Posts Tagged ‘Music’

The Dinky Donkey by Craig Smith Illus. Katz Cowley.

November 1, 2019 Comments off

dinkyThe Dinky Donkey by Craig Smith Illus. Katz Cowley. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

The Wonky Donkey has a baby, a girl, as cute as can be and she has all four legs. She is a dinky donkey with long eyelids and she loves loud music and painting her toenails pink

But is she as bad as her dad? Read it and find out.

You can download or stream the dinky song.

Great illustrations by Katz Cowley. I loved the hummingbird.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

The Wonky Donkey and other stories by Craig Smith, illus. Katz Cowley & Scott Tulloch.

October 31, 2019 Comments off

wonkyThe Wonky Donkey and other stories by Craig Smith, illus. Katz Cowley & Scott Tulloch. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

Five stories by Craig Smith with a CD singing all 5 stories, in a solid hard covered picture book. There is great value in that and lots of entertainment for children.

The famous Wonky Donkey is first up and we all know that story.

Willbee the Bumblebee unravels his black and yellow jersey while getting nectar to make honey. He doesn’t like being naked but he has friends on hand to help him out.

My Daddy Ate An Apple is a hoot as daddy zebra eats an apple with a green worm inside. See what it does to him and how he gets rid of it.

Square Eyes is about a lazy panda who watches TV all day. This was prompted by the knowledge that pandas do nothing except eat and sleep. They are even too lazy to make baby pandas and need assistance from humans. It has a great message that reading is better than TV.

The Scariest Thing in the Garden is a story like the little old lady who swallowed a fly only with a brussels sprout in there. Good laugh.

The illustrations are bright, witty and superbly enhance the stories.

Categories: Picture book Tags: , ,

Keep Fit Kiwi. Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes by Lynette Evans, illus. Steve Mahardhike, Sung by Pio Terei, Maori lyrics by Ngaere Roberts.

December 1, 2018 Comments off

fit kiwiKeep Fit Kiwi. Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes by Lynette Evans, illus. Steve Mahardhike, Sung by Pio Terei, Maori lyrics by Ngaere Roberts. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

Scholastic are becoming noted for their children’s books that catch onto popular songs that can be sung by children and combining it with a way to learn and understand Maori language. But better still they are fun.

In this one kiwi, lamb puppy, alpaca and rabbit are put through their fitness paces while singing the lyrics to head and shoulders, knees and toes. Then they do the whole thing again in Maori language.

The illustrations are happy and funny and the song is easy to follow and well sung by Pio Terei.

Great for Xmas and a useful tool in the classroom.

Don’t stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham.

July 24, 2018 Comments off

dont stopDon’t stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

I bet that somewhere in the World in this very moment in time, a refugee is wishing that things in their own country were safe and they could return. They will be thinking that people in the country they are in feel threatened by them and resent them being there. They will despair for the future of themselves and their families and friends

This is true of Hafiz a teenager from Syria whose escape to freedom you will read about in this novel. He is lucky to be alive and lucky that he has an aunt and uncle in the UK that can support him. He is a gifted footballer and has aspirations to join the best, but will he be given the opportunity to show his talents and develop the way a UK national would?  Read this novel and find out.

Stevie is a talented guitarist and singer, she is 14 years old and is living with her severely depressed mother who can’t get over the death by violent means of her husband and Stevie’s father. They are living on the breadline and things look hopeless. They have to move on and they need a break. Read it and see if this happens.

Stevie and Hafiz come together at school in a class that has some bullying and less understanding kids, but not all. Their relationship develops, they are good for each other but they are going to be sorely tested.

An excellent novel that examines modern day issues of refugees and mental depression and the effects it has on lives when attitudes of hatred and lack of understanding are to the fore.

This book could have drifted into  a state of sentimentality but it doesn’t. You feel for both Hafiz and Stevie and their chances in life in a hostile world. Their story is as common as life itself and the message is, things have got to change!!

Written in short chapters consecutively by Stevie and Hafiz which makes it very easy to read in short bursts but if you are like me you will keep reading long after your eyes are drooping onto the page.

A story for readers in the intermediate to young adult age group. Adults will get reward from it too. But be warned there will be tears.

Miniwings. Firestorm’s Musical Muck-up by Sally Sutton, Illus. Kirsten Richards

May 19, 2018 Comments off

miniwingsMiniwings. Firestorm’s Musical Muck-up by Sally Sutton, Illus. Kirsten Richards. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

This is the first of a new series mainly for girls who are getting more confident with reading.

It is about two sisters who play a flute and a violin and see six miniature horses that originally where given by their grandmother but come alive when adults are out of the room. Each horse has it’s own personality and this story is about Firestorm who lives up to his name.

The girls are doing a concert with their class for their parents and friends and organised by their teacher Miss Rose, who doesn’t have a boyfriend. Things start to go wrong when Firestorm pushes the fire alarm but will it get Miss Rose a boyfriend.

A good mix of fantasy and everyday hassles and problems. Written with gusto and plenty of humour and well illustrated by Kirsten Richards who captures all the moments and gives character to the Miniwings.

Categories: Fantasy, Junior Fiction Tags: ,

Lucky Button by Michael Morpurgo. Illus. Michael Foreman.

December 4, 2017 Comments off

lucky buttonLucky Button by Michael Morpurgo. Illus. Michael Foreman. pub. walker books, 2017.

There is always something gentle yet powerful about a Michael Morpurgo novel and so it is with this one. Similarly he often uses a story within a story to link a past event with a present day situation and he does it again in this novel.

Jonah looks after his mother who is house bound and has stopped playing music that Jonah loved so much. Jonah gives up much of his school life to look after his mother and is bullied at school.

After an attack he retreats to the school chapel where he finds a brass button that brought the original owner a lot of luck. The owner called Nathaniel Hogarth was a foundling at an orphanage with connections to the composer Handel.  Nathaniel appears before Jonah as a ghost and tells him an amazing story about becoming friends with Mozart and his sister.

Will the lucky button give some badly needed luck to Jonah and his mum? Read it and find out. It is fascinating and based on true events although this is not a true story.

Superbly illustrated by Michael Foreman’s colour illustrations as always.

Primary and middle school readers will devour it.

No One Here Gets out Alive by Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman

December 31, 2016 Comments off

jim-morrisonNo One Here Gets out Alive by Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman. Pub. Plexus Publishing, 1980.

A journalist once wrote “the Beatles and the Stones are for blowing your mind: the Doors are for afterwards, when your mind is already gone“. This biography comes under the same category.

I loved the Doors music and the image of Jim Morrison as it was revealed to us then, but I really didn’t know the truth about him and I guess most of it has gone to the grave. I visited his grave at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris in 2004. It was hard to find and a bit of a let down, but I hummed Riders on the Storm to myself and wondered.

This book pulls no punches and much if it is based on anecdotal stories from his friends, his women and from his younger brother. Surprisingly nothing from Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger or John Densmore his fellow Doors.

The story however is gripping and riveting and is told in three parts with image of a bow being draw, the arrow flying and dropping to the ground. A full discology of the Doors songs, when they were played, how they were recorded and Morrison’s behaviour throughout.

All the major events at concerts including his arrest for lewd behaviour are recounted and the drugs and booze extravagances that Morrison put himself through. The best part for me is the analysis of the songs that evolved from his poetry and the extraordinary imagery  that Morrison gave to his writing. The title is a line from the anti war song Unknown Soldier. Morrison wanted to be taken seriously but his destructive behaviour prevented him being bigger and better than he was.

In the end Jim Morrison was a poet but lived a rock star life. It destroyed him. Read for yourself. He was the third member of the 27 club after Hendrix and Joplin. He knew them both.His death was controversial but if anybody could have faked it, it was Jim Morrison.

Alveridgea and the Legend of the Lonely Dog by Ivan Clarke and Stu Duval

August 13, 2012 Comments off

Alveridgea and the Story of the Lonely Dog by Ivan Clarke and Stu Duval. Pub. Atlantic Books, 2012.

This is an outstanding novel for a wide range of school years and even for adults. It is a classic and will become as legendary as Lonely Dog himself.

Lonely dog lives in the port of Alveridge which is divided into two sections. The hound dogs who are carefree and casual live in one half and the cats who are conniving and grasping live in the better half of town. The hounds and the cats do not mix but things begin to change.

Lonely Dog as he is to become was born Arthur Snout and was left in a box at the door of the orphanage and grows up as a loner. He is bullied but has a friend in old Rolph Flannegan and a girl dog with pigtails, long legs and limpid eyes called Kelzie. The sketch of her is amazing.

One day while asleep in a motorcycle sidecar Lonely Dog  is taken  to the village green where they are playing blues music. It is a life changing experience and he begins to learn guitar and to write songs. These songs are going to elevate him into the poet of protest and revolution as the hounds try to shake off the control by cats.

Brilliantly illustrated by creator Ivan Clarke and told by master story teller Stu Duval whose command of language will have you laughing out loud. His imagery and metaphor are brilliant. He describes bagpipes as sounding like ten cats in a cement mixer.

Central to the story is music which unifies enemies and gives the book a feel good ambience. The song lyrics and history of music are as interesting as the story of Lonely Dog. In fact they are inseparable.

If you miss this one you will kick yourself.