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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

The Life and Times of Eddie Mcgrath by Brigid Feehan. Pub, Onetree House, 2021

June 11, 2021 Comments off

Eddie short for Edwina is an imaginative junior high school student with a caring and bizarre family including two older sisters and an aunty who is a Druid. She has stunned everybody by winning a competition in which she becomes an MP for the day in his or her constituency office, then has to prepare a speech and meet the Prime Minister, all on camera.

She has a couple of good friends Meri and a boy named Liam and it is all innocent and idealistic. Such is young life. Their lives are hectic and things change very quickly but they are caring and well meaning. The story is narrated by Eddie and she agonises over her life with her friends as young girls do.

Hanging over her head is of course the meeting with the PM and her speech but many other things are happening. Her father has an accident and a boy from Christchurch who also won the competition wants to come to Wellington to meet her.

The best story however involves Liam and his arthritic dog Russ. Liam is not happy with some chickens that are being mistreated by a neighbour so he removes them in a chilly bin and ensconces them on the top floor of an abandoned and earthquake risky former convent. Then he changes his mind and decides to put them back but is caught. This introduces another character and another situation.

Brigid Feehan links all the stories together in a witty spirited novel for intermediate and junior secondary readers. Eddie is a committed reader herself and this novel is probably best suited for girls although not necessarily so. I enjoyed it and it shows that life doesn’t always go smooth but if you adapt to the changes you might get a better than asked for result.

Cricket Crazy by Vivienne Bailey. Pub. Cuba Press 2021.

March 19, 2021 Comments off

Tom is 11 years old, at Rewa Intermediate school and is crazy about cricket. His father was a good cricketer and has an old bat with the autograph of some famous NZ cricketers including Martin Crowe. Tom’s best friend Fletcher plays cricket too and so does Izzy a girl that Tom likes but keeps it to himself. She is an all rounder and there is nothing worse for a boy than to be bowled out by a girl.

Tom is still missing his dead mother when dad turns up with a red headed lass called Tanya who has taken over all his dad’s attention. Worse thing of all is they are kissing and cuddling and Tanya doesn’t like his dog Archie who is moved from his home comforts to out of doors.

A cricket competition is to be played with the final to be played at the Basin Reserve. Tom wants to get there but things are not going well for him. Then his favourite bat is nicked at a cricket game and Fletcher gets glandular fever.

Will Tom make it? How about dad and Tanya? What has Izzy got to do with it all? Read it and find out.

Lots of cricket talk and a glossary of terms in the back of the book. Good advice for a young cricketer and for any sport in fact. practice, have confidence in yourself, concentrate and play for your team.

A first novel for this author and I think she is on the right track with this novel about cricket and family and school life.

The cover looks very much like Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor batting together and they do get a mention in the novel.

Honk by Elizabeth Pulford, illus. Astrid Matijasevich. Pub. One Tree House, 2021.

February 23, 2021 Comments off

Honk is a goose who has been battered by a storm in the night and needs to recuperate. He chooses the sandpit in Henry’s backyard and Honks.

Henry, the cat and henry’s mother and little sister accept the goose and treat it with respect. henry feeds it and this is a sure way to become friends with any animal. Henry and Honk become friends with Henry showing Honk the way to the pond.

Henry’s mother knows Honk will go as soon as it is time and soon that time is up. Read it and see what happens.

A delightful story is enhanced by delightful quirky, childlike illustrations with lots of colour and expressive eyes in all the characters. Illustrations do not have to be drawn to scale to have effect.

.There is a warm fuzzy feeling about this picture book which is a story of friendship, acceptance and respect for wildlife.

Will You Be My Friend? by Sam McBratney, illus. Anita Jeram

December 8, 2020 Comments off

Another heart warming picture book from the author of the hugely popular Guess How Much I love You? and illustrated by the same Anita Jeram.

Little Nutbrown hare is becoming independent and wants to explore the world around him. Big Nutbrown hare lets him go ” but not too far”.

Little Nutbrown hare meets a white Snow hare , a female, and they play together. They dig a deep hole and build a pile high. Then Snow hare disappears and Little Nutbrown hare goes home happy with his adventures.

He tells Big Nutbrown hare and then guess what happens? Read this charming picture book and find out.

Beautifully illustrated, the facial expressions are adorable. I guess people will read things into this story. The White and the Brown? but it is a story of independence and friendship.

Great read-a-loud for juniors.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. A Hunger Games Novel by Suzanne Collins.

June 4, 2020 Comments off

songbirdsThe Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. A Hunger Games Novel by Suzanne Collins. Pub Scholastic, 2020.

When I talked about the Hunger Games trilogy in schools when it first came out, the kids were riveted but their teachers were appalled that it involved children killing children. This sequel  addresses that concern and the rest of the inhumane treatment  that is meted out to the children and inhabitants of the 12 Districts by the rulers of Panem in the Capitol.

The civil war that resulted from the Hunger Games is over and the rebels from the Districts were defeated but not eliminated. Cassus Snow the Capitol leader is killed and there is a new guard, but Capitol has inflicted severe and more inhuman control over the Districts. The  10th Hunger Games are to take place and one of the most vile and sadistic characters I have read in children’s literature, a woman named Dr Gaul, is in charge of presenting the games. She is a Dr Mengle type who experiments on animals and humans.

A boy and girl from each of the 12 Districts are to take part in the games they are called tributes, but this time they each have a Mentor from Capitol to guide them. Coriolanus Snow son of Cassus Snow is to mentor Lucy Gray Baird from District 12 where Katniss came from. The relationship between Coriolanus and Lucy is at the heart of this novel but it is not the only one of importance.

The relationship between Sejanus Plinth, the son of a wealthy family and Coriolanus is of equal importance as Sejanus is also a mentor of a competitor in the Hunger games. It is Sejanus that heads the argument against the inhumane and barbaric treatment of the Districts and in particular the tributes in the games supported by Coriolanus in his relationship with Lucy. Can they change the way Capitol regards the District people?

As the games start inside an arena, not in an outdoor environment as with the first series, and the killing starts, all hell breaks loose.

If you are a new reader of this series do not worry you will not be all at sea, but if you have read the first series you will be totally absorbed in the new circumstances and at the more severe inhumane and barbaric treatment of the tributes in the Games

No characters from the earlier Trilogy are in this novel.

Stunningly written but not for the faint hearted. From Intermediate to YA in appeal. Over 500 pages long.

Tulip and Doug by Emma Wood & Carla Martell.

May 25, 2020 Comments off

tulipTulip and Doug by Emma Wood & Carla Martell. Pub. Scholastic, 2020.

A delightful hard backed picture book that will enthrall you and readers of pre school and primary level.

Tulip has a friend that she takes with her everywhere. His name is Doug and he is a potato. She puts a face on Doug and he sleeps in his own bed in Tulips room.

They have fun together but Tulips father tells her that one day Doug will have to take the trip to the compost heap. One day when she is taking Doug for a trip in his pram, Tulip trips and Doug is missing. Where has he gone?

Then Tulip meets a boy who has a friend too and he asks Tulip Where is your potato?

Wnderful story about imaginary friends and the nature of friendship.

Doug is superbly drawn and looks remarkably like a former NZ politician. Tulip is delightful and her father is the father to be. A surprise ending.

Goodbye Comet Created by Hannah Davison, Flicka Williams and Marco Palmieri.

February 22, 2020 Comments off

cometGoodbye Comet Created by Hannah Davison, Flicka Williams and Marco Palmieri. Pub. Human Beans Press, 2020.

Dealing with death of a parent, a sibling a friend or a pet is hard on everybody but for children it is a new experience that they have to learn about. This is the purpose of this excellent picture book for juniors , primary and intermediate level children.

Comet is a live wire cheeky cockatoo with a black beak and yellow head feathers. When Perry and his friend Bob play pirate and explorer games in their tree house Comet fits in beautifully. Even at night  Comet sticks around to watch the heavens.

Then one day Comet gets up no more. Bob and Perry are distraught. With parental assistance they bury him with dignity and the tears flow.

How do they get over Comet’s death? Read it and find out and know well that the advice is superb. In the back there are 12 points for adults to consider to help in this big moment in Bob and Perry’s lives.

The illustrations are on the nail. Bright eyed innocent children, a cheeky cockatoo and parents who are there but not intrusive.

Part of a series on hard emotions children have to deal with.

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 how 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.