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