Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Horse Stories

Ripple and the wild horses of White cloud Station By Trudy Nicholson
Penguin NZ, 2009 ISBN 13: 9780143304593 RRP: $17.95

The curly-coated horse stopped for a moment, just long enough to put his nose in the air and make a high-pitched honking noise.
“That’s a special noise they make to the rest of the herd, It’s a warning device horse have – they do it when they want to warn the others there’s a predator around. Clever, eh?”

In the first book we meet Suzy and her two best friends Lucy and Alexa. They are camping out at White Cloud Station waiting for the annual round up of wild horses. Lucy desperately wants a horse, but her asthma is a problem. Until she meets the curly haired horse she quickly names Ripple.
She desperately wants to buy Ripple at the auction, but someone beats her to it. After much heartache Suzy finds out the horse was bought for her.
Suzy and her friends have lots of fun on their horses in Trudy Nicholson’s first novel. The story is heavy with horsey facts which is to be expected given that the author has penned many non-fiction horse books.

Summer With Horses By Trudy Nicholson, Penguin NZ, 2009

“Ripple! Ripple! Suzy yelled at the top of her lungs. There was a feint neigh from the direction of the cave. “Why isn’t he coming when I call him? She peered desperately toward the cave. “The tide’s turning – he must be caught over there. If we don’t get him out he’ll be trapped and…and…he won’t be able to come back.”

Suzy, her pals and their horses are camping out at the beach where they meet Sam a young boy who loves horses as much as they do. Sam quickly becomes the hero after Ripple gets caught in the rising tide inside a cave.
In the second book in this series, the action is stepped up a bit with a near disaster on the beach. Then Suzy goes to stay at White cloud Station and her relationships with the owners is explored more.
Another story packed with horse facts that equine lovers would enjoy.
Reviews by Christine Hurst

Trudy Nicholson attended pony club and competed as a child. She later became a teacher of horse riding, both to children and adults, bringing many through to competition level. Trudy has trained competition horses, evented, competed in dressage at national level and worked in the thoroughbred industry in a variety of capacities. Her photographic skills and knowledge of horses give her the ability to capture the body language, relationships and emotions of the horse in a uniquely expressive way. When not travelling, her base is a small rural holding with her family and horses in Nelson. She is also the author of A Way With Horses.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lorraine's Latest Reviews

Kyla by Frances Cherry, Scholastic New Zealand
Every teenager’s worst nightmare comes true when Kyla’s beloved grandmother dies suddenly – and Kyla is left with nobody to look after her. Kyla’s aunt Caroline reluctantly takes her in, but it means Kyla has to leave all her friends and move to Wellington. Kyla and Caroline find it very difficult to accommodate each other. Kyla retreats into a world of make-believe and tells lies to the girls at school about her family and background. When she’s caught out she simply can’t cope any more, and she runs away. Her attempt to return to Auckland is fraught with difficulty and danger but it’s actually a blessing in disguise – she is forced to accept that she can never go back to her old life. Girls of around 12 to 15 will happily devour this story. It’s simply written but packed with tension and emotion.
ISBN 978 1 86943 883 8 RRP $19 Teaching Resource Available
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

The Runaway Settlers by Elsie Locke, HarperCollins New Zealand
This old favourite has been conveniently re-issued in the Collins Modern New Zealand Classics series. Originally published in 1965, it is set in 1859 and tells the tale of the Small family – who escape from an abusive father in Australia by running away to New Zealand. Mrs Small and her six children have little money but they are very resourceful. They settle in a rundown cottage on a big country station near Lyttleton, and earn a living by selling vegetables and flowers. After several setbacks Mrs Small and one of her sons make the family’s fortune by driving a herd of cattle over to the West Coast to sell beef to the gold miners. The trials and adventures of the family make fascinating reading, all the more interesting because it’s a true story about real people. Best for intermediate ages upwards.
ISBN 978 1 86950 769 5 RRP $20 Teaching Resource Available
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the cat with no name

the cat with no name by Sher Foley, illustrated by Brian Lovelock, published by Scholastic
Once, not so very long ago,
there was a small cat with no name.
He also had no home, apart from a
cardboard box under a motorway bridge
in the middle of a big city.

The cat with no name ventures out each night to find food. The first night he tries egg foo yung at the local chinese takeaway. The next night he tries spaghetti carbonara at the Italian cafe and so on. Each times he samples the food and says it 'didn't taste like food for a cat'. Then one evening the little cat went for a long, long walk until he reached a garden with a family...

This beautifully illustrated picture book is a delight. Teachers will love it because they can integrate it into their study of different cultures for the Junior school. As well as different types of food, each person greets the cat in their own language. Children will want it read again and again - after a while they'll be chanting the repetitive passages back to their parents.

This is Sher Foley's first book and she has teamed up with her partner Brian Lovelock (illustrator of Roadworks). By day she is a scientific librarian and he's a geochemist. By night she's tapping away at the computer and he's splashing water colour paints around - they make a great team!

ISBN: 9 781869 438852 RRP $17.99
Reviewed by Maria Gill

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chronicles of Stone sequel

Intermediate/Young Adult

Chronicles of Stone: Tribal Ash by Vincent Ford, Scholastic
This is the third title in the series; the first two were Scorched Bone and Set in Stone. Set in prehistoric times, 10,000 years ago, the series follows the adventures of adolescent twins, Trei and Souk, who leave their tribe and set off to follow their destiny. Souk (a girl) has leanings towards being a shaman, while Trei (a boy) is determined to unravel the secret of creating more powerful weapons.
The third volume starts with Trei escaping from the violent Northmen’s tribe and heading back towards his own people. But Souk stays with the Northmen – she is expecting a baby, and she’s also hoping to avert war between the Northmen and neighbouring tribes. Both twins have much hardship and danger to overcome before they are happily reunited in their home territory. Like all adolescents, they learn that there are difficult sacrifices to be made if you want to follow your dream.
Vince Ford’s careful research into prehistoric times has enabled him to create an enjoyable and convincing tale that offers suspense, adventure and historical detail. Scorched Bone is currently shortlisted for the senior section of the New Zealand Post Book Awards.
2MUCH4U Winner Tom Fitzgibbon Award 1998; Winner NZ Post
Children s Book Awards: Junior Fiction category, and Best First Book;
CLFNZ Notable Book 2000
POSSUMS2U CLFNZ Notable Book 2003
A Handful of Blue CLFNZ Notable Book 2004
Storylines Notable Book 2007
ISBN 978 1 86943 832 6 RRP $19
Teacher Notes available
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tough Enough

Tough Enough by Tania Hutley, published by Scholastic,
ISBN 978 1 86943 860 9
Be staunch, I told myself. Act tough, fit in. I have to make it through six whole weeks of summer holiday...
"This is our one," Mum said, parking in front of caravan seven. She turned and winked at me. "Sun, surf and sand. This is going to be a great holiday, Matt."
I said nothing.
"You aren't still worried about those silly things that Jayden said, are you?" she asked.
"Well, it's true about the murders..."
Just because there were murders here doesn't mean that this is a rough town."
How did Matt ever get into this? After facing up to the local teens,Matt accepts a dare to go inside the killer's house to steal a momento but Matt finds more than he bargained for...
Tania Hutley writes a fast paced chapter book for 9-12 year old readers. The main character is a boy but he is such a likeable person - girls will enjoy the story too. Kids that have had to move house and make new friends will identify with that feeling of trying to fit in. An enjoyable read!
This is Tania Hutley's first children's book but she is no novice to writing. Hutley has been a technical writer for over 15 years and has been shortlisted or placed runner-up in numerous short story awards. Kids check out the book trailer for 'Tough Enough' - are you staunch enough to read it!
Teachers download the Teacher Notes.
Reviewed by Maria Gill

Monday, March 2, 2009

About Griffen's Heart

About Griffen’s Heart by Tina Shaw: Longacre Press 2009
ISBN: 9781877460135 RRP $ 19.99 Target Age: Young Adults

This is a clever, snappy, character-driven story, with a great mixture of nerds and nasties. Griffen, is definitely a goodie, a softie even, though having a dickie heart and a Vespa, does help his image somewhat. He suffers a lot of angst. Not just from the pending heart surgery but from two other teens on the scene; Roxy – the hottest girl in school, and Ryan, his bad-boy, younger brother.

Griffen does a great deal of watching from the sidelines, and even the shadows, as he tries to build up enough courage to ask the enigmatic, long-legged Roxy out. During these evening prowls however, Griffen learns more than he ever bargained on. The tension in the story builds, as well as in Griffen’s heart as he (helped by best mate Ajax) deals with the devastating consequences of his observations.

Does boy get girl ...? You’ll just have to read this gem of a book to find out.

Suitable for teens. Teaching Resource available.
Reviewed by Vivienne Lingard.