Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

The Uppish Hen & other Poems by Robin Hyde, illus. by Dine. Pub. Cuba Press 2023.

March 9, 2023 Comments off

Robin Hyde was a New Zealand poet and journalist who retired to an island in the Marlborough Sounds to hide the fact that she had given birth to a son out of wedlock in the late 1920’s.

Her son was named Derek or Derry and this book was given to him in a Xmas stocking when he was 4 years old. She hoped it would be published one day and before Derry died aged 90 in 2021 he gave permission for it to be published and so it has been with beautiful illustrations by Dine.

I have a great deal of difficulty reading these days as I await surgery for cataracts but over the past 4 days I have read a little each day because the story and the poems were so compelling. Each poem is on one page with an illustration preceding it and interpreting it. There is allegedly a small mouse in each illustration but with my eyesight I couldn’t find it perhaps you will have better luck but the one sure fact is that the illustrations are superb.

The poems are about dreams and fantasies relevant to childhood. Starlings in the chimney, snails crossing a footpath in the rain, Gretel’s house in the woods, the littlest moon in a nest in the tree and others. The language is descriptive and of an age gone by but very expressive.

Useful for poetry study in primary intermediate and high school. Worth reading for adults too. Picture book sized and short with 14 poems in all.

Thankfully Robin Hyde has had her way. She deserved it.

Categories: Poetry Tags: , ,

Kidnap at Mystery Island by Carol Garden. Pub. Scholastic, 2022.

June 27, 2022 Comments off

This enthusiastically written novel is hard to catagorise because it covers so many topics and genres. It won the Tom Fitzgibbon Award for best first novel for children and is bound to be popular with young readers from primary to junior secondary.

It is set in New Zealand in the year 2072 after an enormous battle against global warming and climate change but there are still deniers around who are given the name Anti-Ecs. Lead Anti-Ec is Dezi Krate who owns a massive stealth submarine and a movable island and he wishes to exploit the environment by kidnapping a daughter of the top ranger and getting him to turn the other way.

Dezi has a son called Dom who has developed a talent of being a human Chameleon. Blake Walker and his wife who are the rangers looking after the environment have three daughters with other skills. Anne can breathe like a fish and survive in the sea and Zoe can read minds.

A kidnapping occurs and the action gets going. Lots of high tech stuff and a few laughs as the villains get their comeuppance.

The characters are good role models especially Dom the son of the Anti-Ec and there are good family and community values as well. Something sadly lacking in society at the moment.

Very readable with short chapters and easy font. A deserved winner of the Tom Fitzgibbon Award.

That’s What Dragons Do by Raymond McGrath. Pub. Scholastic, 2021.

August 10, 2021 Comments off

Dragons like to roar, to fly and to breathe fire but what happens when a dragon meets a firefighter and what happens when a firefighter meets a cupcake fairy and then a cupcake fairy meets a big digger dumper driver?

Yes this is a what if story and is the sort of story to tell when putting a child to bed. In the story it is a little girl that is going to bed and she appears in every action that takes place. It all ends ok with father in full control putting out the light to go to sleep after all the adventure.

The illustrations are the star of this piece of work which also takes you into outer space.

Great read aloud and plenty for a preschooler and early primary students to get their teeth into.

Dreamweavers Bk1. Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie.

November 10, 2019 Comments off

awaDreamweavers Bk1. Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. Pub.Te Ra Aroha Press, 2019.

After reading this fantasy with a realism twist for primary and intermediate school readers, I played the Gary Wright song Dreamweaver. Do this yourself and see why.

Awa is of oriental descent, she is sensitive, her parents have just split up, she has moved to a small Wellington flat with her mother and she has started at another school.

At night she has dreams that seem real and one evening she sees a light that turns out to be a Dreamcharmer named Veila. Veila teaches Awa to enter the Dreamrealm where unbeknown to her she has an important role to play as a Dreamweaver.

At school Awa is bullied by Felicity but meets a friend Ella who is also bullied by Felicity. The divorce of the parents, the bullying and the racism, provide the realism twist to the dream world fantasy that Awa enters but somehow there is a connection.

This first part of a trilogy has Awa learn to understand the power the powers she has and the enemies she faces in the Dreamrealm in the personna of The Politician and Judgement. I feel the best is yet to come.

Easy to read, short chapters and much to appeal to pre-teens. The fantasy is drawn from the Greek legend Narcissus and from Maori mythology especially the nature of dreams.

The Invincibles. Power Up. by Peter Millett, illus.Myles Lawford.

July 5, 2019 Comments off

invinciblesThe Invincibles. Power Up. by Peter Millett, illus.Myles Lawford. Pub.Scholastic, 2019.

Getting kids into reading these days is hard work. Peter Millett knows this, so do teachers librarians parents and care givers. So what do you do? well books have to be easy to read, have a lot of action and humour preferably the poo, bum wees variety, and they can be read very quickly.

This short novel has all of that and in New Zealand the other must have is rugby, sport and competition. These are there also.

Muzza, Andrea, Scotty, Tana and Zinnia turn up for rugby practice and are struck by lightning. They develop different super powers and turn themselves into the Invincibles. They want to turn their rugby skills into something unbeatable and the kidnapping of the All Greats gives them a chance to take on a nasty scoundrel called tricky Ricky and put things right in the world of rugby.

Stirring stuff with plenty of action and humour. Scotty becomes Windbreaker and I don’t need to tell you one of his talents.

Superbly illustrated by Myles Lawford, his characterisation of the Invincibles is right on the nail.

Great for reluctant boys. Go ahead try it out. Excellent cover.

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.

SNARK Being the true story of the expedition that discovered the snark and the Jabberwock by David Elliot after Lewis Carroll

November 21, 2016 Comments off

snarkSNARK Being the true story of the expedition that discovered the snark and the Jabberwock  by David Elliot after Lewis Carroll. Pub. Otago University Press, 2016.

This brilliantly illustrated book of the tales of the Jabberwock and the Snark might well be called a “snail of a tale”. To understand why I say this you will need to read the book.

Basically Elliot tries to get to the bottom of all the literary questions that have been posed by both Lewis Carroll’s nonsense fantasy poems. He creates a fictional book allegedly written by The Boots who was the helmsman on the voyage to hunt the Snark and the only character without an illustration.In this book he is the only character to survive the voyage and discovers what indeed a Snark was and more importantly what it looked like.

The Boots account of the story of Jabberwock and Snark is beautifully merged with Lewis Carroll’s poems without destroying the mystery of them.

It is fine writing by David Elliot and even better illustrations.

This book is for the child inside all adults who wondered  what the devil the opening line to the Jabberwock meant “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did Gyre and gimble in the wabe”

The Notes in the back of this 42nd edition add authenticity to David Elliot’s work and that of Lewis Carroll. I believe it would bring a smile to his face.

Categories: Mystery, Senior Fiction Tags:

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

August 30, 2016 Comments off

white roseThe White Rose by Amy Ewing. Pub. Walker books, 2015.

This book has been with me for a while now and I have finally got around to reading it and I am so glad I did. It is the second part of a trilogy the first of which is reviewed on my blog below. At the start all hell has broken loose inside the Jewel after Violet and Ash were found in bed together. The Duchess of the Lake, a cruel nasty bitch, is after blood. Lucien the male Lady -in -waiting orchestrates the escape of Ash and Violet with the help of The Duchess’s rebellious son Garnet. There are victims but you will need to read the novel to find out who they are. Where is Raven the girl who entered Surrogacy with Violet?

The escapees are headed for the fourth outer ring of Lone City known as The Farm but first they must escape The Bank and The Smoke with the Duchess and her Regimentals in hot pursuit. It is nail biting action with the presence of The Black Key a crucial link.

Finally they arrive at The White Rose but what is it all about? Well Royalty have taken and used whoever and whatever they like. There are huge disparities between the rich inside the Jewel and the people outside and they have had enough. The city has rotted for too long and there is a sense of utter hopelessness from the workers in the Smoke. A Revolution is in the air but part 3 will be where it is told.

Violet has a crucial role to play because of her Augury or talent of Growth.

Masterfully told by Amy Ewing, great dystopian fiction mixed with fantasy and a modern realism. For high school students and young adults. The link to part 1 Jewel is here:-