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Posts Tagged ‘Imagination’

Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival.

August 17, 2017 Comments off

perfectly normanPerfectly Norman by Tom Percival. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2017.

This superb picture book has a touch of genius about it as it helps children who are different understand that they should not be embarrassed or ashamed about their difference and to tell them that they are not alone.

Norman is in his parents eyes perfectly normal but you the reader know this is not true by the illustrations. Norman and his kite are in colour and everything else is in black and white.

Then the imaginative Norman grows a pair of multi coloured wings and celebrates with a flight with the birds. Norman worries how his parents will react so wears a warm coat which he never takes off. This makes his life miserable until he realises that the wings are not the problem but wearing the coat is.

He sheds the coat and other children with the same difference shed theirs and we have a wonderful celebration of colour as winged happy children take to the air.

Perfectly Norman or is that normal. Great to read aloud to juniors.

The illustrations are superb. The contrast of black and white with colour enhances the theme of difference and the isolation that people with difference sometimes feel. I repeat, a touch of genius.

Dragons Under my Bed by Kathy Bee, Illus. by Lisa Allen.

July 31, 2017 Comments off

dragon bedDragons Under my Bed by Kathy Bee, Illus. by Lisa Allen. Pub. Duck Creek Pres, 2017.

Something happens in my room at night. Straight after Mum turns out the light” Heck we all know that is true and like the little boy in this story it pays to have a good story to explain what happens.

Yes it is dragons under the bed who come out and have enormous fun creating a hellava mess until mum comes back to see what the kerfuffle is.

A picture book from the song Dragons under the Bed from well known singer/songwriter Kathy Bee. You can download the song from this book and sing along or you can read it aloud instead.

It has the added advantage of easing childhood fears of a monster under the bed  especially knowing that the dragons are having such fun.

Lisa Allen has illustrated the song and brought it to visual life. The dragons are brazen, puffing smoke, firing arrows, throwing clothes around, emptying the wardrobe and all sorts of mischief. The little boy is as innocent as the day is long and of course has imagination

But we know who is really to blame.

Worth every cent of 20 bucks from  www.kathbee.nz

If I Had an Elephant by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones.

March 14, 2017 Comments off

if i had elephant If I Had an Elephant by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones. Pub. Scholastic, 2017.

The imagination of a child is limitless and this team of Terry Jones, Richard Fairgray and colourist Tara Black exploit the desire of a young boy to have an elephant to the fullest.

A young boy hanging upside down from his bunk bed looks at a picture of an elephant on his wall and proclaims “I wish I had an elephant”. If he had one he would never have to ask for a cookie again and he’d win every water fight. he would get the best seats at the circus and could build a time machine and visit elephant’s grear great great….grandfather.

But he doesn’t get an elephant for his birthday but what he does get inspires his imagination further.

Simple text in large black font make easy reading but it is the illustrations that blow your mind. The elephant has expressive eyes and the boy has bewilderment and joy all over his face.

The colouring is superb and not a page is wasted.The front inside cover has the shadow of an elephant hanging over a pit of peanuts and it finishes on the back cover with a contented elephant who clearly has had his fill.

A joyous and imaginative picture book for everybody.

Squeakopotamus by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnaird

November 7, 2016 Comments off

squeakopSqueakopotamus by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnaird. Pub. Oratia Books, 2016.

There’s always room for silliness and imagination in picture books and this is as silly and imaginative as you can get.

Squeakopotamus is a cross between a mouse and a hippopotamus and he is living in Kate and her brothers house eating all the toast and cheese and potatoes and peas.

Mum and dad don’t want a bar of it so the children get him out of the house for something to eat. It rains and the importance of rain is that it makes things shrink. Will it work with the squeakopotamus? read it and find out.

Easy read-a-loud story with Ross Kinnairds illustrations creating a credible  cross between a mouse and hippo. I wouldn’t want him in my house.

A good laugh for juniors.

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Snails, Spells & Snazzlepops by Robyn Cooper

October 19, 2016 Comments off

snailsSnails, Spells & Snazzlepops by Robyn Cooper. Pub. Makaro Press, 2016.

A first novel for primary and intermediate children told with much enthusiasm and gusto.

It combines the silliness that Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths brought to junior fiction and combines it with some fantasy and real life issues like adjusting to your mothers boyfriend and bullying.

Ten year old charlie wants to be rich and decides becoming a famous chef is the way to go. He inveigles his mate Matt and his sister Millie to assist him in capturing, preparing and cooking snails for his mother and her teacher boyfriend Mr Swinkburn Doug. Never got used to that name.

In the process of finding a recipe for snails online Charlie finds a site Sails, Spells and Snazzlepops. He sees spells to make you shorter and taller and a cure for bullying amongst others. Will this help to cure the bully Ivan?

None of this will make Charlie rich but perhaps the Snazzlepop section will change his luck.Read it and find out.

Easy to read with short chapters and plenty to keep the reader in the book.

The Impossible Boy by Leonie Agnew

September 16, 2016 Comments off

impossible-boyThe Impossible Boy by Leonie Agnew. Pub. Penguin Random house, 2016.

This novel for children and young adults is staggeringly good.It is multi level, thought provoking and ultimately hopeful  in spite of an endless war where there are no rules only winners and losers.

Every night on the TV News we see children hauled from the rubble of war torn cities in the Middle East, dirty, shaking, their faces carved masks of indifference and largely emotionless except for their eyes. It is gut wrenching.How do they cope with war? What do they feel? This novel directly confronts these questions.

Benjamin is 6 years old and he has an imaginary friend called Vincent Gum who looks after him after a train crash and delivers him to a children’s orphanage in the middle of a war torn city. Other children, who belong to no side, are in there, and Ben teams up with 14 year old girl Lucky, her brother Zaar and younger children Amos and Sofia.

Ben’s imagination is ultimately going to save all of these children who have turned the art of survival into a game. Each copes with war in a different way but their fears in this novel are personified in the form of the Hanger Man who hides in the closet. It is Ben’s imaginary friend Vincent who helps teach the children their fears cannot hurt them.

Vincent is a character in his own right with his own fears and he must learn how to cope too.

Leonie Agnew ‘s descriptions of the war situation are stunning. After an air attack she says even “the air seems to be crying’ and the journalists cameras “snap like a wild animal”

This book is unforgettable.

If I Was a Banana by Alexandra Tylee & Kieran Rynhart.

September 4, 2016 Comments off

bananaIf I Was a Banana by Alexandra Tylee & Kieran Rynhart. Pub. Gecko Press, 2016

When I read this outstanding picture book for children of all ages my thoughts were that the pairing of author and illustrator was an experienced one and they must have worked together several times. But no. It is Alexandra Tylee’s first book and the only time she has worked with Kieran Rynhart and what’s more they are Kiwis.

A boy who is neither big or little is walking with his mother looking at the world around him. He plays the What If game. If he was a banana he would be fat and full like the one in the shop window, if he was a cow he would be the self important one standing in the field and if he was an elephant he would be very careful where he put his feet.

There are more What Ifs before he decides he is most comfortable being himself.

The illustrations are superb. In coloured pencil and varying in size from whole page to smaller images placed strategically within the written text and melding beautifully with the imagination and emotion of the boy. The lion, the tree the storm clouds even the banana are outstanding.

I shall be watching this one when Award time comes round next year.

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