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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

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.

Sam and the Dog from the Sea by Judy and Dick Frizzell.

May 3, 2018 Comments off

sam and dogSam and the Dog from the Sea by Judy and Dick Frizzell. Pub. Duck Creek Press, 2018.

Sam the old sea dog lives in a caravan by the sea and wears a feather in his captain’s hat.

While gardening he sees the dark clouds rolling in and a storm is on the way. Sam likes storms because they wash interesting things up on the beach.

after this storm the usual clutter of stuff is washed up but this time something special. A  little dog, half dad washes up. Sam cleans and feeds him and names Fluffy. it is beginning of a long friendship.

A heart warming story that was first published in 1984 but it says so much about friendship between a man and a dog that it merits being published again. Check it and see you will not be disappointed.

I did note that the old man looks a lot like the artist himself.

Well told and great detail in the illustrations.

Me Too by Erika Geraerts & Charl Laubscher, illus. by Gatsby.

March 5, 2018 Comments off

me tooMe Too by Erika Geraerts & Charl Laubscher, illus. by Gatsby. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

The authors and illustrator are clearly in a good place with this excellent picture book.

The simplicity of the written text is matched by the illustrations and it is the sort of book that makes you say aww! when you finish it.

Boy and girl talk about qualities they would like in a person to share their lives with. After each states a quality in turn the other says “me too“‘

It begins with the line “I hope I find someone who wants to go on adventures every day” and ends with “I hope I find someone I like…as much as I like you”

The children are young and simply drawn with childhood activities around them. They have their dreams too. If only life were as simple as this. Aww!

The Holidays by Blexbolex.

February 17, 2018 Comments off

holidaysThe Holidays by Blexbolex. Pub. Gecko Press, 2018.

This is a wordless picture book of novel size that tells a story of a little girl spending the end of the holidays with her grandfather. The girl likes her own space, does not like to share with others and dreams.

Then grandfather tells her to get ready because they are going to the station to meet a friend. She reluctantly goes and the gets a surprise at the friend. It is a baby elephant who is very playful and can do things that other elephants can’t do, like play tennis.

The girl resents the elephant but he really is good company and other children like him. The two fight and the elephant takes off on a stormy night putting himself in danger. The girl has cause for regret.

There is more to the story than this and each reader can read their own version into it. That is what makes it so good. Imagination!!

It is however the artwork which gives this book it’s class. It recreates the french countryside and the moods and desires of the little girl, grandfather and the elephant. Each double page is like a painting and there is a mystery. A clock appears at times showing the time but it has an extra red hand. What does this mean?

It is a superb creation from a french artist who is known throughout the world and says this a story about experience. It sure is. If it is possible to put mime on paper then this is it.

Turtles all the Way Down by John Green.

October 27, 2017 Comments off

turtlesTurtles all the Way Down by John Green. Pub. Penguin Random House, Imprint Puffin, 2017

This latest novel by John Green will get inside your brain and shake it around. No-one writes about the teenage psyche and condition better than John Green. In parts it gets deeper and further out than you want it to,until life crashes in and puts you on an even keel again.

Holmsey is 17 years old and thinks she is a fiction. She cannot control the body she has and she has constant intrusive thoughts that she doesn’t want and cause her to behave in a destructive way towards her self. She is realistic about her condition and doesn’t know why people tolerate her.

Fortunately she has a caring mother and a best friend Daisy with whom she shares some remarkable conversations. The banter between the two of them is a highlight of the novel. Adolescent sanity is so 20th century.

All this sounds like a heavy plot, and it is, but it is lightened quite considerably by the disappearance of billionaire Russell Pickett the father of a once friend of Holmesy whose name is Davis. Daisy convinces Holmesy to look up her old friend when $100,000 is offered  for information that leads to the whereabouts of Russell Pickett.

This starts off a relationship between Holmesy and Davis that will lead to the unraveling of her problems.

Two things puzzled me about this book. Firstly the meaning of the title, but you will learn this towards the end of the novel and Secondly Holmesy. I read the first 40 or so pages not knowing if it was a male or female character. See if it happens to you. When I found out her name was Aza, I thought amazing. See if you can understand why.

Very deep, often disconcerting, superbly written and essential to read. I loved it from start to finish. Teenagers and young adults will love it. I will leave you with a thought from the book ‘When the weather is fine and ordinary you don’t notice it but when it is cold and you can see your breath, you can’t ignore it”. Check it out.