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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

Only Freaks Turn Things Into Bones by Steff Green, illus. Bree Roldan

August 7, 2019 Comments off

freaksOnly Freaks Turn Things Into Bones by Steff Green, illus. Bree Roldan. Pub. Obscura, 2019.

Little Grim is a freak and he knows it. His dad is the Grim reaper and he wants little Grim to go to school but little Grim is going to face rejection and hostility because of hoe he looks and what happens when he touches things.

He runs to the graveyard where he feels at home and he meets Suzie who introduces him to others who have been rejected and bullied. Together they work on a mural about their lives.

Beautifully illustrated with a great last line “When “freaks” become friends we have way more fun”.

A sophisticated picture book with the theme of difference for everybody  especially those who are bored with reading.

Otto goes North by Ulrika Kestere

July 26, 2019 Comments off

ottoOtto goes North by Ulrika Kestere. Pub. Gecko Press, 2019

Otto the Lemur has cycled months, possibly years, to visit his friends in the north, Lisa the lynx and Nils the bear, and to see and paint the northern lights.

When he arrives on his red bike Lisa stops mowing the roof and they greet each other like long lost friends and settle down for tea.

But the climate is too cold for Otto and they need to thaw him out in the sauna. Nils and Lisa consult Lena the fox and the three decide to use their own fur dyed different colours and knit Otto a sweater to keep warm.

Will he paint the northern lights though? Check it and see.

Beautifully illustrated and an out there idea. Good read-a-loud for juniors.

Zanzibar by Catharina Valckx

July 25, 2019 Comments off

zanzibarZanzibar by Catharina Valckx. Pub. Gecko Press, 2019.

Wonderful story about the quest for fame. Is it worth it?

Zanzibar crow is at home doing what he is good at and what he enjoys – cooking omelets and eating them. I could live with that. Achille LeBlab a journalist with the local paper knocks on his door and asks if he can do anything exceptional.

When told he is ordinary Zanzibar sets out to do something exceptional to prove  Achille wrong and to find fame. He choses to show a rare feat of strength by lifting up a camel with one wing although a skinny dromedary will do.

See how he gets on in this very entertaining and readible short novel for junior readers although older readers will get a kick out of this too. Beautifully illustrated with the characters of Zanzibar and his friends outstanding.

Cloud Boy by Marcia Williams.

June 18, 2019 Comments off

cloud boyCloud Boy by Marcia Williams. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

This very memorable novel for middle school readers is written in diary form by Angela Moon. She has an artistic bent, has a pet goldfish called Edith and is extremely fortunate to have a Great grandma called Gertie.

Angie’s best friend is a sickly boy called Harry Christmas. He is a very determined soul who watches and records clouds on a daily basis in his journals. Angie and Harry were born 2 days apart and are inseparable.

With their fathers’ help they build a tree house which they call Artcloud and they spend much of their spare time there looking at clouds and doing art work. Then Harry gets seriously ill. Read it and find out what happens.

Much of the drama of this book are letters written by great grandma Gertie to her cat when as a young girl she was imprisoned in Changi jail after the fall of Singapore in 1942. The letters tell of the cruelty of the Japanese captors to the women and children. It tells of a real life quilt made by the women and girls to pass time in the wretched conditions of Changi Jail.

A superb story of human endurance from the past and in the present as Angela deals with the illness of her best friend. Very easy to read with short diary entries.

Harriet and the eye of the bird by Julie Lamb.

May 26, 2019 Comments off

harrietHarriet and the eye of the bird by Julie Lamb. Pub. The Cuba Press wellington, 2019.

This novel for primary and intermediate girls could well have been sub titled “the secret life of girls” because that is what it comes down to.

Harriet loves her dad and can see no wrong in him, but after staying out all night with a mate he leaves after a torrid argument with Harriet’s mum. He stays away, phones once and misses Harriet’s birthday. Her mum tells her to get used to it but Harriet sees only herself.

Her life is coming apart and she has a lot of learning to do. The family move to a house they can afford and the mother and big sister Claire accept the circumstances. Harriet misses her friends but is shunned when she goes back for a birthday party.

Harriet tries to make friends with a girl who is under the control of a very nasty girl. Why? A shy girl Alice comes into her life through school and Harriet treats her the same way she is treated by the girl she wants so much to befriend. She has to learn the true meaning of friendship. Read it and find out how. There is a tree and birds to help her.

Great conversation between characters who are nearly all female but there is a lovely granddad. As a granddad of two girls this book spoke to me and I read it in two sittings. You will too.

Julie lamb paces the novel perfectly and builds on her success  with The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain, also reviewed on this blog. A writer to watch.

 

Emmett and Caleb by Karen Hottois & Delphine Renon

February 18, 2019 Comments off

emmettEmmett and Caleb by Karen Hottois & Delphine Renon. Pub. Book Island, 2018.

This feel good picture book about two friends going through a year together is a delight to read.

Emmett has a small green house and next door is Caleb’s house with blue shutters. Emmett is a get up and go sort of person but knows how to relax and Caleb is a lie in bed person and you accept him for what he is.

It starts in spring when all good stories start and eases into summer. Then the friends fall out a bit and both successfully patch it up. Autumn arrives with a gust of wind and winter beckons with a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

The illustrations are perfect, pen and ink drawings with water colours. The detail in the illustrations will make you wonder and smile. Aah if only life were this simple and easy.

A story for everybody.

Maudlin Towers2. Treasure of the Golden Skull by Chris Priestley

December 6, 2018 Comments off

golden skullMaudlin Towers2. Treasure of the Golden Skull by Chris Priestley. Pub. Bloomsbury Childrens Books, 2018.

Cor blimey O’Reilly this is good. Quality writing, crazy plot, even crazier characters, full of humour and wit and so easy to read.

Mildew and Sponge are friends at a run down private school called Maudlin Towers. The opening chapter has one of the spires falling through the headmasters office. Both teachers and pupils are full of gloom about going to the school but feel they have nowhere better to go.

Then the School Board refuse to fund the repairs and the school is rumoured to be closing. How can this change?

Well it is discovered that the founding fathers of the school were pirates led by Greenbeard, captain of the Golden Skull, and the captain’s treasure could be hidden somewhere in the school and environs.

Firstly the school Board, who look and act like pirates, remove all the teaching staff and a new boy called Newboy joins the school. Sponge is walloped on the head and keeps seeing a parrot around the school grounds but his friend Mildew is skeptical “I had a cousin once who thought he could see Charles Dickens. It turned out to be a hatstand. He’s an MP now so be warned.”

The characters are weird. Miss Bronteen pines for a lost love on the moors and Kenningworth is a total rotter out of the top drawer. Then there is Miss Nevermiss!

Superb humour and excellent pen and ink sketches of the characters make this an excellent read for even the most reluctant boy reader. I was fascinated from go to woe and there is a lot of woe.

Intermediate and junior secondary.