Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Chapter Book

Scoop and Scribe: Search for Seven Stars of Matariki by Tommy Kapai Wilson
RRP $18.99

It was a slow morning at the Panui Press, the little local newspaper where Scoop and Scribe worked. Life was usually pretty laid-back as far as these two young reporters were concerned.

This particular morning was no different as they sat in the newsroom waiting for a story, any old story, to walk through the front door.

"I guess it's another 'yawn bowls' front-page headline again, eh bro?" moaned Scoop.

"I wish there was an exciting story."

Of course, you should always be careful what you wish for. Minutes later an old Maori man walked in through the smoky glass doors of Panui Press and requested that Scribe and Scoop go in search of the Matariki stars that have been stolen. Scoop and Scribe travel to Northland, Tauranga, Rotorua, Napier, Whanganui to the Southern Alps then Queenstown, saving the seven stars on their journey.

Written for the 7-9 year old reader, the book has short chapters, coloured illustrations and an exciting storyline. It is a modern take on an old legend with Maori words interwoven throughout the story. An excellent book for young chapter readers and a resource to have in the classroom for your Maori Myths and Legends Reading programme.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two new non-fiction books from New Holland

I am a Penguin by Barbara Todd, illustrated by Helen Taylor
ISBN 978 1 86966 246 2 RRP $14.99

I'm a bird with two wings
But don't look in the sky
Because I am a penguin
And penguins can't fly!

Written in verse we learn all about the Penguin's life cycle, the different types of penguins, and their different habitats. At the back of the book are more facts about the penguin and a page of activities for teachers and parents to do with their child.

Barbara Todd is a naturalist, researcher and educator who has studied whales and dolphins, seabirds and the marine environment in the northern and southern hemispheres. She has written nine other children's books on natural history.

An enjoyable read for 4-6 year olds and a useful resource for school projects. The illustrations by Helen Taylor and beautiful photographs compliment the book perfectly.
Invaders: Animals from elsewhere that are causing trouble here by Nic Vallance and Rod Morris, ISBN 978 1 86966 209 7 RRP $19.99

Invaders reveals how deadly our cats, dogs and other introduced animals can be, and how even tiny trespassers such as ants can leave a big trail of trouble. It also explains how you can do your bit to help protect native wildlife.

Invaders is the first book in a new series from Nic and Rod about New Zealand's amazing nature. An excellent resource for the classroom and home for children 8-12 years old to help with projects about New Zealand wildlife and their predators. Having read and written quite a bit about predators myself - I can vouch there is lots of new information in this book. Children will enjoy the catchy titles: Rodent Raiders, Moose on the Loose, Freshwater Fraud, Kung Fu Kiwi, and quirky facts.

Children might recognise Nic Vallance from the 'Meet the Locals' series. She has a first-class degree in Zoology and a postgrad diploma in history film-making and communication.

Rod Morris has written and photographed many natural history books and is considered one of the country's most talented photographers and film-makers.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Two new Non-fiction Picture books

Rangitoto: Te toka tu moana, The rock standing in the ocean by Maria Gill, illustrated by Heather Arnold (Penguin) ISBN: 978 014 350334-7 RRP $19.95

Something's not right ...
My feathers are on edge.
I can feel trembling under my claws.
Look, there are bubbles coming out of the sea!
And that burning smell is getting stronger.
Where's that rumbling coming from?
Take flight! Take flight to the mainland!

Rangitoto tells the dramatic story of Auckland's most striking icon - its volcanic birth, the kaka's connection to Rangitoto, the imprint of humans on its fragile wildlife, and how the island's guardians are saving it today.

Maria Gill (that's me) reveals Rangitoto's explosive history and leads the reader to the present with the use of creative non-fiction (narration) but also has on the sides: facts, myths and legends, time lines and glossaries for the older reader to delve into. Heather Arnold has used a mix of acrylic paints and photography to achieve the colourful illustrations in the book.

Teachers download a teaching resource Kids make a volcano

Save Our Seas by Maria Gill, illustrated by Vivienne Lingard (New Holland)
ISBN 978 186966 2301 $19.95

Join Skipper L.B. Tross on a voyage around New Zealand. You will discover fascinating facts about the amazing creatures and plants that live in and beside the sea, such as dolphins, whales, penguins and more.

Inspired by the environmental work achieved by the legendary sailor and explorer Sir Peter Blake, the Skipper reveals exactly what's going on in the oceans around us and what we can do to help. You'll find fun activities, jokes, facts and true-to-life drawings of marine life and plants to keep you amused on your journey.

In Maria Gill's sixth non-fiction book for children she has used real life experiences for parts of the journey from her mother Yvonne Ferguson's journal when she sailed around the North and South Island with her partner Lee Middleton ten years ago.
Vivienne Lingard has illustrated several picture books and numerous early readers. Vivienne has used a mix of pencil, ink, and water colour to capture the different marine life in our coastal waters.

Teachers download a teaching resource and coastal clean-up kit here.