Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Noisy Book by Soledad Bravi, Gecko Press
This handy-sized boardbook provides plenty for your money – 112 pages – which means around 50 double-spreads. Originally published in French, it simply goes through the sounds made by various things (“the cat goes meow”) with a sketchy, childlike cartoon illustration for each object or concept. I was able to test the book on my nearly three-year-old grandson, and he sat still the whole time – a definite recommendation. The adult reader needs to put plenty of effort into making the appropriate sounds – and occasional interpretation might also be needed. Noises from objects such as blocks, wolf, monkey, cuckoo, door, baby and cow are fine - and Mummy going “Kiss, kiss” is also likely to produce a laugh. But a snail not making any sound at all takes a bit of explaining, and a tin of spinach going “Yuck” is not a familiar object to a New Zealand child. Nevertheless, this could easily become a favourite carry-round item for your toddler, and would be a great book to go under the Christmas tree. Released in November.
ISBN 9781877467523 RRP $24.99
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Shadow of the Boyd by Diana Menefy, HarperCollins NZ
Like most New Zealanders, I knew about the burning of the Boyd in Whangaroa Harbour in 1809, but knew nothing of the details. Diana Menefy’s book casts a clear and accurate light on this notorious event. It’s written from the point of view of one of the four survivors, a cabin boy called Thomas, aged about fifteen at the time. The slaughter of the crew is generally regarded as utu for the cruel flogging of a chieftain’s son on the journey to New Zealand, and Thomas’s life was spared because he smuggled food to the stricken Maori after the flogging. The story unfolds on two levels, because Thomas is writing his account of the Whangaroa event aboard the ship that rescued him – the City of Edinburgh – as it sails back to Britain. The City of Edinburgh is nearly wrecked off the coast of South America, so Thomas’s adventures continue for some time. Thomas is a clear-headed and observant narrator, and I enjoyed the interesting historical details of shipboard life at the time. There is an Author’s Note and a Glossary at the back. This story would appeal to readers of about 11 to 14 who like reading historical adventure.
ISBN 978 1 86950 860 9 RRP $19.99
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

No comments: