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Posts Tagged ‘life’

The Wonderling by Mira Bartok.

September 11, 2017 Comments off

WonderlingThe Wonderling by Mira Bartok. Pub. Walker books, 2017.

Every now and then  there is published a book that raises the bar in Children and Young adult literature. This is such a book.

There is nothing new in  characters going through total misery in their quest to find out who they are or in the fact that the strong will dominate the weak. What is unique about this novel is in the superb way in which the story is told and in the richness of the language used.

The character who we learn later as the Wonderling was not always called this. He was abandoned at a young age with the number 13 on a metal disc around his neck which becomes his first name. He is a fox like creature with one ear and only 3 feet tall who is put in The Home for abandoned creatures run by a Dahlesque character Miss Clementine Carbunkle who feels hard done by.

The Home is a Dickensian type establishment where ill treatment of inmates is a daily occurrence. Number 13 barely survives until he saves a kiwi type bird creature named Trinket who masterminds his escape into the wild world to find out his identity.

His task is fraught with danger as he makes his way to Lumentown where danger lurks in every corner. He is driven by a love of music and knows that in music there is the answer to where he comes from. He is determined even when he is forced to hide in the underground city of Gloomintown from which there is no escape. See how he gets on.

Superbly written in three parts with maps and excellent sketches of all the characters. You will feel every emotion as you read this novel, you cannot help but become involved.

For fantasy/adventure readers from primary through to secondary. You will love it.

Some Eels by Amelia Harris.

September 5, 2017 Comments off

some eelsSome Eels by Amelia Harris. Pub. Index press, 2017.

If ever a picture book deserved a better cover it is this one.

It is a simple tale that has much to say about friendship and how we cope when things get a bit murky.

Three eels start on a journey, they are not racing but you don’t want to get left behind. They enter deeper, darker waters and confide in each other until there is nothing more to say, so they start to hum. When they emerge from the murk they keep humming.

Beautifully simplistic hand written text with illustrations that are simple yet powerful. Three wriggly lines for the eels and shades of blue for the water.

I loved it and you will too.

Those interested contact http://shop.index.org.nz/product/some-eels

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

Middle School. Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein.

July 21, 2017 Comments off

stoopidMiddle School. Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2017.

It was a miserable wet day and I needed something easy to read that would make me laugh and think at the same time so I grabbed Pottymouth and Stoopid. I was not wrong.

I love these Middle School stories they deal with serious issues like bullying, poverty, inequality, snobbery and friendship and they turn them into heart warming stories.

Pottymouth (Michael) is a black boy who invents new words that sound like swearing but are not. His friend is Stoopid (David) and they met at nursery school and are still friends at middle school. They are not as they are described by their school mates and are ploys to the old statement of “give a dog a bad name”.

Michael is a foster child and Michael comes from a broken relationship. Both boys and their mutual friend Anna Britannica are terrific. They have fun together but they have many low points that make them angry.

David’s father is a frustrated writer and a penny pincher but when he takes David and Michael to lunch one day he listens to their stories and this is to change their lives.

I do like a happy ending and am always on the side of the underdog. These are great stories for the reluctant reader, easy to read superbly illustrated by Chris Grabenstein and essential in every school library.

The World’s Worst Children 2 by David Walliams, Illus. Tony Ross.

June 11, 2017 Comments off

worst children 2The World’s Worst Children 2 by David Walliams, Illus. Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2017.

You don’t need to advertise a new David Walliam’s book, the children all know before you do, so if you have never read one get hold of this and get part of the magical lunacy that catagorises his books.

In this book we meet ten improbable children with ten very real foibles that are exaggerated into a laugh out loud series of cautionary tales aimed at the reluctant reader.

Stacey wants to be a superstar but can’t sing and won’t be told. Frankie is fussy with his food and won’t eat vegetables, Harry never does his homework, Clarissa is cruel to cats and Colin wants to win everything that he does. Recognise some of these? Of course you do. Read it and find out what the other five are.

As ever Tony Ross interprets the written text with superb and equally bizarre illustrations that this time are in colour.

Simply written and very appealing, get hold of this quick before somebody reads it before you. There is no age limit on this novel and there will be a 3rd part.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

May 21, 2017 Comments off

chemical heartsOur Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland. Pub. Hot Key Books, 2016.

There is a Japanese art form called Kintsukuroi in which you take a bowl or plate or a pot break it into pieces and stick it back together again so that it becomes more beautiful for having been broken.

This really is a metaphor for the relationship that develops between Henry Page who narrates the novel and Grace Town a beautiful, mysterious, damaged and thoroughly weird girl. Henry wonders what it will be like to fall in love and when he first sees Grace he knows he is drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

Henry struggles to get anything going with Grace, they text each other, work together on the school newspaper but one day she is hot the next cold. Then he finds out about a deep sadness that Grace is carrying around. Henry wants to care for Grace and for her to recognise that they are an item but Grace slips into the abyss and forgets the world exists. Grace tells Henry that “stories with happy endings are stories that haven’t finished yet”.

Henry finds out that this is true. The novel also asks the question do men feel romance?. Do they crush on girls and go through the same heartbreak as girls do over boys?

Brilliantly written in a style that draws on film, book and music trivia with bold dialogue and great depth on what it is like to be growing up and seeking love. I read this in two sittings I couldn’t put it down. Thank you Linley for recommending it to me.

For teenagers and young adults who like the novels of John Green and grew up with Harry Potter, The Twilight series and the music of the Strokes and the Pixies.

Don’t miss this one you will kick yourself if you do.

Mr Postmouse goes on Holiday by Marianne Duboc.

April 19, 2017 Comments off

postmouse holidayMr Postmouse goes on Holiday by Marianne Duboc. Pub. Book Island, 2017.

A splendid sequel to the first Mr Postmouse picture book which is also reviewed on this blog.

Mr Postmouse his wife and three children go on a World holiday, but of course a postmans lot is never done and he takes some mail to deliver as well.

They visit a forest and a beach then take a cruise ship to a volcanic island, a camel train across the desert and to other exotic locations.

Each two page spread has it’s own story to tell and detail for children to ponder over. For example in the forest we meet Hansel and Gretel on their way to the house made of sweets and gingerbread.

There are also little bubles that look at creatures living their lives underground, there is even an igloo.

Lots of fun in this easy to read publication.

Categories: Picture book Tags: , , ,

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: , ,