Archive

Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Watch Me! by Jenni Francis.

April 7, 2018 Comments off

watch meWatch Me! by Jenni Francis. Pub. jennifrancis.com  2018

The most recent short novel for intermediate and junior secondary girls from the Keri series about Keri and her friend Mereana who are now 13 years old.

The girls go to visit cousin Claire on a farm that runs horse trekking holidays as well as stocking sheep and cattle. Someone is stealing horses sheep and cattle from Claire’s farm and from surrounding farms and the girls are going to become involved.

It is not the only drama in the book as Claire has found lumps under her arm and has bad sweats in bed at night but this is not going to hold her back.

As usual this short novel is tightly written with realistic dialogue between the girls and other characters. It has great family values and is written at a pace that keeps you in the book.

Who would have thought that Morse Code would be still useful in these days of cell phones. Read it and find out why. Lots of horse talk.

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.

Radio Boy and the Revenge of Grandad by Christian O’Connell

March 5, 2018 Comments off

radio boyRadio Boy and the Revenge of Grandad by Christian O’Connell. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

This is a sequel to Radio Boy in which middle schooler Spike Hughes took on his spiteful headmaster and won by setting up his own radio station in his garden shed.

This story has him competing with his granddad a former cruise ship entertainer with a Pepe Le Pew hairstyle who goes by the name Toni Fandango, has been kicked out of the house by Spike’s grandma, and now shares Spike’s bedroom.

After taking over Spike’s Radio show and being sacked by his grandson it is all on when the local DJ on Kool FM runs a competition to hire a replacement while he goes on holiday.

All is fair in love and war and radio competitions but who will win? In the final Spike has to interview the winner of the best dog competition and grandad has to interview the cow of the year. In between time it is mayhem.

Easy to read with large font, short chapters and illustrations. In recent weeks I have talked to many middle and lower school children and this type of story is very popular indeed. Some great writers like James Patterson, Matt Stanton, David Baddiel and others are writing in similar style and reluctant boys and girls love them. Many are reviewed on this blog so check them out they are a good laugh and have good values.

Moo and Moo and Can you guess Who? by Jane Milton, illus. Deborah Hinde.

October 19, 2017 Comments off

Moo & MooMoo and Moo and Can you guess Who? by Jane Milton, illus. Deborah Hinde. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017

Of all the animals in the World the two with the most appealing and expressive eyes are the giraffe and the cow. In this truly New Zealand picture book about cows, Deborah Hinde has got them just right.

The story is set 9 months after the earthquake that left Moo And Moo and the calf too, stranded on  a hill created by the earthquake that required them to be helicoptered off. Now both Moo and Moo are expecting calves and have remained friends.

I wonder how many Moos there will be at the end of the book? Read it and find out.

The text is rhyming and sometimes is a little forced but it doesn’t matter. We all wanted to know what happened to those cows. A strong New Zealand flavour and a worthwhile purchase for the home and the school library.

Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kristina Andres. Translated by Sally-Ann Spencer.

August 29, 2017 Comments off

good nightGood Night, Sleep Tight by Kristina Andres. Translated by Sally-Ann Spencer. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

Fox and rabbit share a house together and even sleep in the same bed but they have trouble getting to sleep and are a bit obsessed with saying good night.

These are eleven and a half read-a-loud story for primary aged students in which rabbit, fox and friends analyse their sleeping habits which at times is laugh out loud funny.

It is no use counting sheep as it makes fox’s whiskers twinge, although elephant finds it quite soothing. With elephant they decide to sleep like bats in the pear tree, the tree is not amused.

There are some interesting characters beside fox, rabbit and elephant namely Granny Wolf with the gold tooth that shines in the dark, the wolf with the leather jacket and of course Lottie the sheepdog.

The illustrations are superb creating an idyllic world and characters that are unique. I loved elephant’s glasses and Lottie’s deer stalker hat.

A classy piece of work in picture book sized publication.

Kid Normal by Greg James & Chris Smith, illus. Erica Salcedo.

August 8, 2017 Comments off

kid normalKid Normal by Greg James & Chris Smith, illus. Erica Salcedo. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

This novel for middle school, intermediate and junior secondary school readers is one of the most bizarre stories I have ever read. That’s not putting it down, its a compliment because reluctant readers are the big challenge these days and this story will suck them in.

There are two strands to the plot, one for each author, and they are skillfully brought together as the book proceeds. The first is about Murph, a boy who has moved schools so many times he is fed up to the back teeth. He is mistakenly accepted by a school that deals with children who have a weird talent or capability some of super hero status but not all. They discover Murph is just normal but he adjusts to his new life. Will he become a hero?

The second strand is about Clive Meeke a scientist working on DNA who is pressured by his boss. Who isn’t these days? While conducting an experiment with a wasp in the room things go pear shaped and Meeke becomes power crazy Nektar, half man half wasp.

If you want to know any more you will have to read it yourself but if you just want a snippet to get the feel of the book there is a short story in the middle of the book that mimics James Bond, about a super hero The Blue Phantom,  that is just brilliant.

Written by two BBC Radio 1 jocks who have the gift of the gab the story is never drab. Some of the idiom and metaphor are superb with Erica Salcedo providing illustrations that enhance the plot and give you an idea of what the characters look like.

It is a good laugh and reading should be fun.

I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon

July 24, 2017 Comments off

ate my friendI Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

I have been sitting on this potentially award winning picture book for a few weeks now and I just have to get it out. Why you say? Because it is multi level, thought provoking, funny, with illustrations that are so simple I could have done them, yet it has that je ne sais quoi.

On a child’s level it has a strong message of, “be careful who you chose as a friend.” It also looks at ways in which we make judgments on who our friends should be.

At an adult level, while everything above is relevant, it deals with old adage of “what goes round comes round”.

A monster regrets that he has eaten his best and only friend, he ponders the meaning of this and goes looking for a new friend. In the end another monster chooses him. He is happy for a while, but………

Lots of black with bright colours on whole pages and white font in short but perceptive sentences. The ending is a killer.

Juniors will love it but older children and adults will be bewitched too.