Sunday, December 6, 2009

More Picture Books

Moonrabbit by Megan Kelliher, illustrated by Dominique Ford (Penguin)
RRP $30.00 (hardback) ISBN: 978-0-14-350335-4

In the stillness of night after moonrise
from hilltop to river and glen,
behind soft, sleepy eyes and baby-sweet sighs
live the dreams of a world full of children.

This book is a beautiful production with its glossy cover slip over hard cover, illustrations beginning on the end papers and large size. The text is easy to read, though not your usual style. Instead you'll find white text on night sky illustrations and the print meanders across the page.

This is a delightful bedtime story for young children about a magical moonrabbit that slips down to Earth on a moonbeam to grant a sleeping child a wish...

Article in Bay of Plenty Times:
A friendship between two Tauranga mums has resulted in a children's book being published by industry giant Penguin.
Moonrabbit was written by Megan Kelliher, and illustrated by her close friend Dominique Ford.
It's a tale about a mystical white rabbit who lives on the moon, and grants the wishes of sleeping children.
The idea was born from a painting by Dominique of a white rabbit in a moonlit forest clearing.

Reflections of a Solitary Hamster by Astrid Desbordes and Pauline Martin
RRP $24.99 56 pp Recommended age: ages 5 upwards (Gecko Press)

Remember the snoopy comic strips? Written in the same vein, you'll find the musings of a hamster and his relationship with his forest animal friends. It is said to be a humorous take on French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Reveries of a Solitary Walker. It is one of those humorous comics that you will enjoy dipping in from time to time. I can see senior school (8 years+) upwards getting the most value out of the tales.
Not surprisingly, Astrid Desbordes has written books for adults on philosophy and religion; this is her first book for children.

Mole: For me the most beautiful word in the world is 'friendship'. What's yours?
Hedgehog: Uh... loyalty.
Rabbit: Adventure.
Snail: Commonsense.
Hamster: Waffles.

Big Bouncer by Dawn McMillan, illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
RRP $18.95 (Penguin) ISBN: 978-0-14-350387-3
Remember me? I'm Big Bouncer!
In that 'sniff-bottom' story I was the announcer.
Back then I was gruff,
bossy and rough.
I was so COOL.
Nobody's fool.
Everyone called me THE MAN!

Have you ever wondered what happened to Big Bouncer? Well, he's back loud and proud and claiming HE'S THE MAN until... he meets the girl dog of his choice. He spruces up his act to win her over, then becomes the FAMILY MAN!

Another humorous tale by award winning team: Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird. 'Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms?' won the Children's Choice category of the NZ Post Book awards in 2003 and in 2005 it was awarded New Zealand Booksellers Gold.

When Dawn McMillan isn't teaching part-time at her local primary school, she's at home with her husband Derek and cat Josie writing children's books. She's written 18 picture books and over 130 educational readers for the international market.

Ross Kinnaird comes from an art directing and illustration in advertising background. Nowadays, he's happiest storytelling and illustrating in classrooms around New Zealand.

Fick & Friends: The Bushfire by Jamie Lawrence, illustrations by Mark Russell
RRP $14.95 ISBN: 978-0143503514 (Penguin Puffin)

It was a beautiful sunny day
in Maddsville so Mr Meena,
the local grocer, and his
family decided to go on a picnic.
As they made their way into the busy,
little did they know that some naughty
campers hadn't put out their campfire
properly. Some sparks had blown into
the dry grass and had started a fire.

It sounds like another job for Flick the Fire Engine. He's now a fully fledged fire-fighting engine and raring to go. When he sees smoke rising in the horizon; Flick and his friends race to save Mr Meena and his family and put the fire out.

This series has been written specifically to teach young Primary aged children (and kindergarten children) how to be safe around fire, in story format. On the last page, you'll find Flick's Top 10 Bush Safety Tips for Your Family. Young children will enjoy the use of onomatopoeia (formation and use of words to imitate sounds) throughout the book: 'Ree woo Ree woo Ree woo'.

Stories from our Night Sky by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Jenny Cooper
RRP $25.00 61 pp ISBN: 978-0-14-350375-0

This is a treasure trove of Maori poems and legends; some are contemporary, others are traditional but all have in common the night sky. The poems are written in Maori and English. You'll recognise poems like 'Twinkle, twinkle little Star' and others you'll think - that sounds familiar: Out in the night time, In a hole in a tree. Lived an old mother morepork, And her little ruru three... The stories are also an eclectic mix such as tales of the forefathers, to Grandad telling a story to his grandson about tuatara, or little Hana overcoming her fear of the dark - something for everyone.

Teachers will find this a useful resource for their Myths and Legend Reading unit and also to inspire children to write modern day legends.

Reviewed by Maria Gill

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