

September 1, 2019 Comments off

cancelledMy Parents Cancelled My Birthday by Jo Simmons, illus. Nathan Reed. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2019.

This is an easy to read novel for primary and Intermediate readers who have a vivid sense of humour and imagination. It is what I call intelligent silliness and believe me  the weird things that go on will have you in stitches.

Tom is nearly eleven and he wants a birthday like one of his school mates had. Unfortunately things happen in his family that cause his parents to cancel his birthday.

It starts with the family pig named Tiny. He lives on the roof of the garage because there is no room elsewhere on their section. When Nana comes round with her chihuahua named Margherita, Tiny falls off the roof and squashes the dog flat. Tony puts it in a pizza box and buries it in the sandpit at the local nursery school.

There is uproar in Tom’s family. Nan is distraught, his younger sister Meg blames herself saying she is jinxed because the tooth fairy has neglected to leave money for her lost tooth. Father can’t finish the novel he has written and has a headache and mother is stressed by work. After Margherita got flattened Tom’s parents cancel his birthday.

Tom then goes into crazy overdrive to get his birthday back.

From the author of I Swapped my Brother on the Internet also reviewed on this blog. For reluctant readers.

You will laugh yourself silly. Nathan Reed’s illustrations enhance the humour and the characters superbly.

Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival

August 22, 2019 Comments off

ravis roarRavi’s Roar by Tom Percival. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2019.

Ravi is not happy being the youngest and smallest in his family even his dog biscuit is bigger than him.  He is always last in a race for anything, he is not allowed on the big slide and he can never find anyone during hide and seek.

When he is last to the ice cream cart and there is none left, Ravi sees red and turns into a tiger that scares everyone off. this loses him all his friends and he has to make a big decision. Read it and find out what it is.

Easy to read script and illustrations that enhance the plot and highlight personality differences. Tom Percival is good at this sort of thing and two others of his picture books are on this blog. Check them out.

Joy Cowley, Building Bridges

July 30, 2019 Comments off

bridgesJoy Cowley, Building Bridges. Pub. Clean Slate Press, 2019.

Five 32 page, easy to read books, designed for readers 8-12 years who have dyslexia or  readers who are struggling between junior material and chapter books.

And they are brilliant.

They are about modern family life in multi cultural New Zealand that have themes and plots that kids will go for.

Each book has three stories all with Dyslexia friendly text that has short simple sentence structure with generous spacing between lines and written on matt cream coloured background.

Each book has  a different illustrator all well known in the publishing industry.

Buster illustrated by Ali Teo is about a dog who is full of dogness but suffers from intestinal wind

Motor Sports illustrated by Richard Holt features kart racing, Formula 1 and rally cars and is full of motor racing information about cars.

Selena and Mia illustrated by Ant Sang features a friendly relationship between two street wise intermediate aged girls.

The Twins illustrated by Jenny Cooper features the relationship between twins and their loving and slightly weird and embarrassing parents.

Grandpa and Boy illustrated by Toby Morris features three hunting and fishing stories and a grandfather who swears a blinky lot.

All five books would be essential purchases for primary and intermediate schools at around 50 bucks for the lot. Contact at info@cleanslatepress.com

I loved all 15 stories and so will you and your students.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

June 25, 2019 Comments off

sistersSisters by Raina Telgemeier. Pub. Scholastic, NY,  2014.

This graphic novel for Intermediate and High school students is as the title suggests about the relationship between two sisters, Raina who is the eldest and Amara who is a feisty anatagonist.

Raina always wanted a sister and she pestered her parents to get one. There is an old saying that goes “don’t wish too hard for something or you might get it”.

Raina is delighted when Amara is born but her delight is short lived. Amara is not a shrinking violet and the two clash over everything until Raina is a teenager and Amara is knocking on the door. They have different tastes, behaviours, sense of humour and aspirations.

Then an incident happens that you will have to find out for yourself and it is always there between them. Then father loses his job and things become strained in the family. He finally gets a job and the family set off in the car to a family reunion in Colorado and everything changes.

Good family relationship stuff which the graphic illustrations highlight beautifully.

Visual readers and reluctant girl readers will find this easy to read. I read it in half an hour but you can take your time, if you want.

Speechless by Adam. P. Schmitt.

June 21, 2019 Comments off

speechlessSpeechless by Adam. P. Schmitt. Pub. Candlewick Press, 2019.

This superbly paced young adult novel kept me on tenterhooks from beginning to end.

It is said that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, this is teenager Jimmy’s problem and has been for the whole of his life.

Jimmy’s mum has a twin sister who is needy. She has a son called Patrick who is the same age as Jimmy and they have been around every important occasion in Jimmy’s life and much of other times too. Jimmy can’t stand Patrick because he ruins every event and prevents Jimmy enjoying any occasion and having friends of his own. Patrick is unpredictable and volatile and Jimmy is nearly always the victim.

Now Patrick is dead and Jimmy is told by his mother that he has to make a speech at Patrick’s funeral. He doesn’t want to, he feels even in death Patrick is beating him.

The action opens at the wake before the funeral and many people from Patrick and Jimmy’s life show up. Jimmy recounts some of the episodes that happened and he can’t for the life of him think of anything positive about Patrick to say.

Throughout this novel I was desperate to learn two things. Firstly how Patrick died and secondly what and if Jimmy would say anything.  Adam Schmitt draws you in and strings you out magnificently.

One of the best novels of late. You will feel the same as me, I bet. The ending will move you to tears.

 

Louisiana’s way Home by Kate Di Camillo

May 29, 2019 Comments off

louisianaLouisiana’s way Home by Kate Di Camillo. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

Oh to be able to write as well as this!

Twelve year old Louisiana believes that her parents were part of a circus acrobatic team named Elefante who were killed in an accident and that the family is cursed because of an incident in Elf Ear Missouri. She believes that her Granny taught her everything she knows and has looked after her for the whole of her life.

All these beliefs are going to come under question in this superb novel of growing up and the amazing resilience of Louisiana. She is truly a character to be admired.

At 3.00am one morning Granny gets Louisiana out of bed to pack her suitcase and announces that the day of reckoning had arrived. The pair drive north out of Florida across that imaginary Georgia State line. They run out of gas and Granny becomes bedridden with tooth ache.

Louisiana has to drive the car off the motorway to a small town and seek dental treatment for her Granny. This will lead to all secrets being told and for Louisiana to show her incredible character when faced with a crisis that would floor most people.

Beautifully told with great wisdom, common sense and perception. You are with Louisiana all the way and once you start the novel the most difficult part will be putting it down.

Total class writing for intermediate and secondary school students. For me the best junior fiction title of the year.