Friday, February 27, 2009

Wheelbarrow Wilbur

Wheelbarrow Wilbur by Marine Groome, Illustrated by Bevan Fidler, Published by Penguin
ISBN 978 0 14 350350 7 RRP $18.95

Wilbur the terrier was cuddly not fat,
a dog twice as big as your average cat.
Will owned the Abbots,
as the Abbots owned him -
Mum, Dad and Lucy, and the best of all Tim.

Wilbur has a wonderful time down at the beach; chasing waves, pinching shoes, and gobbling up ice creams. But as his taste for icecreams increases so does his waist. After awhile he gets so fat he has an accident. The vet fixes his leg but he's got timely advice for the family...
A delightful cheeky tale about a mischevious dog and what happens if you keep giving in to their wiles. Kindergarten and Junior Primary children will enjoy the rhyming tale and it might just get children thinking whether it is a good idea to slip the odd sausage to their pet. (Says she, with a fat labrador called Amy.)
Narine got her inspiration for the book after watching a television programme about fat cats. Bevan a freelance illustrator works mostly in pastels and watercolour. As well as book illustrating he draws cartoons for magazines, and paints/draws stunning wildlife pictures.
Reviewed by Maria Gill

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Macaroni Moon & Other Poems

Macaroni Moon & Other Poems by Paula Green, Illustrated by Sarah Laing RRP $24.99 ISBN: 9781869791513
If cheese was made of MOON
and the MOON were made of cheese,
I'd eat toasted MOON sandwiches
grated MOON on tacos, MOONy pizza
MOON on crackers, cauliflower MOON sauce.
From the chapter and poem titles, to the poems themselves - Paula Green delivers zany poems for 5-12 year old readers. There are poems about food, weather, cats, dogs and even middle of the poem book poems. 'Some rhyme, some have rhythm, some play with words and others are just playful.' Children will enjoy reading aloud the nonsensical verse and looking at the wacky illustrations - they go hand-in-hand just right.
Paula Green published The Terrible Night, her first story for children, in 2008 and she has also written Flamingo Bendalingo, a collection that includes animal poems by children. Paula has a PhD in Italian and a Teachers College Diploma; she used to teach in primary schools. She teaches creative writing in schools whenever the opportunity arises. She was the 2005 Literary Fellow at the University of Auckland, the judge for the 2008 NZ Post Secondary School Poetry Competition and edited Best New Zealand Poems 2007.
Sarah Laing has worked as a graphic designer in Wellington and New York City. She won the Sunday Star Times Short Story Competition in 2006 and published her first book of short stories Coming Up Roses in 2007.
Reviewed by Maria Gill

Friday, February 13, 2009

Noa's Calf

Noa's Calf by Rhondda Greig (Mallinson Rendel) RRP $27.50
ISBN: 978 1877423 192
Without using words and only using monochrome, Rhondda Greig has portrayed delightful picturesque scenes of a young boy watching a cow give birth to a calf on a farm. Her skillful use of charcoal captures the inquisitive expressions of the cows beautifully. An excellent book to help children understand about life on a farm.
Rhonna says the book was inspired when a child from the city visited at her home in the Wairarapa: ‘As we were driving down the road behind a herd of cows going to milking, one of the city children asked me what the swinging udder was. When told it contained the milk we could drink, the child burst out with the comment that milk only came from milk bottles. I realised even then that New Zealand was changing into an urban society where many children had no comprehension of the rhythm of country life.’
Rhondda Greig is one of New Zealand’s most prolific and well-known artists. A vibrant colourist, she has exhibited for many years in NZ as well as in Japan and in the United Kingdom. She is the author/illustrator of the children’s classic and prize-winning Matarawa Cats, its companion volume Matarawa House and a book of poetry, Eavesdropping with Angels. Noa's Calf, her first major work in monochrome, is set in the Wairarapa where she lives. Reviewed by Maria Gill

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Forgotten Taniwha

The ForgottenTaniwha by Robyn Kahukiwa (Penguin) RRP $14.95 ISBN: 978 0143520030
In a cave overlooking the sea, there is a taniwha. He has been in the cave for hundreds of years. When gods walked the earth, when Maui fished up Te Ika, the taniwha was already in his cave. The taniwha was kaitiaki of the local iwi, who were themselves kaitiaki of the land and sea surrounding their pa.
The taniwha helped his people in times of war, hardship, and in times of peace. The people worshipped the taniwha until the strangers arrived in Aotearoa. Over the next two hundred years the taniwha saw his people leave until there was no one left. He slept for many years and did not awaken...
Robyn Kahukiwa, of Ngati Porou, exhibits her artwork in public and private collections and has written and illustrated over ten children's books.
Maori and English versions available.
Reviewed by Maria Gill

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Castlecliff and the Fossil Princess, Whale Pot Bay

Castlecliff and the Fossil Princess by Elizabeth Pulford (Walker Books Australia) ISBN 978 192115011 1 RRP $17
A gentle and contemplative story with a lot going on under the surface. Jamie travels to a house built high on a cliff with his mother and new stepfather. There he makes friends with a girl called Lani who gathers fossils. But he’s very upset to learn that Lani has lymphoma. Jamie becomes determined to make a dangerous swim to a forbidden cave in order to find a fossil for Lanie… Elizabeth Pulford is a New Zealand author who has had more than 40 books published, including readers, picture books, chapter books, junior fiction novels, a young adult's novel and one adult's novel. Two of her junior fiction novels, "The Memory Tree" and "Call of the Cruins" were finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards.Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Whale Pot Bay by Des Hunt (HarperCollins NZ) ISBN 978 1 86950 730 5 RRP $19
This is Des Hunt’s seventh novel combining adventure, mystery and environmental awareness. Jake and his father live in a remote settlement on the Wairarapa coast. They enjoy surfing, fishing, and pottering around with automobile engines. But this idyllic life stops when Jake’s father invites his lady friend and her daughter to stay. The situation is made more complex by the fact that a world-famous rock star, Milton Summer, owns a property nearby – and he’s being stalked by an annoyingly persistent journalist. Everyone’s attention focuses on a pygmy sperm whale and her calf when they get into trouble on the beach. Milt and Jake and the others try to help the whale – but only make things worse for her. The story ends with a grand final scene where Milt and Jake risk their lives to save the journalist from a massive tidal wave. Intermediate-aged boys will love the non-stop action and adventure, and will probably also be interested in the factual details about whales. Des Hunt lives and teaches in the Coromandel‚ and is a highly experienced non−fiction author for children‚ with a string of science texts to his credit. Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Monday, February 2, 2009

Le Cafe Petit on O'Sullivan Street

Le Café Petit on O’Sullivan St. by Raymond McGrath, Published by Penguin Group (NZ) 2009 ISBN: 9780143503491 RRP $18.95
At our favourite table
Our café on the street
Just me and my dad
In our usual seat
McGrath words are as quirky as his pictures; lively, colourful and full of pizzazz. The story has a good arc, beginning slowly with a young girl and her dad visiting their favourite cafe, and the pace building, as customers of every culture, shape and size make their appearance felt. We meet the likes of Pop Pawai, Mo Lalia, Miss Picklewick, Mrs Lemonsips and Mr Tangle, who engage in rowdy ‘gossip-chit-chattering, Jabber-chin-waggerin and jib-Jibble-gabbling. Add to the mix, Briggs’ trumpeting brass band, a choir singing ‘do wop’ and Mr Tangles’ ten howling dogs, the story (and pictures) reach alarming proportions. And just when you think the Le Café Petit couldn’t squeeze in another person...
A fun read, for a wide age range (this includes adults as well as children)
Reviewed by Vivienne Lingard