Thursday, December 9, 2010

An assortment of books for children

Pick 'n' Mix assorted Kiwi stories, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Scholastic) ISBN: 978-1-86943-956-9 RRP $24.00

Dip into this assortment of 16 short stories. You'll find stories by some of New Zealand's award winning and established writers: Elizabeth Pulford, Joy Cowley, Moira Wairama, David Hill, Janice Marriott, Melinda Szymanik, philippa Werry, Kathy White and Bill Nagelkerke and talented new comers: Tania Hutley, Jaqualine Chapman, Feana Tu'akoi, Jill Brasell, Vicki Hall, and Heather McQuillan. Read about a donkey's revenge, how to get your smarts for a math's test, how to dodge space pirates, go back in time with a sugar-baby boy, find out if Hugo keeps the mutts or ditches the girl, and whether Mike gets his dog-walking business off his sister. There's even some unlikely fairy stories ...

It's my turn to cook by Margaret Brooker (New Holland Publishers)
ISBN 978-1-86966-169-4 RRP $24.99

This book will be very popular with aspiring cooks. They'll read about food safety rules and are given tips on how to do things like peel garlic, grate food, chop an onion, separate an egg, chop herbs, beat egg whites stiff and most importantly melt chocolate. In It's my turn to cook there are recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert and yummy treats. My daughter snatched the book on its arrival (the cover invites children to turn its pages) and has already trialed several of its recipes. I can defintely recommend the peanut butter cookies, chicken nibbles and chocolate cake. I've got my order in (for my daughter to cook - no ulterior motive here at all - all in the interests of testing whether the recipes are good or not) for strawberry ice-cream, Moroccan Lamb, and for breakfast French Toast, oh and chocolate mousse and some chocolate truffles ...

An excellent Christmas present for 8-12 year olds (Mothers and Fathers - it is in your interest to buy this book).

H.O.U.S.E. by Aleksandra Machowiak and Daniel Mizielinski (Gecko Press)
ISBN: 978-1-877467-66-0 RRP $ 39.99 hardback

This is a fascinating book for children, and adults who are interested in unusual architecture. The book is colourful, laid out with symbols, maps and drawings of houses from all over the world. There is a huge house with big spikes in Denmark, a burrow house in Switzerland, a bubble house in France, a sail house in Spain, a moon house and butterfly house in England, a pear house in the Netherlands, a starry house in Italy - and that's just Europe. In America there's an upwind house, a house of building blocks, a shipping container house; in Chile a house at the edge of the world, a sand house in Iran, a suitcase house in China, a caterpillar and egg house in Japan, and a zig zag house in Australia - and plenty of other unusual houses. It's the sort of book you can dip in and out many times and find something you missed the last time you read it. The book invites you to find the location for each house, meet the architects, think of the house's ideal name then compare it with the original name on the top right hand corner. You can see what the house is made of, what type of furniture it has (bed, kitchen etc.), whether it is in the country, city, mountains, forest or by the sea. There are 23 icons for the reader to identify what type of house they are looking at. Not surprisingly, Ibby put it on their Honour List - it is a gem of a book.
The authors Aleksandra and Daniel graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poland in 2008 - this is their first book.

It's a Book by Lane Smith (Walker Books)
ISBN: 978-1-921720-14-7 RRP $29.99 hardback

What do you have there?
It's a book.
How do you scroll down?
I don't.
I turn the page.
It's a book.
Do you blog with it?
No, it's a book.

Jackass asks chimp whether it can text, blog, scroll, wi-fi, or tweet? "No ... it's a book," says Chimp. This is a book for all book lovers who stubbornly hold onto the hope that there will be paper books in the future. In fact, give it to someone young so they can see the funny side of book vs. e-book argument. All that aside ... it is a very clever, simple book with humour. The artwork and design is pared back; there are close-ups and different angles of the three main characters (Jackass, chimp and book). I love the look on Chimp's face as he becomes frustrated with the many questions. The last line is a doozy. An absolute delight. (And yes, I do confess this is not a New Zealand children's book - but as a book lover I had to sneak it in.)

Lane Smith is a gifted picture book writer and illustrator. Several of his books have been on bestseller lists and won awards: Madam President; John, Paul, George & Ben; James and the Giant Peach; Princess Hyacinth; Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Reviewed by Maria Gill

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