Posts Tagged ‘fears’

Roo and Vladimir (an unlikely friendship) by Minky Stapleton. Pub. Scholastic.

March 25, 2022 Comments off

Roo is a big dog. Hairy and clumsy, with big teeth but loveable just the same.

All the other dogs in the neighbourhood are scared of him and he is lonely.

Then along comes Vladimir a little Pekinese who is smitten with Roo. They play and sleep and become best friends.

All the other dogs are bemused and think Vladimir is very brave but they keep their distance.

Then a serious storm comes and all the dogs are trapped on the wrong side of the river. Roo comes into his own and the dogs fears are gone for ever. read it and see what happens.

Excellent illustrations of all the dogs. Roo and his various moods and Vladimir with his confidence are superb.

Categories: Picture book Tags: , ,

The Ghosts on the Hill by Bill Nagelkerke.

August 17, 2020 Comments off

Ghosts-on-the-Hill-cover-webThe Ghosts on the Hill by Bill Nagelkerke. Pub. Cuba Press, 2020.

Near the end of this superb story for primary and intermediate readers, Elsie, an 11 year old girl says the lines”stories are to make sense of things that seem to make no sense at all”. It was a line that her father told her and it describes this story perfectly.

In early Christchurch April 3 1883 two boys, Davie and Archie bunk school walk to Heathcote and take the train through the tunnel to Lyttelton. They are hungry, tired and cold but need to walk over the Bridle Path to get back home.

Elsie meets the boys, can’t help them with money but gives them food to eat. The weather turns foul and the boys go missing and are later found dead. Elsie is haunted by their death and one year later on April 4 1884 she vows to face her fears and walk the Bridle Path.

Read this story and see what happens.

This is old fashioned writing in which every word has been carefully chosen and fits just right. Old sayings that were used when I grew up  litter the descriptive text. I wonder how many people still lick their middle finger and hold it up to see which way the wind is blowing?

The descriptive prose sometimes has a Dickensian feel about it and the story while sad is told in a caring way. I read it in less than an hour while tucked up with a hot water bottle and it left me with a good feeling.

Based on a true story but Bill manages to get some Maori legend and myth into the story especially with reference to those Maori fairy folk the Patupaiarehe. One of my stories of the year.

Max and his Big Imagination Bk7 The Cave by Chrissy Metge, illus Dmitri Chizhov.

August 13, 2020 Comments off

max caveMax and his Big Imagination Bk7 The Cave by Chrissy Metge, illus Dmitri Chizhov. Pub. Duckling Publishing 2020.

The seventh book in this series dealing with childhood issues with this one handling “afraid of the dark”.

Ever had your children drag blankets from their beds and make a cave with furniture in your lounge? I have and it is fun. Max’s mum does this to help Max with his fear of the dark and she gives him a torch to help him. But Max goes further, he uses his imagination to create a glow worm cave. Read it and see what happens.

Superbly illustrated by Dmitry Chizhov who gets the glow worms just right and enhances the text with his dark images.

The Day the Plants Fought Back by Belinda O’Keefe, illus. Richard Holt

June 9, 2019 Comments off

plants foughtThe Day the Plants Fought Back by Belinda O’Keefe, illus. Richard Holt. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Patrick and Wayne are “two boisterous boys who made lots of noise”. Unfortunately they were also destructive especially with plants. Then the plants fight back and scare the living daylights out of the boys.

As a result their behaviour changes. See what happens.

Love the rhyming text which makes this picture book a good read-a-loud for juniors and the message is perfect. Sometimes people need a good hard scare to make them see sense. Fear is a good way to curb behaviour – a male teacher once told me fear was the key to an orderly classroom. Mind you that was 20 years ago.

Richard holt’s illustrations are perfect. the excitable boys, the fearsome plants with eyes and ears and the wistful mother. A good little package this.

Things in the Sea are Touching Me! by Linda Jane Keegan, illus. Minky Stapleton

March 9, 2019 Comments off

touching meThings in the Sea are Touching Me! by Linda Jane Keegan, illus. Minky Stapleton. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Ever go into the sea and things touch you in both shallow water or deeper water? It could be a crab it could be seaweed or something else.

Linda Jane Keegan’s rhyming text is witty and unforced as she describes a young girls experiences in the sea. Mum is there too of course and sun safety is adhered to.

Minky Stapleton’s illustrations are colourful and enhance the drama, with the eyes of the characters particularly expressive.

A good package this to talk about fears and experiences at the beach. Good read-a-loud for juniors.

Beware the Deep Dark Forest by Sue Whiting, illus. Annie White

October 18, 2018 Comments off

beware dark forestBeware the Deep Dark Forest by Sue Whiting, illus. Annie White. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

Rosie warns her little dog Tinky not to go into the deep dark forest because it is full of carnivorous plants and venomous snakes but Tinky goes anyway.

Rosie follows Tinky in against the advice of her grandma, ignoring the rumours of what was in the forest.  She has to sneak past a ferocious wolf and contend with a troll before effecting a rescue.

The illustrations are superb. Annie White creates a fearsome looking forest which hints at deathly acts and creates a monstrous troll who has his mind set on dinner.

Great read-a-loud story for juniors with plenty to look through slowly later.

The Visitor by Anjte Damm.

May 19, 2018 Comments off

The Visitor by Anjte Damm. Pub. Gecko Press, 2018.

visitorWhat a brilliantly conceived and perceptive picture book about fear and loneliness this is.

Illustrated using photographs with cardboard cutout figures inserted, it tells the story of a lonely old lady who never goes outside because she is scared. The photographs are gloomy and she is gloomy.

Then a paper plane comes through her window which exacerbates her fears until a small boy knocks on her door and makes himself at home. he is bright and breezy and wears his cap on backwards

She tells him her name is Elise and he is Emil. He asks her to read to him from her library from which she has read every book. He brings colour into her life. He tells her that her house is cool.

The last double paged illustration in the book is majorly different from the identical illustration at the start. Read it and see how, you will not be disappointed.

The written text is simple, well place in the illustrations and wise beyond belief.

Eric Makes a Splash by Emily MacKenzie

March 24, 2018 Comments off

eric splashEric Makes a Splash by Emily MacKenzie. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2018.

This is a picture book about fears. We all have fears and most are not warranted and can be easily overcome.

Eric is scared about lots of things- noises in the night, spiders in his welly boots and getting lost in the park among others. Fortunately he has a brave friend called Flora who is fearless. Eric thinks she is the cat’s whiskers.

She shows Eric how to overcome some of his fears but then he is invited to a swimming party at the Soggy Towel Swimming Pool. This sends Eric into a whirl but Flora kits him out in gear and persuades him to pretend to be a shark or a turtle so in he goes and loves it. But Flora looks very worried indeed..

Simply told nicely illustrated in bright water colours and with a great message for children. Be confident in what you do and overcome your fears.

The Yark by Bertrand Santini, Illus. Laurent Gapaillard

February 19, 2018 Comments off

yarkThe Yark by Bertrand Santini, Illus. Laurent Gapaillard. Pub. Gecko press, 2018.

I have always believed that a little fear in children’s lives is not a bad thing as long as it is done in areas like literature, in cinema or the Arts. This brilliant short novel fits the bill like no other.

Of all the various Monsters that teem upon the face of the earth, the Human species is the most widespread. There is another, though, more rare, less known. It is the Yark” This is the first paragraph of the novel and it whets the appetite.

We learn that the Yark loves eating children but only good children. He has a delicate stomach and cannot eat bad children who lie, bully or are spoilt. They taste foul and give him indigestion. Unfortunately the World is full of such children and it is hard to find a delicious good child.

The Yark goes hunting for one using Father Xmas’s list of good children. Through this he meets Madeleine and the meeting will change him for ever. Aww!

Easy to read and a great read-a-loud for juniors and middle school readers.

The story is brilliantly supported by Laurent Gapaillard’s pen and ink Victorian-gothic illustrations. The Yark is a superb creation.

This is a five star work, don’t miss it. Adults will smile knowingly.

I Can’t Sleep by Stephanie Blake.

July 15, 2017 Comments off

can't sleepI Can’t Sleep by Stephanie Blake. Pub Gecko Press 2017.

I admit I am addicted to these picture books about Simon, the rabbit with a great imagination. This latest book keeps my addiction going and it is available for purchase in August.

Simon and his little brother Casper decide to build a MEGA GIGA-NORMOUS hut out of Casper’s blanky. The reader will rightly pick that there is trouble ahead when it is bed time. Casper can’t sleep without his blanky and Simon has to assume his alter ego identity, Super Rabbit, to rescue the situation.

Great fun with the familiar big font text and whole page primary colour illustrations, to accentuate the drama of the story. Blues and black for the night and brighter colours for day time and the monster.

Good read-a-loud for juniors and a knowing laugh for adults.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Picture book Tags: ,