Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas 2008 books

Here are the last lot of books coming out before Christmas and two that came out earlier but we've only just had a chance to review them...

Picture Books
The Apple by Ben Brown, Illustrations by Tracy Duncan (Puffin) ISBN: 978-014-350-2920 RRP $19.95
Once upon a certain day a bright and shiny girl with green eyes, golden hair and rosy red cheeks picked a golden apple that was hanging from a magic applie tree like a second sun in the sky...
So starts this delightful picture book about Blossom a girl adopted by Granny Smith, a little old lady who found her asleep in an apple basket many years ago. Blossom is sent out to find the ingredients for her birthday cake but when she finds the golden apple she sets off a series of events she has no control over (or does she) until a giant demands she cook an apple pie specially for him...
Brown has had 17 other picture books published, two of which were shortlisted for the LIANZA awards and one that won the 2006 NZ Post Children Book Awards for 'A Booming in the Night'. Duncan is also no stranger to the children's literary world; she has illustrated numerous pictures for other authors and for her own books. For 'The Apple' it looks like she has used a variety of mediums: colouring-in pencils, lead pencil and paint and the gold embossing on the front cover adds to the effect beautifully. Pre-school and Junior school children will want this story read over and over again to them. Reviewed by Maria Gill

feeling sad, Sarah Verroken (Walker Books, Australia) ISBN: 978-1-921150-69-2 RRP$29.99
Duck is in the meadow with her little toy, Dudley. Everything around her seems gloomy. Something is wrong. Black clouds are hanging over her head, and she is surrounded by darkness. Duck is feeling very sad...
But all is not lost - when duck meets a tiny frog he tells her to cheer up and that she should look ahead. As the duck looks up and notices the brighter things in life, so does the black and white illustrations inject a bit more colour. A sombre tale but one that might help a young child that is dealing with grief or depression to look on the positive side.
Verroken first published this book in Belgium where it won Best Book design and has been nominated for two other awards. Walker Books Australia has since published it for the New Zealand and Australian markets. It is also being published in South Korea, America and Japan. Verroken is based in Wellington and has just graduated with a Master of Arts degree. She works as a freelance graphic designer and illustrates for clients around the world. Reviewed by Maria Gill
"This sweet book addresses a tough and touchy issue carefully and sensitively. Preschoolers won’t be able to help but feel sunny by the end." Courier

Non Fiction Books
Piano Rock: A 1950s Childhood, Gavin Bishop (Random) ISBN: 978-1-86979-010-3 RRP $34.99
I have a photograph. It was taken on a Box Brownie in 1949. A photo of us - Mum, Dad and me. I am little, about three. There we are standing at the railway station in Kingston, just arrived from Invercargill... On either side is a row of mountains. And up on the hill behind is Piano Rock.
This book is a keeper. Not just because you're a fan of Gavin Bishop (and who isn't), but because the book has been published in hard cover with Gavin's intricate illustrations scattered throughout this slice of life when he lived in Kingston aged 5 to 9 years old. For reading ages 8 years+ but adults with children's literature interests will also enjoy this book. Reviewed by Maria Gill See Beattie's review

Chapter Books
Thornspell, Helen Lowe (Alfred A. Knopf) ISBN: 978-0-375-85581-8 RRP $
A forbidden wood, an enchanted castle, a sleeping princess...and the prince destined to break the spell.
Prince Sigismund has grown up hearing magical tales - they help to break up the monotony of his boring life in a castle where he longs for adventure. It is not until he dreams of a girl trapped in a thorny castle and a knight riding towards him that his life begins to change. He quickly learns that the stories are true, and the heroic quest he always wished for ... begins now.
I wasn't surprised that Helen Lowe had won an inaugural Robbie Burns National Poetry award (2003) - her writing is lyrical and a pleasure to read. I had to wait in line for this book - my daughter couldn't put it down and nor could I (when I finally got my hands on it). This is Lowe's first book and she has already been signed up for another series. She writes her poetry, short stories and novels in Christchurch in between practising her second-dan black belt in aikido and representing her university in fencing. Recommended for boys and girls 9-13 years old (boys don't be put off by fairies and princesses - there are some great combat scenes and its really about a boy on a quest). Reviewed by Maria Gill Read Create Readers Blog review, Flamingnet Book Reviews

Young Adult
The 10 PM Question, Kate de Goldi (Longacre) ISBN: 978-1-877460-20-3 RRP $34.99
From the blurb: Frankie Parsons is twelve going on old man: an apparently sensible, talented Year 8 with a drumbeat of worrying questions steadily gaining volume in his head:
Are the smoke alarm batteries flat?
Does the cat, and therefore the rest of the family, have worms?
Will bird flue strike and ruin life as we know it?
Most of the significant people in Frankie's world - his father, his brother and sister, his great-aunts, his best friend Gigs - seem gloriously untroubled by worry. Only Ma takes seriously his catalogue of persistent anxieties; only Ma listens patiently to his 10 p.m. queries. But of course, it is Ma who is the cause of the most worrying question of all, the one that Frankie can never bring himself to ask.
Kate de Goldi first read this out to our writers workshop two years before the book was published. One year later (because we love her workshops) she drip fed us some more of the story. By the time the book came out we all had to buy it and it has definitely held up to its high expectations. You can't help but love the main character and Kate's exquisite writing and twists and turns of plot keep you reading to the end (I read it from start to finish in one sitting.) Though written about a teen - the book would be more appreciated by Young Adults+
Reviewed by Maria Gill Read Beattie's review.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Read a NZ book this Christmas

I hope we're convincing all you parents, teachers, librarians and kids that there are some fantastic New Zealand authored books in our shops. This week we've reviewed a book that children from separated families will relate to: 'Every Second Friday', Jenni has reviewed Tania Mill's new book: 'Don't Call Me JoJo' (soon to be reviewed on Good Morning TV) and Tania Roxborough's latest mystery book: 'Space Gum'. Not forgetting the non-fiction book about New Zealand's most spectacular scientists: 'Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA'.

If you've read any of the books we've showcased and want to add your own review (kids included) - please leave a comment - we'll look forward to reading what you think of the books. Authors - feel free to add a comment about how you got the idea for the book.

Picture Books

Every Second Friday by Kiri Lightfoot, Illustrations by Ben Galbraith (Hodder Children's Books) ISBN: 978-0-340-95612-0 RRP$34.99 (hardback)
Our dad is a collector of bits and bobs. Every second Friday my brother and I pack our bags and go and stay at his house. I pack my toothbrush, pyjamas, books, teddy and I always pack an extra set of clothes. Because when we stay at Dad's house we always get - magnificently muddy, worringly wet and mind-blowingly messy.
Margaret Madeleine (nickname Margi) and her brother Thomas Theodore (Totty) have a glorious time at the dad's house when their mother drops them off every second Friday. Their dad's house is such a mess they have to fight their way through all the stuff he collects. But the children love searching for treasures, exploring the house and dressing up with their father. He makes it their house too by putting up all their paintings and photographs on the walls and windows.
A fun reassuring book for children who come from separated families. The author, Kiri Lightfoot has based this story on her own family experience of spending time with her dad after her parents separated. The text is playful with a satisfying ending. This is Ben Galbraith's second book, his first winning the 2007 NZ Post award for Three Fishing Brothers Gruff. His colourful, quirky illustrations begin on the end papers and on every reading you'll see something you missed before - so much is packed onto each page. 'Every Second Friday' is being distributed in New Zealand and the U.K. Reviewed by Maria Gill

Chapter Books 10-14 year olds

Don’t Call Me JoJo Tania Mills (Scholastic) ISBN 978-1-86943-820-3 RRP $18.99

Josie wakes one the night to the police bursting in, and taking away her father. Suddenly her life is turned upside down. She’s the daughter of a criminal; enduring the embarrassment of this revelation. Then she has to move, away from her friends, school and home, to be closer to where her father is in prison.
The story follows Josie as she deals with this life change, and as she discovers that she has the strength to deal with unfair events that can sometimes befall us. This is an engrossing story that will appeal to 12 to 14 year olds and above. See Tania Mills talk about 'Don't Call Me JoJo' on Good Morning TV on 27th November 10.07am (approximately). Reviewed by Jenni Francis

Space Gum Tania Roxborogh (Longacre Press) ISBN 978-1-877460-05-0 RRP $17.99
Carl and his Dad love to play practice jokes on each other. However, sometimes it’s Mum who has to deal with the consequences, and she is not happy about it.
But one day, Carl’s dad disappears, and it seems to be tied up to a visit to an ex-NASA scientist. It’s up to Carl to figure out the answer to this problem.
A fun story that keeps the tension going to the end. Of strong appeal to boys and girls of around 10 to 13 years who like a mystery.
Tania Roxborogh is a secondary school English and drama teacher. She has written many books, including teenage novels and resource books for teachers. Read an extract:
Reviewed by Jenni Francis

Non Fiction

Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA: 68 Great New Zealand Scientists by Veronika Meduna and Rebecca Priestley (Random) ISBN: 9781869419547 RRP $34.99
Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA profiles 68 of New Zealand's most remarkable scientists. Among them are some of the earliest explorers and collectors, the first professional scientists, twentieth-century pioneers in emerging scientific disciplines and some of today's leading scientists who are continuing to make discoveries about our world and working to shape our future. Whether they measure the universe or the atom, work with whales or microbes, explore some of the world's most inhospitable places or persevere against all odds to discover the last survivors of a species considered extinct, each of the scientists profiled in this book is driven by a passion for their discipline and a desire to better understand the world around us. By presenting the life and work of each scientist in chronological sequence, this book also charts the history of science in New Zealand over the past two centuries. Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA is based on a major science exhibition, curated by the authors and held at the National Library of New Zealand in 2006.
Author BioVeronika Meduna is a science journalist best known for her broadcasts on Radio New Zealand National. Rebecca Priestley is a science historian and writer, and editor of The Awa Book of New Zealand Science.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You'll find a large selection of picture books written by New Zealand authors out in shops in time for Christmas. Scholastic New Zealand have also published some exciting reads for children aged 9-12 and one book for older readers 13 years+:

Picture Books
Flick and Friends: The Exploding Paint Factory by Jamie Lawrence illustrated by Mark Russell (Puffin) ISBN: 978-014-350298-2 RRP $14.95
It was clean-up day in Maddsville. Once a year everybody in town joined in to help collect any litter that had gathered around the town. The engines had been helping all day with the clean-up. Now they were all on their way back to the station and were very tired. Suddenly...
Flick and his friends deal to a litter bug and help fight a fire all in a day's work. Author, Jamie Lawrence, spreads the eco message with this fun fire engine story. Pre-school children will enjoy the tale and can learn from the Top Ten Eco Wise Tips on the back page. Review by Maria Gill

Willy's Grandpa by Scott Tulloch (Harper Collins) ISBN: 978-1-86950-738-1 RRP $14.99
This is Willy. He's very young. These are his parents. They're not so young. Especially up close. And these are Willy's grandparents. They're really old. Grandad Gramps and Granny Maz are Willy's dad's parents. They live in the country. Grandma Gran and Grandpa Pop are Willy's mum's parents. They have a scaredy-cat called Max.
Willy loves visiting his grandparents - both sets - each person entertains him in their own way. Only Willy's Grandpa Pop isn't young like he used to be, in fact he's looking more tired on each visit. Then one day he gets really sick and goes to hospital...
If you're unfortunate enough to have a grandparent die and your little four year old is badgering you with questions, while attempting to understand it all, this charming book will help them put it into perspective. Scott Tulloch's amusing drawings will appeal to the reader (the parent) and the intended audience (the child). Review by Maria Gill
Grandma's Kiwi Christmas by Helen McKinlay, illustrated by Craig Smith (Harper Collins) ISBN: 978-1-86950-685-8 RRP $14.99
On Monday morning, Grandma fell out of bed at six o'clock. She picked herself up, dusted her wrinkles with her big duster and checked her calendar. 'Ah ha,' she laughed, 'only five sleeps till Christmas.' She put in her false teeth and dressed in her granny clothes. 'I think I'll make mince pies today,' she said. 'Wheee!' She slid down the banisters. 'Miaow,' said Scratch.
Each morning Grandma counts down to Christmas and carries out a task starting with making minced pies, decorating the Pohutukawa tree, not-to-mention getting stuck in it. Then she gets called to stand in for the Christmas Fairy then Father Christmas... by Boxing Day she sure needs that sleep in. Illustrations and delightful story compliment each other. Grandmothers and Nanas will enjoy buying this for their grandchildren to show that even though they wear knitted cardigans and false teeth they can still have a little wicked fun and adventure. Review by Maria Gill
Te Rauparaha: Legend of Aotearoa retold by Maureen Cavanagh, illustrated by Bruce Potter (Penguin) ISBN: 978-014350293-7 RRP $17.95
Resting on Papa's cloak, there was once a beautiful part of Aotearoa called Kawhia. At the time of our story, the tangata whenua of Kawhia were Ngati Toa. Their chief was Te Rauparaha. Rangi and Papa sent their blessings to Kawhia. Rangi sent the sun to warm the people and the rains to water their crops. Papa gave them rivers full of fish and mighty forests full of birds. Ngati Toa were happy...
Unfortunately the people of Kawhia forgot to share the kindness of Rangi and Papa. Their neighbours began to fight with them, joining forces with other tribes. Knowing they couldn't win , Chief Te Rauparaha helped his people escape Kawhia and took them on the long trek to safety down South eventually settling on Kapiti Island. Author Maureen Cavanagh draws on her knowledge of Maori History from her University studies to retell the legend about the brave Chief Te Rauparaha. Teachers in Primary and Intermediate school will find this book a welcome addition to their Maori legend studies in Reading. Review by Maria Gill

Chapter Books 9-12 year olds
Argenta by Stephanie Hills, Scholastic NZ, ISBN 978-1-86943-846-3 RRP $18.99
Anquin is a birdboy on the planet of Argenta whose job is to look after the eggs of his clan. But Anquin gets bored with his life and flies into the Forbidden Zone – where he discovers hundreds of his clansfolk who have been made slaves by another race of aliens. Anquin ends up flying on a space rocket to Earth, where he makes friends with a boy called Martin – who dreams of being a superhero and saving the world. Together Anquin and Martin outwit the evil aliens and set Anquin’s clan free. This straightforward adventure story would be a good introduction to science fiction for young readers of about 9 to 11 – it’s probably not detailed or technical enough for really avid sci-fi fans. Review by Lorraine Orman

My Story: Poor Man’s Gold: The Diary of Reuben Radcliffe, Northland, 1899-1900 by Kath Beattie, ISBN 978-1-86943-903-3 RRP $17.99
Most readers will know that the My Story series looks at significant events in the history of New Zealand, telling of the adventures of young people who were involved in the events. In this case, the story focuses on the kauri gum digging industry in Northland. Reuben is still in his early teens when his family lose their home and income, so he sets off to dig gum and earn some money. It’s a very hard life – the diggers lived in shanties and tents and worked from dawn to dusk in wet, muddy and dangerous conditions. The technical information about the gum industry is very interesting, especially for those who like reading about the old days. Reuben’s family are eventually re-established in work, but not before tragedy strikes and a family member is lost. Review by Lorraine Orman

Young Adults
Set in Stone by Vincent Ford (Scholastic) ISBN: 978 1869 438 302 RRP $18.99
Set in Stone is the second in the trilogy of Vincent Ford’s Chronicles of Stone. The first was recommended for Year 5 and up; I recommend this one for an older age group (13 years+)
The beginning is fast-paced and brutal. It is set in a time when mammoth and bison roamed – a time of hunting, fighting and survival for Trei and Souk, now in the lands of The Children of Stone. My sympathies lean towards the girl. Souk is strong, spirited and intelligent and is the stabilising influence on her headstrong twin brother. Trei is more one-dimensional; he has one main goal, to learn everything he can about the Stone people’s secret weapons and ultimately give this knowledge to his people. The story is filled with rock-sorting, stone sharpening and arrow-making; all very well described, in abundant detail, which culminates in massive bison and mammoth hunts and copious slaughter. Tensions are high; the land is awash with blood. A warning here – the carving up of the flesh is not for the faint-hearted. But apart from testosterone-fuelled adventure, the story is also about jealousy and mistrust: between Sacha, the blonde shaman of the tribe and Souk, who is blessed with her own special powers; tribal members towards the outsiders, and Trei towards a friend his sister has come to love. Trust becomes mistrust, and jealousy becomes revenge, which makes for rather horrific conclusions. There is the counterbalance of friendship and loyalty between the twins, though at the end, they too are put to the test.
The story leaves us on a precipice, as all good cliffhangers’ should. I can’t wait for the last book in the trilogy. 'Tribal Ash' number three in the trilogy due out in February 2009.
Review by Vivienne Lingard

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kiwi Write4Kidz authors' books

Three Kiwi Write4Kidz members have new books out:
Brian Falkner's book 'The Tomorrow Code' is being released in America, U.K., Australia and New Zealand over the months of October, November and December. He plans to have a book launch in New Zealand early December at Next Page Please.
Melinda Szymanik launches her two latest books: The Were Nana (picture book) and Jack the Viking (chapter book) this Saturday 8th November at 4.00pm Mainly Toys, 539 Mt Eden Road, Auckland - she'd love to see you there. See Melinda's book reviews on the first blog entry.
Tania Mills first book 'Don't Call Me Jojo' is being launched at the Botany Library showcase room on Sunday November 9th at 2pm. Anyone who is interested in attending please RSVP at

The Tomorrow Code Brian Falkner (Walker Books)ISBN: 9781921150340 RRP $19.95
Crack the code, or tomorrow is history!
Tane and Rebecca aren’t sure what to make of a sequence of 1s and 0s, a message that looks like a random collection of alternating digits. As they decode it, slowly it becomes clear -- the messages are being sent back in time from the future! But why...Tane and Rebecca follow the message’s cryptic instructions, but it’s not long before they begin to suspect the worst --that the very survival of the human race may be at stake!
Review: Falkner makes his U.S. debut with a book that resonates with a Down Under accent. With a tautly constructed plot, this fast-paced and all-too-realistic thriller asks both protagonists and readers to consider the implications of humankind's exploitation of the earth and its possibly catastrophic repercussions. Tane and Rebecca, 14-year-olds living in Auckland, receive coded messages from their future selves, warning about an apocalyptic event that only they can prevent. As they decipher the clues and race to take the right steps to save lives, readers are swept into visions of ecological disaster and a planet fighting back. With puzzles aplenty, codes, computers and a submarine called Mobius, this technothriller offers gearhead ecowarriors everything, including a hugely satisfying ending. Character development does not take a back seat to plot, however; told largely through Tane's eyes, the narrative creates a believable and sympathetic cast of characters, both main and supporting. Exciting and thought-provoking, it will raise awareness of serious issues as it entertains. (Thriller. 10 & up) Kirkus Starred Review
Check out the website:

Don't Call Me JoJo Tania Mills (Scholastic) ISBN: 978 1 86943 8203 RRP $18.99
Josie and her dad have always been close; she is his little ‘Jojo’.
Then one night the police come and Josie learns a shocking secret:
her kind, gentle father is a criminal.
Now, against her wishes, Josie has to move to a new town to be
near her father in prison. She dreads what her new schoolmates will
say when they discover her dad’s a crim. How could he do this to
her? Josie swears she will never speak to him again. And as for his
pet name … forget it. Target Reading age 11-14 years

Sunday, November 2, 2008

October books

Coming out at the end of October were the first of the Christmas books! Some of our well known and much loved authors have a new book for you or your children to read over the holidays...

Picture Books

Oliver Goes Exploring Margaret Beames and Sue Hitchcock (illustrator)
Scholastic ISBN 978-1-86943-875-3
At the end of Mrs. Bundy’s garden was a shrubbery. Oliver liked to hide there among the bushes. Sometimes he jumped out at Mrs. Bundy when she wasn’t looking. “Oh, Oliver!” she would cry. “You gave me such a fright!”
Oliver is a cheeky black cat and he loves to explore. One day he finds a hole in the back fence, so he squeezes through to find a wonderful place full of insects, butterflies, spiders and a …. Frog.
A lovely story for 4 to 6 year olds. Strong illustrations in black white and green. This is the third book about Oliver, following on from Oliver’s Party and Oliver in the garden, winner of the NZ Post Picture Book award

Brian the big-brained Romney Yvonne Morrison and Deborah Hinde (Illustrator)
Scholastic ISBN 978-1-86943-872-2
T’was a week after Christmas and Santa was beat. He’d delivered his presents, his job was complete. He strolled to the paddock and greeted his flock, then saw a sight that gave him a shock!
No reindeer in this story, and no sleigh either. Instead there is Brian. A disappointment to his father, who had intended teaching Brian the skills of rugby, soccer and cricket, Brian was much happier playing around with electronics, books and astronomy. But on the night before Christmas a thick fog rolls. Brian, of course, comes to Santa’s rescue.
This is the sequel to ‘A Kiwi Night before Christmas’. A great New Zealand Christmas storybook for 4 to 8 year olds, to read themselves or for teacher or parent for shared reading sessions.

Rufus and the Rain Mark Laurent and Chris Liddiard (illustrator)
Scholastic ISBN 978-1-86943-890-6
Rufus the bear lay on the soft, springy grass outside his cave. He was having a snooze and dreaming of drinking a nice hot cup of tea. The sun was warm on his fur. Rufus loved the sun best of all.
But a small cloud comes along and covers the sun. So Rufus asks the wind to blow away the cloud and for the cloud and the wind to go away and stay away.
But without wind and without clouds and without rain, terrible things begin to happen …
Suitable for 4 to 6 year olds, especially for discussion about the weather. A nice read aloud book, with beautiful watercolour illustrations.

Chapter Books 8-12 year olds

Comet and the Champion's Cup: Pony Club Secrets Stacy Gregg, Harper Collins NZ
The bay colt knew the girl was watching. He arched his neck proudly, delighting in her attention as he trotted by. When he passed the paddock railing where the girl was sitting, the colt came so close that he almost brushed against her knees. She giggled and reached out a hand to grab him, but the colt swerved away, putting on a sudden burst of speed...
When Aunt Hess opens a riding school for summer, Issie and her pony club friends jump at the chance to help. Issie gets to know Comet, a cheeky but talented pony with real show jumping potential. Will Issue be able to train her in time for the Horse of the Year show?
This book has it all for pony club teens: gymkhanas to win, rivals to defeat, mysteries to solve, ponies in danger and two boys to choose from...
My nine-year old daughter gobbled this book up and now demands the rest in the series. Comet and the Champion's Cup is the fifth in this very successful series now being sold in the UK, Canada and Australia with a film to follow.
RRP $14.99 ISBN: 978-0-00-727030-9

Young Adult

The Magician of Hoad by Margaret Mahy, HarperCollins NZ
This complex and challenging fantasy is set in a mythical pre-Renaissance society. Five characters meet and their lives become entwined: a treacherous Hero, a worldly-wise Magician, a confused farm boy, a girl of noble birth, and a mad Prince. The story follows Heriot, the farm boy, who gradually discovers another side to his personality, one of mystery and magic. Themes such as love, duty, betrayal, self-knowledge and the abuse of power are explored. The story is illuminated by the author’s ever-questioning intellect and her superb skills with language and imagery.
ISBN 978-1-86950-687-2 - RRP $39.99

Non Fiction

All About New Zealand Birds by Dave Gunson
This fun and educational book features dozens of vibrant illustrations by talented artist, children’s book writer and bird fanatic Dave Gunson. Over 50 of our most interesting and most loved native and introduced birds have been illustrated especially for this book by Dave. Each page features one large illustration of a bird and 100 words of text. All About New Zealand Birds is an ideal introduction to many of the birds of New Zealand for people of all ages. Accompanied by fascinating – and often humorous – facts about physical characteristics, habitat, feeding habits, breeding information and more, this book is sure to appeal to the whole family.
ISBN: 978-1-86966-198-4 RRP: $24.99

Monday, October 27, 2008

First Monthly Review

You'll find an eclectic mix of books for our first monthly review: we've got kiwiana nursery rhymes, a rat looking for his tail, an old woman's dedication to the albatross birds, a young girl who plays her first game of soccer and a teenager who writes to discover himself. You are bound to find something you'll like. This month's selection of books were released in September and can be bought in all good bookstores or on-line .

Picture Books
Humpty Rugby and other classic kiwi rhymes Peter Millett, illustrated by Eddie Booth
(Penguin) ISBN 978-014350281-4
I’m a little All Black, short and stout, here is my haka, here is my shout. When I see the try line, just watch out – tip me over, stretch me out!
Well known nursery rhymes are given the ‘kiwi’ treatment with a host of crazy, quirky kiwi characters. Rhymes include: The Wheels on the Tractor, Twinkle Twinkle Southern Star, Hokey Pokey and many more… Peter Millet’s quirky word play with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour is given full license. Parents and New Entrant teachers will have fun chanting the rhymes with their 3-5 year old captive audience.

Sebastian’s Tail Judy Lawn, illustrated by Lamia Aziz
(Penguin) ISBN 978-014350291-3
Sebastian the rat was born without a tail. So he set out to find one. The first thing he saw when he emerged from his hole was Mrs Williams dusting. Sebastian stared at the bright feathery duster. Now that would be a tail!
Sebastian finds many tails on the farm but they’re either too long or too curly or even too fluffy until he meets… Pre-school children will enjoy having this farmyard tale read aloud to them.

Maraea and the Albatrosses Patricia Grace, illustrated by Brian Gunson
(Penguin) ISBN 978-014-350268-5
At the beginning of each spring season ever since Maraea could remember, the albatrosses had come to the rocky hill slopes to make their nests along the ridges and among the stones and tussock. As the birds arrived, the people would be at the cliff tops to call them back from their long sea journeys...
For generations, Maraea and her whanau have a special relationship with the local albatrosses. But over time, her friends and relatives move away, leaving Maraea alone to watch over the fluffy white chicks, as they change into beautiful sea birds. Then, Maraea begins a transformation of her own...
A beautifully written and illustrated picture book that 4-6 year olds would enjoy at one level, but also teachers could use in the classroom to compliment a native bird study for 6-12 year olds.

Junior Chapter Books
Way to Play Sammy Michele Cox (Harper Collins) ISBN 9781869507428
Sammy woke up suddenly…She stretched under the blankets and wiggled her toes. It was Saturday morning, the best Saturday morning ever… Today would be her first game playing for the Shooting Stars.
Sammy has made the team – but can she make the grade? After the first game, Sammy soon learns that playing soccer is not just about kicking goals. Soccer mad girls (8-10 year olds) will enjoy reading this book written by soccer-mad player, Michele Cox. Michele played for the national team for ten years; winning two Cup Finals with a top German team.
Prequel: Sammy Joins the Shooting Stars

Young Adults
Violence 101 Denis Wright (Penguin) ISBN: 978-0-14-330403-6
My name is Hamish Graham and this is the journal I have to write. The people who run this place don’t know what to make of me. Just like the last place I was in. It is obvious why I am here…sometimes I do very violent things and I am too young to be put in jail.
Knowing the teachers read his journal; Hamish mocks the adults around him while also giving intelligent and rational reasons why he sometimes lets his anger get seriously out of control. When he gets bored of hacking into their computers and controlling the other inmates in the young offenders’ institution; Hamish sets off an adventure to test his powers of endurance… A superbly written first novel by Denis Wright: an English teacher from Wellington. Even though the book is about dealing with emotions it is written in a format that won’t turn boys off.

Non Fiction
Pepetuna Denis Whitmore (Penguin) ISBN: 9780143502821
Follow a tiny puriri moth's egg as it falls to the forest floor. Denis Whitmore cleverly uses creative non-fiction and gorgeous illustrations to portray the life cycle of a puriri moth.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Kiwi Write4Kidz Members' Books

To kick start the blog, I'm promoting Kiwi Write4Kidz members' new books. Kiwi Write4Kidz is a writers' group for adults who like to write children's tales, with members all over New Zealand.
Picture Books
The WereNana by Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson, Scholastic
Simon loves to scare Stella Rosa, especially with his stories. Most of the time Stella Rosa can cope, but now her grandmother, Nana Lupin, is coming to visit from a far-away country and Simon whispers that Nana Lupin is a Were-Nana (like a werewolf)... and Stella Rosa believes him. The darkly robed figure that comes through the arrival gate at the airport does look like a Were-Nana after all ... and Stella Rosa is afraid because whe hasn't been given the special potion that Simon says she should have drunk to protect her!

Perfect for children who like to be frightened (just a bit) and for sisters who like to see brothers get their just rewards...
ISBN:9781869438692 - RRP $16.99

The Maketu Whitebait by Werohia, illustrated by Vonnie Sterrif
Three whitebait friends learn about survival in the water. Their first predators - as eggs on the banks of the Maketu estuary, are mice, who think they are chocolate. They mature along the coastline of Aotearoa for 5 mths and if they make it past the fritter stage and those nasty human beings, they then have Mr Eel to contend with. The Eel of all eels, Mr Tuna prefers his raw and wriggly. Reading age 6 to 10.

Just the book for children who are fascinated in eels...
ISBN: 978-0-473-13457-0 - RRP $17.00

Oh No Mr Possum by Erin Devlin, illustrated by Greg O'Donnell, Puffin
When Mister Possum and his greedy family refuse to change their diet of luscious New Zealand trees a plan is hatched to return these hungry visitors to their native Australia.

Comes with a CD with Oh No Mr Possum song. Great for classroom sing-a-longs and school assembly performances.
ISBN 13: 9780143503064 - RRP $19.95

Chapter Books 8-12 year olds
Jack the Viking by Melinda Szymanik, Scholastic
Jack is having trouble with some boys at school, and one day he is ambushed. After a hit on the head, he comes to in the harsh tribal times of the Vikings. Jack must prove himself, and in doing so he finds an inner strength to take back to his own life.

Melinda expertly weaves past and present in this rollicking adventure...
ISBN: 13: 978-1869438708 - RRP $18.00

Egghead by Clare Scott, Walker Books
The story of a boy who ends up with egg on his head - and who triumphs as a result!
When their teacher sets a class experiment to look after an egg for a whole week as though it were a baby the class is excited but it’s going to be a l-o-n-g week. Soon, there are several casualties and Paddy is devastated when, at the end of the week, the school bully smashes his egg all over his head. He is further humiliated when footage of the incident turns up on YouTube! But disaster is soon turned into triumph with an unexpected ending.
A short, fast-paced novel, laced with a good dose of humour - an enjoyable read.

ISBN: 9781921150814 $14.99

Non Fiction
Dogs on the Job by Maria Gill, Puffin
Have you ever wondered what type of working dogs there are in New Zealand? What sort of training these dogs have to go through? Whether your dog might qualify? Author, Maria Gill, interviews dog handlers and observes dogs on the job: Meet an acting dog going through the moves for an advertisement; see a mobility dog picking up the keys for his handler who is in a wheelchair; find the search and rescue dog that can trail scents 24 hours old; and read about more dogs on the job in this engaging book.

Georgeous photographs of working dogs and easy-to-read text boxes.
ISBN: 978-0-14-350280-7 - RRP $25.00

Growing Gardeners by Dee Pigneguy, Papawai Press
Growing Gardeners explains the science of organic gardening so that budding gardeners can create wonderful gardens that will feed their families. While having fun growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables readers learn that sustainable living starts in their own organic backyard garden. In the current economic climate, and with increasing concern for sustainability, this book is a great starting point for the many people who may have lost touch with the joys and benefits of a backyard vege garden and who have not grown up with the skills and knowledge needed to start one.

All the information you need to start an organic garden at home or at school.
ISBN: 978-0-9582966-0-1 - $22.00