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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

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.

Up the Mountain by Marianne Dubuc.

October 19, 2018 Comments off

up the mountainUp the Mountain by Marianne Dubuc. Pub. Book Island, 2018.

There is something comforting and assuring about a Marianne Dubuc book and so it is with this one. Once again she deals with the routine in peoples lives and the cyclic nature of the way we do things.

The lion and the Bird reviewed earlier on this blog dealt with the seasonal cycle and routines, this hardback picture book deals with life routines as we age and there is more than a little Karma involved.

Mrs Badger is old but she has a lovely cottage with memories all around her and every Sunday she follows the track outside her cottage and walks to the top of the mountain behind her home. On the way she greets all the animals that inhabit her environment and best of all they greet her.

She sees a little cat watching her eat and invites it over to share her meal and accompany her to the top of the mountain. It is a wondrous view. As she gets old she needs help and eventually cannot make the walk but cat has learnt much from Mrs Badger and continues as Mrs badger had. How comforting and beautiful.

Splendid illustrations accompany and enhance the written text and there is much in the illustrations that will make you smile.

A gem of a story for newly confident readers and for everybody really. If only life was like this, though it could be if we tried.

Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo, Pictures by Harry Bliss.

October 11, 2018 Comments off

Good rosieGood Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo, Pictures by Harry Bliss. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

This sophisticated picture book, come comic book made me laugh.

It is the story of Rosie, a good but lonely dog and her good and probably lonely master, George. Each day begins with George having two poached eggs and Rosie having a shiny bowl of dog food. Rosie sees her image in the bottom of the bowl and says hello. The other dog never answers.

Then George has  a good idea and they go to the dog park. This changes life for both Rosie and George but you will have to read it to find out how. All I will say is that Rosie meets big dog Maurice and his bunny, plus Fifi with the bejeweled collar. George meets their owners.

Kate DiCamillo’s tight script is complimented by Harry Bliss’s superb illustrations. Each illustration is a work of art  with detail that enhances the text. You will read this more than once I can assure you and it will make you laugh.

Take your time reading this. savour every page. For everyone.

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.