Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

The Zebra’s Great Escape by Katherine Rundell, illus. Sara Ogilvie. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2022.

September 6, 2022 Comments off

This is a story that you wish was true. It deals with the Dr Doolittle philosophy of talking to the animals. What if we could? what would we learn? and what could we achieve? Well the obvious answer is understanding, and that’s what we get with this superb hard back picture book.

Mink is a feisty young girl who doesn’t believe in rules or in bedtimes but she has a good heart and is brave. While swinging in her yard she meets a baby zebra who s very distressed because he has lost his parents. Mink senses this and they touch heads upon which colours stream out that tell a story and start a communication between the two that leads to great adventure.

Zebras parents have been captured by an evil cruel man with a moustache and black boots called Mr Spit. He has imprisoned animals in his gated home from Aardvarks through to Zebras and all the letters of the alphabet. Mink and the baby zebra called Gabriel along with a dog called Rainbow, a squirrel called Rodentia who can all communicate with the same colour scheme, set out to find and free Gabriel’s parents and the other animals.

Read the rest yourself and see what happens. It is brilliant and as I said earlier you wish that it was true.

Excellent illustrations from Sara Ogilvie who portrays the characters especially Mink, Gabriel and Mr Spit, very well and enhances the text by making the colour communication believable.

One of the best of the year. Katherine Rundell’s novel The Good Thieves is also reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

Omletta Hen by Janelle Wilkey, Illus. Deborah Hinde.

August 13, 2020 Comments off

omlettaOmletta Hen by Janelle Wilkey, Illus. Deborah Hinde. Pub.Scholastic 2020.

A great read  aloud picture book about a hen with oodles of personality. With a name like Omletta you feel that she has survived a great fate and is determined that her own eggs will be free.

Omletta lays her eggs everywhere, in the garden, on the path, in a shoe in the bath even on top of her owner Nelson’s head. Nelson wants to put a stop to that and locks Omletta in the chicken coup.

Omletta resists. read this delightful picture book and find out what happens.

The text is rhyming and sing songee but the true star is Omletta. She has personality to burn and Deborah Hinde brings this out with her fabulous illustrations. Hens do have personality, I know as my granddaughters had a hen called Mildred and she loved to be stroked and made her nest all over the property.

This picture book won The Joy Cowley Award. Don’t miss it.


Don’t Cross the Line by Isabel Minho Martins, illus. Bernardo P. Carvalho.

July 20, 2016 Comments off

cross lineDon’t Cross the Line by Isabel Minho Martins, illus. Bernardo P. Carvalho. Pub. Gecko Press, 2016.

This is a sophisticated picture book from a Portuguese author and illustrator. Sophisticated in theme and in the complexity of the illustrations.

If you are going to have a revolution against a tyrannical regime then this peaceful way is the way to do it.

Inside the thick cardboard covers there appear more than 60 characters with their lives to live from a broad spectrum of a community. The title page has a fierce looking general sitting on an even fiercer horse bellowing at the guard how he gives the orders around here.

The guard is to stop any one from going onto the right hand page of the book. At first a dog tries to cross, then a man but the guard is fierce and vigilant. He explains ” I am only obeying orders” How many times has that been used as an excuse. The growing crowd think it is crazy,  something has got to give and as always children lead the way. The guard becomes a hero and the people have their victory.

The illustrations are bright water colours with all characters distinctive by their big purple noses which I am in favour of. As you follow the characters through the story you see the lives they have. Clara with son Rui and husband Joe in tow has a baby. Marcelino an ET type character needs to phone home and two prisoners need to get away.

There are many stories in the naked city this is a few of them. A multi level book.


The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett. Pub. Viking, 2010.

Sometimes you read a book that you know, whatever you say about it, is not going to do it justice. This is one such book.

It is a multi layer story of two gypsy boys who wander through a war ravaged country with their baby sister to look after. They come to a destroyed town that has a zoo with the animals still locked in their cages. They rest some time in the zoo and learn that the animals have voices that no-one in normal life can hear. An interchange of experience, life history and morality takes place between the animals and the young boys that leads to a surrealistic ending.

It is more than this however with the discussion analysing the the merits of war and freedom and the motives of those who wage war. What is freedom? How can war make people free?

The star of this novel is Harnett’s writing style. Sometimes lofty, always evocative, brilliantly descriptive and yet the story is so simple. This is really a fable of war and freedom and the effects that war has on the innocent both human and  animal.

I have been a Sonya Hartnett fan for some years and I heartily recommend all her novels to readers. Young readres should try The Silver Donkey and older readers Thursday’s Child.

This novel is for your thoughtful reader from Intermediate through to secondary school.