Saturday, May 29, 2010


The Kiwi Fossil Hunter's Handbook by James Crampton & Marianna Terezow
(Random House) ISBN 978-1-86979-188-9 RRP$39.99

Did dinosaurs once stalk GoldenBay? Is limestone made of stone - or millions of fossilised animals? And what do lumps of amber tell us about the ancient forests which once clothed New Zealand?

You'll find the answers to these questions and lots more about New Zealand's fascinating prehistory in this A5 sized book (208 pages). The introduction tells us what a fossil is and the many different types, how they become preserved and how to read a fossil. It also gives a very short geological history of New Zealand and the skills to collect fossils. From thereon the book explores region by region and you can find out what type of fossils you will find and where - a very handy book to keep the in car for family day trips. I really like how this book is organised; there are colour keys, fact boxes, geological time-lines, photographs, diagrams and maps. At the back is an extensive glossary, further readings, driving directions, and an index. No space has been wasted - you'll find geological time scales on both the endpapers. The book also contains three pull-out mini posters by well-known artist Dave Gunson, which brings the prehistoric world to life. I wouldn't be surprised if this book is shortlisted for the children's book awards in 2011 - it has all the right ingredients. It is interesting to note the public have not been deterred by the price tag - it has often been in the bestseller list. A highly recommended book for children 8-14 years, parents, teachers and amateur fossil hunters.

Geologist Dr James Crampton is the head of of the GNS Science's Global Change Through Time programme. He worked on the NZ Fossils: Dead Precious! exhibition and is passionate about getting young people interested in fossils.

Biologist Marianna Terezow also works for GNZ Science and worked on the same exhibition. Marianna's 3D samples of fossils can be viewed and played with at the GNS Science website

See inside Teacher notes
If you can tell me something interesting about fossils (for 8-12 year olds) - I'll put you in the draw for a free copy of The Kiwi Fossil Hunter's Handbook.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Finnigan & the Pirates by Sherryl Jordan, Scholastic NZ
Congratulations to Scholastic for their excellent book design. Both the story and the illustrations are the work of the author, and Scholastic obviously decided to match quality with quality. The eye-catching cover, the attractive layout, and the glossy paper with excellent colour printing mean that this book is hard to resist. Some of us may have forgotten that Sherryl began her career in children’s books by illustrating, but her delightfully detailed cartoon pictures in this book prove she’s a talented artist.
Finnigan is the nephew of Wildebloode the Wicked – the fiercest pirate who ever roamed the seas (BTW, she’s female!). Finnigan is meant to follow in her footsteps – but all he wants to do is dance. After many adventures, the pirate crew are captured by cannibals and in imminent danger of being eaten. But the cannibals like to dance – and Finnigan sees his chance... Readers of about 8 to 11 will relish the adventure and humour of the story – and thoroughly enjoy the engaging illustrations.
ISBN 978 1 86943 927 9 RRP $18.99
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Stranger Madness by Melanie Drewery, illus. Jenny Cooper, Scholastic NZ
This is a sequel to the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards shortlisted title The Mad Tadpole Adventure. Maddie and her friends are back with another roller-coaster adventure. This time, Maddie’s imagination goes into overdrive after her class have a talk about Stranger Danger. Maddie is horrified when her mother hires a babysitter who is a stranger – and a not very nice one, either. There’s a rumpus as Maddie tries to foil the babysitter – but then something really extreme happens involving the cat flap! Jenny Cooper’s appealing black ink cartoon pictures appear on almost every page, and should help less confident readers. Best for youngsters of about 7 to 9, but older reluctant readers may enjoy it.
ISBN 978 1 86943 949 1 RRP $12.99
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Into the Wilderness by Mandy Hager, Random House NZ
This is the second book in the Blood of the Lamb trilogy for young adults, following on from this year’s NZ Post YA Award winner, The Crossing. Believe me, this one is just as absorbing and thrilling as the first title. The heroine, Maryam, escapes from the cruel and murderous cult on the island of Onewere in a small sailing boat, along with her friend Ruth. They are accompanied by Joseph and his cousin Lazarus, two boys from the cult families. Joseph is kind and good-hearted, while Lazarus is proud and pig-headed. They reach another island, but it’s deserted. Health problems force them onwards; they experience a death and a storm and a shipwreck; then they are picked up by a vessel belonging to the Confederated Territories (formerly Australia).
But their troubles are not over. They are confined in a Christmas Island-type refugee camp, and Maryam undergoes several more ordeals in order to keep her companions safe and healthy. What next? Well, there’s a hint that Maryam is determined to return to Onewere and confront the Blood of the Lamb members ... I can’t wait to read the last book in the series!
Teacher Notes
ISBN 978 1 86979 329 6 RRP $19.99
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

New Zealand Post Children's Book Winners

NON-FICTION CATEGORY AWARD WINNER

E3 Call Home
Janet Hunt
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-276-3 pb RRP $24.99
Target age 7+

JUNIOR FICTION CATEGORY AWARD WINNER

The Loblolly Boy
James Norcliffe
Longacre Press
ISBN 978-1-877460-25-8 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 10+

YOUNG ADULT FICTION CATEGORY AWARD WINNER

Blood of the Lamb: The Crossing
Mandy Hager
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-150-6 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 13+

PICTURE BOOK CATEGORY AWARD WINNER

NEW ZEALAND POST CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR 2010

Old Hu-Hu
Kyle Mewburn & Rachel Driscoll
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-897-5 hb RRP $29.99
Target age 4+

Hū-Hū Koroheke (Te reo edition)
translated by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira
ISBN 978-1-86943-518-9 pb RRP$18.99

CHILDREN'S CHOICE AWARDS

CHILDREN'S CHOICE AWARD WINNER


The Wonky Donkey
Craig Smith & Katz Cowley
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-926-2 pb RRP $24.99
Target age 2+

Children's Choice Non-fiction Category Winner

Dear Alison
Simon Pollard (editor)
Penguin NZ
ISBN 978-0-14330-460-9 hb RRP $30.00
Target age 5+

Children's Choice Junior Fiction Category Winner

Friends: Snake and Lizard
Joy Cowley & Gavin Bishop
Gecko Press
ISBN 978-1-877467-26-4 hb RRP $ 29.99
ISBN 978-1-877467-25-7 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 6+

Children's Choice Young Adult Fiction Category Winner

Brainjack
Brian Falkner
Walker Books
ISBN 978-1-921150-95-1 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 12+

Children's Choice Picture Book Category Winner

The Wonky Donkey
Craig Smith & Katz Cowley
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-926-2 pb RRP $24.99
Target age 2+

HONOUR AWARD RECIPIENT

The Word Witch
Margaret Mahy & David Elliot, edited by Tessa Duder
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 978-1-86950-707-7 hb RRP $44.99
Target age 6+

BEST FIRST BOOK AWARD WINNER

The Bone Tiki
David Hair
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 978-1-86950-734-3 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 12

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards Finalists

Only two more days to go to find out who the winners of the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards - here is the list of finalists:

PICTURE BOOK CATEGORY
Cowshed Christmas
Gavin Bishop, illustrated by Joy Cowley
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-073-8 pb RRP $24.99
Target age 3+

Old Hu-Hu
Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Rachel Driscoll
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-897-5 hb RRP $29.99
Target age 4+

Hū-Hū Koroheke (Te reo edition)
translated by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira
ISBN 978-1-86943-518-9 pb RRP$18.99

Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig Goes to Dad’s Cafe
Diana Neild, illustrated by Philip Webb
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-910-1 pb RRP $18.99
Target age 3+

The Wonky Donkey
Craig Smith, illustrated by Katz Cowley
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-926-2 pb RRP $24.99
Target age 2+

The Word Witch
Margaret Mahy, illustrated by David Elliot, edited by Tessa Duder
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 978-1-86950-707-7 hb RRP $44.99
Target age 6+

NON-FICTION CATEGORY
Ben & Mark: Boys of the High Country
Christine Fernyhough & John Bougen
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-068-4 pb RRP $36.99
Target age 8+

Dear Alison
Simon Pollard (editor)
Penguin NZ
ISBN 978-0-14330-460-9 hb RRP $30.00
Target age 5+

E3 Call Home
Janet Hunt
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-276-3 pb RRP $24.99
Target age 7+

Rangitoto
Maria Gill, illustrated by Heather Arnold
Puffin Books
ISBN 978-0-14350-334-7 pb RRP $19.95
Target age 8+

Willie Apiata, VC: The Reluctant Hero
Paul Little & John Lockyer
Puffin Books
ISBN 978-0-14330-457-9 pb RRP $25.00
Target age 10+

JUNIOR FICTION CATEGORY
Cry of the Taniwha
Des Hunt
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 978-1-86950-731-2 pb RRP $18.99
Target age 9+

Friends: Snake and Lizard
Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop
Gecko Press
ISBN 978-1-877467-26-4 hb RRP $ 29.99
ISBN 978-1-877467-25-7 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 6+

The Loblolly Boy
James Norcliffe
Longacre Press
ISBN 978-1-877460-25-8 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 10+

My Story: The Mine’s Afire!
Susan Battye & Thelma Eakin
Scholastic New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86943-887-6 pb RRP $17.99
Target age 10+

Sting
Raymond Huber
Walker Books
ISBN 978-1-921150-89-0 pb RRP $16.99
Target age 8+

YOUNG ADULT FICTION CATEGORY
Banquo’s Son
T.K. Roxborogh
Penguin NZ
ISBN 978-0-14320-249-3 pb RRP $37.00
Target age 12+

The Beginner’s Guide to Living
Lia Hills
Text Publishing
ISBN 978-1-921520-07-5 pb RRP $25.00
Target age 14+

Blood of the Lamb: The Crossing
Mandy Hager
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-150-6 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 13+

Brainjack
Brian Falkner
Walker Books
ISBN 978-1-921150-95-1 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 12+

End of the Alphabet
Fleur Beale
Random House New Zealand
ISBN 978-1-86979-070-7 pb RRP $19.99
Target age 12+


In selecting finalists, the judges consider points such as creative writing, use of language, impact, integrity, design and production values. Additional criteria for the Picture Book category include harmony between text and illustration. For the Non-fiction category the judges take into account integration of text, graphics, how illustrations were used to engage interest and enhance understanding, plus accuracy of data.

Finalists also compete for the coveted Children’s Choice Award, where kids, not the Awards’ judges, get to choose their favourite book. Voting for the Children’s Choice Award begins today. Long considered one of the highest accolades a children’s author can receive, children of school age from all over New Zealand vote on this Award. Voting can be placed online at www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz or by using the special voting card available from bookshops, libraries and schools. Voting closes at 5.00pm, Friday 30 April.

All winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony held in Auckland’s Town Hall on Wednesday 19 May.
Lethal Deliveries by Ken Benn, Penguin NZ
This story is aimed squarely at a young adult audience – it’s gritty and challenging. The blurb says, “Rochelle has her hopes set on one day playing in the National Women’s Inline Hockey team. Her goal seems to slip from her reach as she gets sucked into her brother’s world of gangs and drug dealing.” Be prepared for a tough urban setting, a variety of character viewpoints (some of them are not at all likeable), and plenty of delving into an underworld of drugs and crime.
ISBN 978 0 14 330547 7 RRP $25
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman
Telling tales: A life in writing by William Taylor, Harper Collins

When I was seven years old I saw Jesus in our garden at Roslyn Road, Levin. It was something of a surprise, because we didn't get many visitors...

A great start to the warm and witty memoir of William Taylor. William meanders through his life, the books he has written, the different turns his life his taken, and the people who have influenced him - and find their way into his books. He remarks that he likes to put in snippets from different time frames; preferring not to write in a linear fashion - and this is the style he has adopted for this book. It is not an American bare-all type of book - thank goodness - New Zealand is too small a country to divulge too much. Instead you get a sense of what a remarkable teacher William was. His love and understanding of children encouraged him to write about subjects that were considered taboo - hundreds of teenagers wrote to him thanking him for broaching those themes. You also come away feeling - how did he simultaneously and single-handedly raise two boys, be Principal of a country school and Mayor of Ohakune, and own half a restaurant all at the same time - it puts our busy lives into pale insignificance. (I'll also never say that men cannot do more than one thing at a time again.) A book for High school aged children and adults upwards - an enjoyable read. (Note, the size of text is bigger than the norm - enabling the 40+ to read without having to hold the book at arm's length.)

ISBN: 978-1-86950-837-1 RRP $39.95
Reviewed by Maria Gill

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Piggity - Wiggity Jiggity Jig and the School Concert by Diana Neild, illustrated by Philip Webb (Scholastic) ISBN 978-1-86943-944-6 RRP$

Piggity Wiggity Jiggity Jig
was a fun sort of name for a bored sort of pig.
His brothers and sisters had no time at all
to read him a book, or play gams with a ball;
they were busy rehearsing and learning lines loudly
and prancing about in their dress-up clothes proudly.

Piggity Wiggity wished he was old enough to be in the school play. He watched his brothers and sisters practice, he helped back stage, and then watched the performance unfold from the audience but when Bruce coughs and splutters on stage...

It's a 'little kid saves the day' type story complete with rhyme. This is the third book in the award winning Piggity Wig series. Author Diana Neild and illustrator Philip Webb are a perfect match for this whimsical story.

Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig: 2009 NZ Post Book Honour Award, Storylines Notable Book 2009, Chosen as National Library s nationwide read-aloud title for Library Week in 2008. Piggity Wiggity Jiggity Jig goes to Dad's Cafe is a Finalist in the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.

Diana lives in Palmerston North and plays the saxophone. Philip Webb has been illustrating
children's books for years in Wellington, including the Scholastic title Dragor, an Honour Book at the NZ Post Children s Book.

Two Little Pirates by Ruth Paul (Scholastic) ISBN 978-1-86943-935-4 RRP $ 18.99

The dawn slips in on a dragonfly's wing,
in through a porthole to wake up the King,
and in through the misty remains of the night,
come two little pirates preparing to fight.

The two little pirates charge through the boat/house with a holler and hoot. They capture the Queen and tease and torment her. The King comes to her rescue...

A delightful tale about two little boys waking up in the middle of the night causing mischief and mayhem. The family's facial expressions, rough and tumble movements and double meaning of pirate and bedtime antics are captured in brightly coloured water colour and pencil illustrations. Ruth uses alliteration, rhyme and rhythm to create a rollicking read that rolls off the tongue. A story that a lot of tired parents will identify with and perhaps a few impish children will recognise. A great read aloud for kindergarten and Junior Primary school children.

Ruth Paul is the award winning Author/Illustrator of The Animal Undie Ball, The Little White Lie, The King’s Bubbles and Superpotamus. Ruth illustrates her books in a straw bale studio in the middle of the paddock, near Wellington.

The King’s Bubbles WINNER Children’s Choice Award, NZ Post Children’s Book
Awards 2008; WINNER Best Children’s Book 2008, BPANZ Book Design Awards

Hester's Blister by Chris Gurney, illustrated by Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson (Scholastic)
ISBN 978-1-86943-930-9 RRP$18.99

“OUCH!” said Hester Lister,
for she had a nasty blister,
right on the tippy of her tongue …

Hester asks around the neighbourhood for a solution to her pesky blister problem. As each remedy fails she ticks it off her list but in the end is surprised by the unexpected twist...


Parents, kindergarten and Junior Primary teachers will enjoy reading aloud this humorous tale. Chris Gurney has a real gift for rhyme and rhythm. Hester's Blister is Chris Gurney's fourth book for Scholastic. Chris already has three Kiwi Corker titles published with two more scheduled for publication in 2010.

Sarah has designed and illustrated the book using digital painting and digital collage. The text bounces around the page; sometimes black text on white space, other times it's part of the illustration or captured in speech bubbles. Readers will return to the book many times to study the different types of graphics: maps, signs, notes on the page. This is the third book Sarah has illustrated. She first won the Children's Choice Award for 'The Were Nana' and was shortlisted for BPANZ Design Award 2009. The second: 'Tiny Miss Dott and her Dotty Umbrella(2009)was a 2010 Notable Book.

Reviewed by Maria Gill