Saturday, July 18, 2009

Five new picture books

Grandma McGarvey and the Puddle street Gang by Jenny Hessell and Trevor Pye (Illustrator) Scholastic ISBN 978-1-86943-894-4

A lovely addition to the Grandma McGarvey stories is this latest picture book by Jenny Hessell for readers 6-9 years.

Grandma McGarvey volunteers at an old folks home, and there she finds a living history of her past. Even the sweetest of old ladies was once a young person. This rhyming story will enchant young readers, especially as the illustrations are clear and colourful.

Jenny Hessell has written nine other Grandma McGarvey stories and many other stories including Dump Bear.

The Sparrow and the Feather by Ben Brown and Helen Taylor (Illustrator)
Penguin ISBN 978-014350376-7

One day, a sparrow finds a beautiful feather. He wonders to whom the feather could belong and sets out to discover the owner. Along the way, he meets other birds, but they haven’t lost the feather. He also meets a rascally weasel who thinks he might like to own the feather.

Sparrow finds the owner eventually. But by now he has already decided that having beautiful plumage may not always be a good thing.

Written in the form of a fable, and wonderfully illustrated by Helen Taylor, this book is sure to delight adults and children. Perfect for reading aloud to 4 to 8 year olds.

Ben Brown has written a great many children’s stories, most of the recent publications in collaboration with his wife Helen Taylor as illustrator. In 2006 their book A booming in the Night won the picture book award in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

Hey Presto by Rachel Hayward and Rachael Haupt (Illustrator)
Scholastic ISBN 978-1-86943-911-8

Daniel’s Grandmother is a retired magician. She doesn’t do magic anymore. “Over the hill” she says.

But, somehow, magical things still seem to happen around her and in her house. When Daniel loses his homework in the disappearing cupboard, Gran writes him a note for his teacher. Unfortunately, she writes it in invisible ink. Daniel’s teacher is not amused.

Daniel is made to look silly, talking about magic. Then, at the end of the term concert, Mr. Grimshaw says the wrong thing, and Gran pulls out a few tricks to change Mr. Grimshaw’s mind.
A delightful story for six to nine year olds. Colourful illustrations, interesting style although not my cup of tea but children may well like the style.

Other stories by Rachel Hayward include McGregor, and Jason’s Extraordinary Hair.

My Brown Bear Barney by Dorothy Butler and Elizabeth Fuller (Illustrator)
Penguin ISBN 978-0-350374-3

Barney the brown bear goes everywhere with the little girl in the story. He goes to the beach, shopping, gardening, and to bed, along with other items needed for each activity. And soon, she will be going to school. But Mum says bears don’t go to school. Or do they?

A beautiful story for three to six year olds. Plenty to discuss in each picture about what to take for each outing. Clear, colourful and concise illustrations make this book a wonderfully presented book.

Dorothy Butler is an expert on children’s books and she has had a huge influence on books and book selling in New Zealand, as well as writing many of her own stories.

Secrets by Dawn McMillan and Illustrated by Julia Crouth, Dominique Ford, and Lyn Kriegler.
Penguin ISBN 978-0-14-350381-1

This book is a keeper. A beautifully bound hardback picture book with three of Dawn McMillan’s stories, all with the theme of a secret.

The first story, Sea Secrets, is about Hannah and her grandmother. They find a way to keep their love for each other alive even though they are thousands of miles apart.

The second, Moontime is the secret a young boy keeps until he has a little boy of his own.

The third is Keeping Cloudy a Secret. This time, more than one person holds a secret and the ending is a lovely surprise.

Dawn McMillan has written many wonderful picture books and educational readers. One of her most well known is Why Dogs Sniff Bottoms.

Reviewed by Jenni Francis

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