Posts Tagged ‘grandparents’

Blimmin’ Koro! Katahi ra e Koro e! by Jill Bevan-Brown, illus. Trish Bowles. Translated Mahaki Bevan-Brown. Pub. Oratia, 2021

September 15, 2021 Comments off

A lovely bilingual picture book for primary students written in both English and Maori.

Koro (granddad) is getting old and getting dementia. he plays gleefully with his grandchildren and they notice that he is getting their names wrong. Blimmin’ Koro says nana.

He lets his grandchildren swing on the clothes line blimmin’ Koro says Nana.

Nan takes Koro to the doctor and he forgets things. He gets lost, hides things and ends up in a wheelchair. The children still love his company and Koro and nan have photographs of their life together to share with the grandchildren.

message is old people are precious and special and the good thing is the children in this book know that.

Don’t miss this one it is heartfelt.

Excellent illustrations capture that look in the faces of the character and granddads dementia is wonderfully portrayed as is the kids bewilderment and joy.

The Stolen Stars of Matariki by Miriama kamo, Illus. Zak Waipara

May 7, 2018 Comments off

matarikiThe Stolen Stars of Matariki by Miriama kamo, Illus. Zak Waipara. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

When I went to school I never heard of Matariki or Pleiades as the Greeks called it. The Maori have always known about it and it is an important celestial entity in their culture.

I first read children’s literature about it in the 90’s and it has since been a point of celebration in schools and the community when it first swims into our ken.

Miriama Kamo in this excellent picture book has added mystery and legend to the existence of Matariki and she has added it to the mystique of that powerful piece of landscape known as Birdlings Flat, a place noted for it’s steep shingle shoreline , it’s eels and the thunderous surf that slams into it during a southerly storm.

Amongst the shingle beach are pieces of agate that look like gemstones and it is conjectured that they are part of two extra stars now missing from these Seven Sisters.

Zak Waipara’s digital animation gives life to the written text with the gems appearing in the stars of Matariki, the agate of the shingle beach and in the wonderous eyes of the children as they go eeling and searching with their grandfather and grandma.

We need these myths and stories to enhance our understanding of the place of humankind in this vastness of the Universe. Children of all ages will love it.

Grandad’s Guitar by Janine McVeagh. illus. Fifi Colston.

May 24, 2017 Comments off

grandads guitarGrandad’s Guitar by Janine McVeagh. illus. Fifi Colston. Pub. Makaro Press, 2017.

When Kahu is given a worn and scratched old guitar for his birthday by his Nana, he is not pleased. “why can’t I have a new one?“.

So Nana tells him the history of the guitar that was owned by his grandfather, has been around the world, entertained people from many cultures and was a strong binding factor in the relationship between his grandparents.

As Nana tells this story to Kahu he is learning to play the guitar and has three chords mastered by the end of the story.

It is probably set in the 1970’s when many New Zealanders took off for their OE on board an Italian passenger liner. I did and this picture book has a strong nostalgia about it for me and  I suspect many other grandparents out there. This is their story too.

Grandfather played the guitar all over Europe, through the Middle East to India. It nearly got swept away but now Kahu has it. He is proud.

Fifi Colston’s excellent illustrations show the hippy culture of the time, the combi van, the relationship between the grandparents and the various cultures that they met in their travels.

All in all a classy publication. It is released today at $25.00 a copy. Well worth it.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

Grandad’s Wheelies by Jack Lasenby, illus. Bob Kerr

August 2, 2016 Comments off

wheeliesGrandad’s Wheelies by Jack Lasenby, illus. Bob Kerr. Pub. Puffin, 2016.

Any children who have grandparents as imaginative and daring as Jack’s grandparents would be very lucky indeed. Jack’s grandparents can spin off a yarn and shaggy dog story at the expense of each other like dropping a hat.

This novel for primary and intermediate aged children is a collection of 30 over the top stories from New Zealand’s master of the tall story Jack Lasenby. Some of the stories have a legendary feel about them others cast light on a bygone age and others are just straight shaggy dog. All however are very funny and ingenious.

What’s more they give life to old people and their relationships with their grandchildren, one of the closest and dearest family relationships. Jack Lasenby is not going to let the wisdom and humorous experiences of granddad and granny be forgotten and grandson Jack is the winner. So is everyone who reads this book.

I liked all the stories but my favourite was Chapter 10 How we call things by Different Names. If you have ever yelled at the News or cringed at Aunt Daisy you will understand why.

As ever Bob Kerr supplies telling illustrations that enhance the fun of this book.

My Grandpa is a Dinosaur by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones.

April 21, 2016 Comments off

grandpa dinosaurMy Grandpa is a Dinosaur by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones. Pub Penguin/Random House, 2016.

Not many picture books have the word palaeontologist in the text, and not many will have the multi level appeal of this memorable picture book for everybody.

Wanda knows that grandpa is a dinosaur but nobody else seems to notice. There is plenty of evidence – grandpa’s skin is green, he has a tail and he is the only grandpa to eat a whole tree at the Grandparents Day picnic.

So Wanda takes a direct approach and asks her grandpa if he is a dinosaur “of course I am ” he replies. But he is not the only one, read and find out where the others are.

Excellent story with minimum written text. Brevity is the key to all humour and Terry Jones knows this. Richard Fairgray has provided perceptive whole page illustrations with the facial expressions, particularly of grandpa superb.Tara Black’s colouring is also a standout feature.

Add in the unique relationship between Wanda and her grandpa and you have a picture book with the aaah and wow factor. If you don’t get this for your school or your children at home you are mad.

As a granddad myself, I haven’t been called a dinosaur yet, but my day is coming. My granddaughters have had it read to them every day this week at bed time. “that’s you granddad” said the younger one on day one.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

Maia and What Matters by Tine Mortier, Illus Kaatje Vermeire

December 27, 2013 Comments off

Maia mattersMaia and What Matters by Tine Mortier, Illus Kaatje Vermeire. Pub. Book Island Ltd, 2013. 

One of the most heartfelt and lovely sophisticated picture books I have read.

It deals as the title says with “what matters”. It is a human relationship story between Maia, a strong willed,  adventurous, cake loving girl and her equally strong willed, adventurous and cake loving grand mother. They do everything together until a fateful day when grandma stumbled and lay on the ground.

Maia can’t understand. She waits by grandma’s bed in hospital. When grandma wakes from the stroke only Maia can tell what she is talking about and thinking.

But then more shattering news hits the family.Grandma is revitalised and with Maia’s help makes an essential journey. More importantly she can say cake again but also goodbye.

The illustrations by Kaatje  Vermeire are perfect. They are like printmaking dominated by browns and greys but with splashes of cherry and pink. Grandma and Maia both wear cherry and pink dresses when all is well but grandma changes after the stroke while Maia continues with cherry and pink.

What is truely special is when grandad explains to Maia about grandma. Not a word is written  as Maia and grandad sit on a park bench, Maia in her cherry dress, head bowed, grandad hatless amongst the browns and dark grey of the trees and backyard where Maia and grandma once frolicked.

Lovely human ending for a very classy picture book. For all ages, don’t miss this one.

Categories: Picture book, Realism Tags:

Granny Grommet and Me by Dianne Wolfer and Karen Blair

December 28, 2012 Comments off

grommetGranny Grommet and Me by Dianne Wolfer, illus. Karen Blair. Pub. Walker books, 2013.

What’s a grommet you ask? Any surfer will tell you and so will this picture book so you better read it.

Granny and her three friends go surfing and snorkle diving. They each have their own colour plus wet suit, waterproof cap, snorkle and sunscreen.

While the oldies surf, the little boy who is unsure in the water waits with his dog on the beach. Granny comes ashore and helps her grandson to get used to the water and overcome his fears.

The oldies add fun to this story which will appeal to the adults, and that trusting friendship between old and young is wonderfully celebrated.

Karen Blair’s water colour illustrations overlayed by chinagraph pencils and acrylic paint, compliment the written text and enhance the humour and warmth of the story. The great Australian coastline is beautifully portrayed.

In the back are safety tips for going out in the sun and swimming and surfing in the sea.

A great addition for any home with primary children and school libraries.