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Posts Tagged ‘individuality’

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.

The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

June 23, 2020 Comments off

one bobThe One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

Children love animal stories and so do I. This excellent novel for primary and middle school readers is a sequel to the award winning The One and Only Ivan.

Ivan is a silver backed gorilla who was taken from the jungle as a baby, brought up by humans and never understood that in his own community he would be in charge. He is a gentle giant and when confined to a small zoo off a major highway he is befriended by Bob a small dog who has been abandoned by humans.

Bob has a human care giver, Julia, who taught Ivan art, and still visits him and his elephant friend Ruby at the zoo. Bob has doubts about himself but a massive hurricane and tornado wreck the zoo putting all the animals and humans in jeopardy. Bo finds strengths that he never knew he had.

Superbly narrated by Bob who has doubts over whether dog is man’s best friend or that man is dogs best friend. See what you think yourself.

The illustrations by Patricia Castelao are superb and add a necessary dimension to the characters and the story. Don’t miss this beauty.

Wayside School. Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar, illus. Tim Heitz.

April 17, 2020 Comments off

wayside schoolWayside School. Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar, illus. Tim Heitz. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2020.

This short, easy to reader novel for primary and intermediate kids is crazy from the first to the last page. It is funny, it is serious, it is absurd, it is honest and it is always entertaining.

Wayside School is in a 30 story building. The headmaster is wacky, the teachers are eccentric and the pupils have every quirk and difference that society can muster. Still they get on well together with a lot of tolerance of each others behaviour.

Mrs Jewls class want to know what a million looks like so they start collecting toe and fingernails in an attempt to get a million. Will they do it? Then a large dark cloud they call the Cloud of Doom settles over the school and doesn’t move.

The cloud affects everybody’s behaviour and culminates on the day that the Ultimate school test finishes. Totally bizarre but very entertaining.

Tim Heitz’s illustrations help you picture the characters and the action.

Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker.

February 15, 2020 Comments off

real worldHere in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

This easy to read novel with short chapters for primary and Intermediate students, is a delight from beginning to end. It is set in Florida and Sara Pennypacker’s style reminds me of Kate Di Camillo.

Over protection is one of many disadvantages of being an only child. Ware is eleven and a half years old and is a disappointment to his hard working parents. He knows they are disappointed and he would like to change completely.

I think he is a fabulous person. He is a dreamer, a thinker and above all an artist. He struggles to meet and mix with people and prefers to be with his own fantasies. He is the type of boy who when he closes the door to his room, every cell in his body breaths a sigh of relief.

He is put in a childminding school during the summer holidays after his grandmother who he calls Big-deal, and he hates it. Over the fence from the play centre is an old churchyard and he goes in there to play. It reminds him of a medieval castle and his great love is the code of a knight which concentrates on fairness.

Ware meets Jolene in the yard and she is a die hard realist but the two get on with lots of disagreement and banter. Jolene plants a garden in the old churchyard and Ware builds a moat around the old church tower.

Then an older girl Ashley tells Jolene and Ware that the bank is going to sell the church site and destroy the work they are doing.

Read it and find out what happens. Brilliant ending. One of the best of the year.

Starbird by Sharon King-Chai.

August 29, 2019 Comments off

starbirdStarbird by Sharon King-Chai. Pub. two Moons, Imprint MacMillan, 2019.

This beautifully presented sophisticated picture book has a message for all the World. Read it and find out what it is.

The powerful Moon king is proud when he has a daughter and he wants to give her the most wonderful gift imaginable. He decides to catch the one and only Starbird, duly does so and puts it in a cage so his daughter can hear the Starbird’s enchanting song.

The daughter sees how the Starbird suffers and lets it go. The Moon King is furious and hunts it high and low. Other creatures of the World shelter Starbird but the king is determined and has his way.

The recapture of Starbird has tragic consequences and the ending is sad.

Splendid illustrations especially of Starbird and of all the different environments of Earth. This will make you think.

For everyone but a great read-a-loud for juniors. Don’t miss this one you will kick yourself if you do.

Hannibal. The camel who longed to be special by Pauline Marshall. illus. Candice Haare-Smith.

February 1, 2018 Comments off

hannibalHannibal. The camel who longed to be special by Pauline Marshall. illus. Candice Haare-Smith. Pub. 2018

Good manners dictate that one eats with ones mouth closed. Hannibal the camel doesn’t do this, no camel does. Their flubbery lips flap, their jaws swing and whatever they are eating sprays around like a sandstorm. That’s what being a camel is all about.

Hannibal is not happy with this and he wants to impress the lovely Cleo. He consults a number of others including Dugg the dung beetle, Oz the ostrich and human beings. He just makes himself look silly but he has a lot of fun doing it.

Then he discovers something about Cleo that changes everything. Read it and see what it is.

First time illustrator Candice Haare-Smith does a splendid job with acrylic and watercolour illustrations that capture the camels image and manner. The eyes are particularly important because through the eyes you can see the soul.

Lovely story about identity and individuality for juniors either to read alone or for an adult to read aloud.

Purchase on Amazon.

Erik. The lone Wolf by Sarah Finan.

January 19, 2018 Comments off

erik wolfErik. The lone Wolf by Sarah Finan. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2018.

This picture book impressed me the minute I picked it up, before I even  opened it up to see what was inside. The cover was done in a relief type of art. The title stuck out from cover you could feel it like a blind person. So did Erik with his red scarf and the mountains as well. It was lovely to rub my hands across it.

Inside the written text and illustrations did not disappoint either. I do admire author/illustrators.

It is about belonging and feeling crowded at the same time. Erik is sick of being with the pack and being told to do this and not to do that. He takes off on his own.

At first the freedom is exhilarating but then trouble, Erik is in the deep stuff. Fortunately the pack haven’t left Erik and they rescue him and he is so glad to be back. Sometimes people do not appreciate you till you’re gone and vice versa. Lots of positive messages about this work.

Great to read aloud and to read on your own. A real beauty, don’t miss this one.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

The Little Cloud by Beverley Burch & Elspeth Nicol

February 16, 2017 Comments off

little-cloudThe Little Cloud by Beverley Burch & Elspeth Nicol. Pub. Makaro Press, 2017.

A blast from the past in terms of style of writing, presentation and illustrations. It was written in 1959, forgotten, rediscovered in 2014 and revamped for today’s market. A jolly good job too.

It is very much a story book that you could read to a class of juniors or individually read by years 3 & 4.

It is a story of a little cloud who is part of a big storm cloud that is bringing wind and rain to Wellington. The little cloud longs to be on his own in fine weather and when he gets his chance and goes further up the North Island he finds a parched land in need of rain.

Little cloud learns to cry and bring rain, chases an aeroplane and falls on top of Mt Taranaki happy to know he has become a real cloud.

The illustrations are in both black and white and colour, presenting the New Zealand landscape as it was in 1959. The picture on the cover is  totally different from the others looking very much like something Bob Kerr might have done. The effect is extraordinary and enhances the book.

Check this little gem out you might never see another. A short history of the authors in the back makes for interesting reading.

I Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon, Illus. Viviane Schwarz.

December 4, 2014 Comments off

henry finchI Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon, Illus. Viviane Schwarz. Pub. Walker Books, 2014.

Descartes once said “I think therefore I am”. Henry Finch does the same and shows that an individual can change things for everybody.

Every morning all the finches wake up and say good morning to each other. The noise is deafening but reassuring. The greetings are repeated in the afternoon and in the evening. The only drama in the day of a finch is when the monster comes and tries to eat a few. Finches be wary.

One night Henry Finch had a thought. He knew who he was and fantasizes that he could be great. To show the other finches he attacks the monster and is eaten.

Inside the monster he has more thoughts and pulls himself together. When he emerges from the monster he is a hero and about to start a bigger change in the finches. I will leave it to you to decide what happens. Glorious stuff.

Illustrator Viviane Schwarz has enhanced the text with an amazing and simple technique. She has used orange finger and thumb prints with black ink lines to illustrate the finches. The effect is stunning. The monster is watercolour blue/green and when things get dark inside the monster for Henry Finch and his thoughts, black and white  does the job.

Amusing and thought provoking for the older reader and a great story with drama for the juniors.

Henry Finch is a true hero.