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The Road to Ratenburg by Joy Cowley, illus Gavin Bishop

February 16, 2016 Comments off

RatenburgThe Road to Ratenburg by Joy Cowley, illus Gavin Bishop. Pub. Gecko Press, 2016.

An excellent read-a-loud novel for primary school children from one of the craftiest writers New Zealand has ever produced. I have just been listening to the Bee Gees singing “nobody gets too much heaven no more” and this book just slotted in so well.

Ratenburg is the rats Shangri la, their brigadoon and a place all rats want to go to. Spinnaker a Ship rat, his wife Retsina, a Greek restaurant rat, their four children Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta and an alleged pirate rat Jolly Roger, make the journey to find Ratenburg.

The journey is fraught with danger as they meet rataphobia from humming beans (human beings) and have to conquer the Sunsweep Lake full of rat eating eels, the Bottomless bog, the Forest of Perilous Pines and the swing bridge. But will they find Ratenburg?

The group of rats set off with enthusiasm but sometimes enthusiasm can make creatures careless.

Wonderfully told by Joy Cowley who has the narrator address the reader as “Dear Friend”. I loved being a dear friend and you and your children and students will too.

Gavin Bishop, who is well acquainted with rats, illustrates superbly, capturing important moments and characters, with his black and white pen and ink drawings.

999 Tadpoles Find a new home by Ken Kimura, Illus. Yasunari Murakami

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

999 Tadpoles find a new home by Ken Kimura, Illus. Yasunari Murakami. Pub Gecko Press, 2010.

It is not often I review a picture book on this blog but this one tickled my fancy.

It is a Japanese story first published in 2003 but brought to us thanks to Gecko Press who do a lot of this and I am so glad they do.

Mother and father frog produce 999 eggs in a small pond and when all of them hatch into tadpoles and grow into frogs, things are a bit tight. They have to move, and away they go in single file across land.

The journey is like all journeys with children. “Are we there yet?” ” What is this dad?” as they drag out a sleeping snake.

A hungry hawk interrupts the journey to produce  a surprise ending.

Yasunari’s  illustrations are simple and expressive and fully support, indeed add to the impact of  the written text.

Read-it Read-it read-it. This is for everyone.

Categories: Humorous Stories Tags: , ,