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Posts Tagged ‘Imagination’

Lola Dutch. When I Grow Up by Kenneth & Sarah Jane Wright

January 25, 2019 Comments off

lola dutchLola Dutch. When I Grow Up by Kenneth & Sarah Jane Wright. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2019.

Lola Dutch is inventive, she is imaginative and best of all she is confident. She puts her mind to the task of deciding what she is going to do when she grows up.

She tests her ideas out on her animal friends – Bear, crocodile, pig and crane. They of course let her run with her ideas and help her in every way possible as she imagines being on the stage, an inventor, a botanist an Egyptologist and many other things.

Bear puts his finger on the pulse “Lola what do you want to be right now?” Lola’s answer is the key to the whole story. Check it and find out why.

Simple text, complimentary water colour illustrations and a heroine to be admired.

Whispers by Greg Howard.

January 11, 2019 Comments off

9780241367087-1-edition.default.original-1 webWhispers by Greg Howard. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2019.

This novel for gifted intermediate readers and secondary school students, is a slow burner. It takes a while to get into it, but once it takes off, you will be hooked.

Eleven year old Riley James lives with his father and older brother in a deeply religious country community in South Carolina. There is no room to be different in this community and Riley knows that he is. He has the same feeling for boys that most boys have for girls. He is by his own admission a mummy’s boy and he clashes with his gun-toting elder brother Danny and with his father.

Crisis comes when his mother disappears and the police are constantly questioning Riley about it. He says he can remember nothing but events in this story, particularly a Stand By Me type camping trip into the woods with some other boys, jog his memory.

At the beginning of the novel is a story about Whispers told to Riley by his mother. When she disappears he retreats into his imagination and creates a bizarre fantasy explanation about things in life based on the whispers story, but reality is close at hand.

Where has his mother gone? Is she still alive? and what about his awakening sexuality? Read this intense novel and find out.

The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton, illus. Angela Barrett.

October 16, 2018 Comments off

restless girlsThe Restless Girls by Jessie Burton, illus. Angela Barrett. Pub. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2018.

From the people that brought you Harry Potter comes this superb hardback novel that is old yet new at the same time.

It is old because it is about a king with 12 daughters who believes girls are not as important as boys and shouldn’t have license to explore their talents and imagination. It is new because the girls will not be subjected to the king’s decisions and use imagination to change things.

After their bright and breezy mother, Queen Laurelia is killed in a car accident while driving around the beautiful kingdom of Kalia, the King, Alberto, goes into grieving and takes away all the rights and privileges from his 12 daughters. The Palace becomes like a morgue and the girls are unhappy.

Led by eldest and very intelligent and creative daughter Princess Frida, the Princesses use imagination to visit a wondrous land where they party and dance till dawn. Unfortunately the dancing wears their shoes out and poses a mystery that the king needs to solve.

When the girls refuse to tell him how their shoes became worn he banishes Frida from the kingdom and offers one of his daughters and the crown of Kalia to any man who can solve the problem. Find out what happens, it is brilliant.

The illustrations are superb and leave room for your own imagination. Easy to read for primary and intermediate students. Adults will love it too.

Something from Nothing by Damian Synadinos featuring Hank and Stella.

July 25, 2018 Comments off

something nothingSomething from Nothing by Damian Synadinos featuring Hank and Stella. Pub. Hank & Stella books, 2018.

Childhood imagination is a wonderful thing. Harnessing that imagination to create something out of nothing is what this picture book is all about.

Glove puppets Hank and Stella are bored. They recall a time when they once put on a show and perhaps they should do it again, but how?

The author then guides them through the techniques of Improvisation using rhyming text to float the ideas and highlighting important points with darker text and whole pages to emphasise important points.

There are no wrong ideas, every idea can be built upon rather than rejected and it is a group thing. It is what we call in New Zealand Theatre Sports and it is heaps of fun.

Then when the points are made Stella and Hank invite you the reader into their world. Wonderful.

Not just a picture book for kids. An important lesson for parents, caregivers and teachers.

Simply illustrated and good to read aloud. try it and see at HankAndStellaBooks.com

 

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.

Charlie and his amazing tales by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnaird

October 6, 2017 Comments off

CharlieCharlie and his amazing tales by Dawn McMillan, illus. Ross Kinnaird. Pub. Oratia Books, 2017.

Charlie is a dog in need of a new owner and has to sell himself. A young impressionable boy passes by sees the $10.00 sale price and is interested. Charlie sees his chance and rips off a series of amazing stories that only a shaggy dog could tell.

Charlie talks of being a spy, of saving people from flood and fire, of surviving hungry crocodiles and more. He is especially keen to pass himself off as toilet trained, neat and tidy, and having a good imagination.

The boy is sold but is it all true? Check out the ending to see if the boy parts with his $10.00.

Excellent fun from these two experienced writers and illustrators. The rhyming text is not forced and makes for easy reading aloud and the illustrations boost Charlie’s tall tales.. The dog sitting on the loo will bring a few laughs.

A fun publication for the school library and for parents to read to their children at home.

Categories: Humorous Stories Tags: ,

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 tells them 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.