Saturday, August 28, 2010

Picture Books

Legends of the Cook Islands by Shona Hopkins, illus. Bruce Potter, Penguin NZ
There never seem to be enough books published for children about the Pacific Islands, so it’s good to see Penguin producing this one. It’s an attractive paperback that looks a bit like a picture book but is aimed at an older readership, probably children of primary-school age. It includes eight legends briefly told, usually four pages per legend. Titles include The Pearls of the South Seas, Ati and the Water Fairies, and Ina and the Shark. There is a Glossary of Cook Island words at the back. Each story has one main illustration by Bruce Potter, done in his uniquely realistic style. The peaceful design of the book and Bruce’s beautiful seascapes imbue the book with a true Pacific feel.
ISBN 978 014 35 0407 8 RRP $19.99

Magpie Mischief by June Peka, illus. Jo Thapa, Scholastic NZ
This lively story was the Joy Cowley Award winner for 2009. It is based on a true story – about the disasters caused by Pie the cheeky magpie. Pop is very proud of his vege garden, so when Pie gets up to her tricks, Pop is devastated. Pie pulls out the seedlings, undoes important knots, and pecks holes in the prize pumpkin. But Pop refuses to put her in a cage. Eventually desperation forces him come up with an unusual but effective solution. The bright, eye-catching illustrations offer some unusual perspectives and interesting textures. This warm-hearted story about the battle of wills between Pop and Pie should be fun to read aloud to children of about five to seven. Also available in a Te Reo edition.
ISBN 978 1 86943 932 3 RRP $18.99
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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