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Posts Tagged ‘Humour’

Grandpa versus Swing by Tania Sickling, illus. Lael Chisholm. Pub. Scholastic, 2021.

August 16, 2021 Comments off

Debut picture book for Tania Sickling and winner of the Joy Cowley Award and I am not surprised. As a grandpa I could relate to this story and know the enjoyment that grandchildren get when granddad gets in a pickle.

Grandpa is very competitive eager to show his grandkids that he has still got it. He gets on a swing and brandishes himself about until it is time to get out and go for dinner. He is stuck, the children are greatly amused but how is he going to get out? Can grandma sort the situation out and will his dinner get cold? Check it and find out.

Told in rhyming text which is witty and not forced “He tried to jump out, but the new swing had got him! It danced around him, stuck fast to his bottom”.

Illustrations are superb especially those of the changing features and mood of the grandpa.

Great for reading aloud and for telling stories about relationships between children and their grandpa.

A classy little package.

Deadhead by Glenn Wood illus. Scott Pearson. Pub. OneTree House, 2020.

November 2, 2020 Comments off

This novel for reluctant readers, particularly boys, starts at a rate of knots and never lets the reader go until the end. It has action, it is violent, it is over the top witty, it is very clever and it has a satisfying ending.

You can’t get better than that.

Spenser and his friend Regan are 13 years old. Spenser is very smart and Regan likes to be around him not that he notices her very much in the way she notices him.

Spenser is being bullied by a rich kid, Carl, who forms a gang based on the Yakuza. Spenser provides him with a samurai sword but it still does not stop the bullying. Spenser has a plan to resurrect a copper who was recently killed in a gang confrontation, turn him into a robot with some clever engineering and protect himself from Carl and his pretend Yakuza gang.

Regan and Spenser dig the decomposing body up and create a moveable zombie like character dressed in his ex cop uniform. It solves the problem for a while but then something weird happens but you will have to read the novel to find out what it is.

Needless to say they have created a crazy zombie cop with a heart. The real Yakuza come into it as does a criminal gang.

Superb creative and imaginative novel that will make you laugh all the way through. Told in short chapters with graphic novel illustrations at the end of each chapter that summarise the important action.

One of the best novels of the year.

Omletta Hen by Janelle Wilkey, Illus. Deborah Hinde.

August 13, 2020 Comments off

omlettaOmletta Hen by Janelle Wilkey, Illus. Deborah Hinde. Pub.Scholastic 2020.

A great read  aloud picture book about a hen with oodles of personality. With a name like Omletta you feel that she has survived a great fate and is determined that her own eggs will be free.

Omletta lays her eggs everywhere, in the garden, on the path, in a shoe in the bath even on top of her owner Nelson’s head. Nelson wants to put a stop to that and locks Omletta in the chicken coup.

Omletta resists. read this delightful picture book and find out what happens.

The text is rhyming and sing songee but the true star is Omletta. She has personality to burn and Deborah Hinde brings this out with her fabulous illustrations. Hens do have personality, I know as my granddaughters had a hen called Mildred and she loved to be stroked and made her nest all over the property.

This picture book won The Joy Cowley Award. Don’t miss it.

 

Ma Wai E Hautu? by Leo Timmers.

August 6, 2020 Comments off

ma wai e hautuMa Wai E Hautu? by Leo Timmers. Pub. Gecko press, 2020.

This is an unusual board book in Maori language but it is funny and the illustrations are a treat to behold.

The left hand page always has the same four words which translate as we are the helpers. Then the right hand page has a fire engine, a blue car, a yellow racing car, a tractor and a number of other means of transport.

However the most valuable part is that each page introduces a wild animal with it’s Maori name. I wonder if many people know that Arewhana means elephant or kakiroa means giraffe.

A board book for juniors and pre schoolers which helps them learn the Maori language.

I talked to my Maori neighbour about the translation and she thought it was fun.

The Longdrop by Joan Joass, illus. Bob Darroch.

July 2, 2020 Comments off

longdropThe Longdrop by Joan Joass, illus. Bob Darroch. Pub. Oratia, 2020.

Where would the good old Kiwi camping holiday be without a longdrop or dunny as we call it.

Mum, dad,three kids and the cat go camping. The toilet is a fairly long way away so dad with all his do-it-yourself skills builds a longdrop. It is his pride and joy with a comfortable white seat and room for a few other things.

But he doesn’t dig it deep enough and the methane and a lighted match can cause disaster. Read it and see what happens.

Told in rhyming text by Joan Joass with Bob Darroch chipping in with some great illustrations as usual. he gets the family right but watch the cat, it is not in every image but his incredulous looks steal the show.

 

Lisette’s Green Sock by Catharina Valckx. Translated by Antony Shugaar.

June 25, 2020 Comments off

green sockLisette’s Green Sock by Catharina Valckx. Translated by Antony Shugaar. Pub. Gecko Press, 2020.

If I wanted a go to a picture book to cheer me up, this is the one I would read. It’s about individuality and difference and how everybody can use things in a different way. In this instance it is a green sock and a very comfortable looking sock it is too.

On a bright sunny day, Lisette goes out for a walk“. She passes her mum reading a book. Lisette and her mum both wear head scarfs, which I like, and they both are birds, probably chickens. Lisette finds a single green sock, likes it and puts on her left foot although it ends up on her right foot by the time she gets back home again.

Bert the rat likes the sock too but he prefers it as a hat. Tim and Tom cat find the other sock and Lisette and Bert give chase but they throw it on the river where fish finds it. What do you think fish will do with it? read it and find out.

The illustrations are superb, the colours are pastel, the characterisation inspired, and it can be used as a read aloud for juniors. Quite simply the best picture book this year. Don’t miss it.

Mustn’t Grumble. In Search of England and the English by Joe Bennett.

May 19, 2020 Comments off

grumbleMustn’t Grumble. In Search of England and the English by Joe Bennett. Pub.Pocket Books, imprint Simon& Schuster, 2007.

I have had this book about 10 years now and with a dearth of children and YA books on the market right now, I decided to read it. What a joy! It made my heart sing. I do warn you though, if you are an aspiring writer stay away it will totally demoralize you with the class of writing.

The title tells you all you want to know, the text is the evidence. Bennett’s descriptive prose and use of simile and metaphor is outstanding superseded only by his magnificent sense of humour and appreciation of the absurd.

Joe read H.V. Morton’s travel story In Search of England when he was 16years, after 18 years in New Zealand he went back to England to follow the trail of Morton to see how things had changed or remained the same. He finds both.

I will not spoil it for you by telling you much more about what he found but I will tell this story. He borrowed a friends Audi to travel around having found hitch hiking impossible. He wanted to visit a place called Coombe Gibbet where a couple who had murdered children were hung. He stopped to ask a man directions and this is how he described him.  “His accent is not of place but of status. It purrs with income and I hear my own accent revving up through the tax brackets to meet it. I always do that in England….In new Zealand I don’t do it.

If you want to read literature of quality then this is a masterpiece.

Blong the Cat’s Costume Caper by Karen McMillan.

November 25, 2019 Comments off

blongBlong the Cat’s Costume Caper by Karen McMillan. Pub. Duckling Publishing, 2019.

December 2 Release

Never take a male shopping for clothes unless the clothes are for him or he is paying.

That is the mistake that Blong the cat and Emma make when Blong receives a wedding invitation. They take twin brother Ethan and he is down on everything without any thought. He just doesn’t want to be there.

A black bow tie, which i thought looked great, is boring. A floral shirt is too busy, i love that phrase. A pirate outfit is too dark, a banana is too yellow and a disco outfit is too old. After ten rejections Blong goes back to one of his previous choices. Guess which one it is?

The story is great and it doubles as a counting book. Count the shoes at the bottom of each  outfit.

I thought it was funny and a good read-a-loud for juniors. The illustrations are fitting especially the eyes.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

Pages & Co. Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales by Anna James.

November 14, 2019 Comments off

pagesPages & Co. Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales by Anna James. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

A brilliantly conceived novel for primary and intermediate readers about fairy tales.

Tilly and Oskar are friends who belong to the British UnderLibrary which caters for those who have the power of bookwandering. It is a skill that allows children and adults to enter books and relate to the characters in them. I would love that.

Bookwandering is controlled by librarians and like all librarians I have associated with professionally they are ridden with ego and patch protection foibles. There is a power struggle going on in the underlibrary world, a new head, Melville Underwood, has been elected in dubious circumstances and he has put curbs on bookwandering.

A rebel bookwanderer named Enoch Chalk has created havoc in the fairy tale world with some fairy tales missing and others irrevocably altered. Chalk is hiding somewhere in fairy tale world and is a hunted man.

Tilly and Oskar go to Paris to visit Oskar’s mum and she has access to bookwandering through an uncontrolled book shop. Oskar and Tilly go wandering in fairy tale world and encounter strange goings on. Is it Enoch Chalk or are other factors at play?

Tilly and Oskar find that all the fairy tale characters know each other. They wander first with Little Red Riding hood who knows Jack, of Beanstalk fame, and he knows of Rapunzel and the Three Bears. Rapunzel doesn’t have long hair nor is she trapped in a tower by a witch. She in fact has a sharp bob with an angular fringe, is 17 years old and doesn’t want anything to do with a prince. She wants her own life. Goldilocks is a blonde of course who knows what she wants, preys on the three bears and gazes at her immaculately painted finger nails.

I could tell you more but find out for yourself. Superb intelligent fun. Older readers will have fun with it too. The questions are, will Tilly and Oskar meet Enoch Chalk?  what is Melville up to? and who are the Archivists?

 

 

The Wonky Donkey and other stories by Craig Smith, illus. Katz Cowley & Scott Tulloch.

October 31, 2019 Comments off

wonkyThe Wonky Donkey and other stories by Craig Smith, illus. Katz Cowley & Scott Tulloch. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Five stories by Craig Smith with a CD singing all 5 stories, in a solid hard covered picture book. There is great value in that and lots of entertainment for children.

The famous Wonky Donkey is first up and we all know that story.

Willbee the Bumblebee unravels his black and yellow jersey while getting nectar to make honey. He doesn’t like being naked but he has friends on hand to help him out.

My Daddy Ate An Apple is a hoot as daddy zebra eats an apple with a green worm inside. See what it does to him and how he gets rid of it.

Square Eyes is about a lazy panda who watches TV all day. This was prompted by the knowledge that pandas do nothing except eat and sleep. They are even too lazy to make baby pandas and need assistance from humans. It has a great message that reading is better than TV.

The Scariest Thing in the Garden is a story like the little old lady who swallowed a fly only with a brussels sprout in there. Good laugh.

The illustrations are bright, witty and superbly enhance the stories.

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