Posts Tagged ‘Hunting’

And the Ocean Was our Sky by Patrick Ness. Illus. Rovina Cai.

September 9, 2019 Comments off

ocean skyAnd the ocean Was our Sky by Patrick Ness. illus. Rovina Cai. Pub. Walker books, 2019.

Nietzsche once said “if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss stares into you”. So it is with this outstanding novel about the worlds of whales and men, each with a determination to kill the other.

This book is from the whales’ point of view as they hunt a devil ship with a white hull called the Toby Wick. For the whale, gazing into the abyss is the reverse of man. They do so when they breach the surface and encounter the sky.

The whale society is as sophisticated as our own and they want to hunt us in the same way as humans hunt the whales. Captain Alexander leads a pod with apprentices whose mission is to chase a prophecy that says a show down with the devil in the form of Toby Wick is inevitable. Read it and see if it is.

Just as Ishmael narrates Moby Dick, apprentice whale, Bathsheba, under the command of Capt. Alexander narrates this stunning novel. The pod discovers a wrecked ship on the surface with a human barely alive on board but carrying a medallion in his hand that is interpreted by the whales as foreshadowing a clash with the devil, Toby Wick.

Bathsheba captures the man for the pod and encloses him in an air bubble so that he can survive in their world. This relationship is to question the whole way in which whales and men relate to each other, but will it stop a catastrophic ending?

This novel is one of the reasons that I stay with children and young adult literature. The illustrations of Rovina Cai are off this planet, depicting the world of the whales in their grey/blue world, but increasingly red mingles, then dominates.

Don’t miss this outstanding work for high school , young adult and adult. The best of the year, bloody brilliant in fact.

Joy Cowley, Building Bridges

July 30, 2019 Comments off

bridgesJoy Cowley, Building Bridges. Pub. Clean Slate Press, 2019.

Five 32 page, easy to read books, designed for readers 8-12 years who have dyslexia or  readers who are struggling between junior material and chapter books.

And they are brilliant.

They are about modern family life in multi cultural New Zealand that have themes and plots that kids will go for.

Each book has three stories all with Dyslexia friendly text that has short simple sentence structure with generous spacing between lines and written on matt cream coloured background.

Each book has  a different illustrator all well known in the publishing industry.

Buster illustrated by Ali Teo is about a dog who is full of dogness but suffers from intestinal wind

Motor Sports illustrated by Richard Holt features kart racing, Formula 1 and rally cars and is full of motor racing information about cars.

Selena and Mia illustrated by Ant Sang features a friendly relationship between two street wise intermediate aged girls.

The Twins illustrated by Jenny Cooper features the relationship between twins and their loving and slightly weird and embarrassing parents.

Grandpa and Boy illustrated by Toby Morris features three hunting and fishing stories and a grandfather who swears a blinky lot.

All five books would be essential purchases for primary and intermediate schools at around 50 bucks for the lot. Contact at

I loved all 15 stories and so will you and your students.

Bush Block by Kerry Butler

July 27, 2015 Comments off

bush blockBush Block by Kerry Butler.

Not the usual type of novel I review on this blog because it is not only about a boy called Joe who grows up after being bullied most of his life and succeeds, but it is a philosophy of life and living a sustainable life on a block of land.

Joe is the youngest boy in his family headed by a violent and drunken father. he is his mother’s favourite and has to wear the tag of mummy’s boy. he learns to fight back and becomes a star rugby player at school. Academic life is not for him he is a boy who works with his hands. he moves onto a farm with his uncle, meets a girl, gets into hunting settles down and as he gets older learns to diversify his life on the land.

A good yarn in a Barry Crump sort of way, some hooray stories especially an involvement with a  gang over growing marijuana on his property. Lots of hunting talk.

Written in a no nonsense third person narrative and aimed at high school students and young adults.

Kerry Butler can be contacted at


Ben and the Stag by Paul Canham

November 27, 2012 Comments off

Ben and the Stag by Paul Canham. Self Published 2011. 

Books for reluctant boy readers that are easy and exciting to read are hard to come by. This is one.

It is about 14 year old Ben who lives on a remote sheep farm owned by his father. Times are tough, sheep and wool prices are down but Ben is content. He knows he is going to boarding school as soon as Correspondence school is over.

He shoots possums with his father but when he gets a chance to shoot a magnificent stag he can’t do it. He feels bonded to the stag when it stares him out as he has the cross hairs of his rifle firmly on the stags head.

Things rapidly change when Government men offer large money to mount a secret operation on the property. From this comes violent action that will change Ben and his family forever.

A short novel with large font and easy to read chapters. Could be more tightly written but the action makes this a trivial concern.

Aimed at readers of primary and intermediate age but reluctant high school students will also find it worthwhile.

This book can be purchased through web site