Sunday, October 31, 2010

Picture Books

Hill & Hole by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Vasanti unka (Penguin)
ISBN 978-0-143504535 RRP $18.99

Hill and Hole were best friends
Hill likes being a hill,
and Hole likes being a hole.
But sometimes they dream of swapping places...

Have you ever had that feeling that it might be fun to be something or do something else? Kyle Mewburn's wonderfully original story explores that theme with two very unlikely characters - Hill and Hole.

Kyle has produced another excellent philosophical book that will encourage 4-8 year old children to think about wanting what you don't have. Teachers could use it to explore the Health theme of being happy with who you are. The illustrations are a perfect fit for this picture book.

Kyle Mewburn has been a full-time writer since 1997. His book Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! won the Picture Book and Children's Choice Awards at the 2007 NZ Post Children's Book Awards. In 2009 he was a finalist with Duck's Stuck and in 2010 is the winner the Picture Book category with Old Hu-Hu.

Vasanti Unka is a graphic designer and illustrator who works from her home office. In 2006 she won the Best Educational Book Award from BPANZ for her design of the book set, Frontier of Dreams and in 2008 one of her illustrated books The Bean's Story was a Storylines Notable Book.

Kei hea a Spot? na Eric Hill (Penguin)

Ka kino a Spot!
Ko te wa kai.
Hei hea ranei ia?

A classic Where is Spot? book reproduced in Maori. Kohanga reo classes will find this a very useful resource in their classrooms.

Hannah Bandanna's Hair by Nikki Slade Robinson (Scholastic)
RRP $19.95

Fruffled and frizzled,
teased and tizzled,
knotted and knitted,
whorled and whizzled,
is Hannah Bandanna's hair.

Hannah Bandanna has wild hair that keeps getting tangled and tied into knots. She gets rather fed up with her out-of-control hair until Aunt Tallpoppy gives her some advice that changes her outlook...

Having wild hair myself I can totally identify with Hannah and her problems. Lots of curly headed 4-6 year olds will also. Nikki has used mixed media: coloured pencil and gouache on brown paper combined digitally with photographs and digital illusration.

After Nikki Slade Robinson graduated from Wellington’s Visual Communication and Design course she set up as a freelance illustrator in 1989. She has illustrated over 60 titles including children’s books and readers, including award-winning The Puriri Tree/Te Puriri. "The Seven Stars of Matariki" has been a finalst in the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. "That's not Junk!" was one of three titles Penguin has chosen to release internationally as a Q-Book in 2010.

Little Red and the Cunning Kuri by Chris Gurney, illustrated by Sarah Anderson
RRP $18.50

Little Red was a happy and sweet little girl,
and her hair was a mop of crazy red curls.
She was called 'Little Red' from when she was small,
as red was the colour she loved most of all.

Another book in the Kiwi Corker series - this time a retake on Little Red Riding Hood story. This bouncy red headed girl meets not a fox but a cunning kuri. But this dog gets more than he bargained for when he tries to trick Little Red.

Chris Gurney is an expert on writing these rhyming traditional stories with a kiwi twist. Sarah Anderson's illustrations are vibrant and stunning (and very red). Sarah has created the illustrations by combining digital painting and digital collage.

Chris Gurney has had seven picture book titles published in the space of two years. She writes with a faultless sense of rhyme and rhythm and shows great humorous talent. Auckland based illustrator Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson brings a fresh look to picture books with quirky artwork that literally glows on the pages.

More wonderful tales in the Kiwi Corkers Great New Zealand Yarns series are The Tuatara and the Skink, Cindy and the Lost Jandal, Wacko Kakapo, The Ugly Hatchling, Trev and the Kauri Tree, The Little Blue Duck, The Three Little Lambs, The Mayor's Flash New Clothes and A Kiwi Christmas Carol

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Joy Cowley

One week after releasing the following two books, Joy Cowley received the Prime Minister's Award for her contribution to children's literature. Joy Cowley has given an incredible amount not just in this country (giving proceeds for 'Writing from the Heart' and writing workshops to Storylines and volunteering much of her time over the years) she has also travelled the world giving workshops in poor countries so that children, teachers and authors can benefit from her experience and hear her stories - at her own expense.

Navigation: a memoir by Joy Cowley (Penguin)
ISBN: 978-0-14-320571-5 RRP$45.00

When Joy Cowley was asked several years ago to write an autobiography - she said no. Penguin came back and suggested she wrote her memoirs. Joy Cowley quite liked the idea of focussing on a collection of anecdotes. "I'm like a riverbed trying to identify all the stones that make it what it is."

Her life's journey is situated in place: her father's wish to not live far from the sea left an imprint on Joy, she too longed to live near it and by chance found an idyllic place in Fish Bay. She brought her four children up there, and now visits it with her grandchildren. She has written many of her stories there. "I relax in a hot tub and think, 'Wishy-washy, wishy-washy'... An albino eagle ray follows my dinghy. A pet pig develops a taste for tobacco and eats visitors' cigarettes, packets and all. In a screaming nor-wester, a willy-wall picks up two kayaks from the beach and shoots them high in the air like missiles, dropping them in the bush halfway up the hill. On a calm day, I stand in shallow water and small fish, soft as feathers, lie on my bare feet to warm themselves. Stories, stories; and not just the inspiration, either, but also the energy to create them."

In 1958, Joy began writing after her two little ones were put to bed. Her first two stories were published in the New Zealand Daily Exporter. Then stories were published in the Home Journal and School Publications. She also joined a writers group and was given feedback. She continued sending stories to The Listener and after 40 rejections was finally published in 1961.

Joy says stories were everywhere, like the fruit in her orchard. "All I had to do was pick it up and use or preserve it for a later date." It was while trying to find stories that would interest her son Edward that she became interested in writing early readers. She found that the word lists she was supposed to include in her stories contained words that children rarely used. She suggested a change at the International Reading Conference in America. She also engaged with children to find out what interested them. She wrote their stories and discovered that children who experienced failure with reading needed to have text that built up their self esteem. She made them the heroes, included humour and often put a small surprise at the end of the book.

You'll read about how Joy Cowley had her first adult novels published, how she entered a picture book competition and won with The Duck in the Gun, and later tried to rescue a turtle from death in Fiji and though wasn't able to save it, was inspired to write her first junior fiction novel called The Silent One.

If you love Joy Cowley's books - teacher, librarian, mother, or student - you will enjoy reading the many anecdotes she has chosen to share with us. My favourite: she stayed with Roald Dahl in England (coincidentally, his biography 'The Storyteller is out in the same month) while he made a film of her first book Nest in a Falling Tree'. It is a fascinating book: reading how Joy Cowley shaped our early readers in New Zealand and America; her dedication to children's literature globally; and how her connectness to children, family and land were the inspiration for many of her books.

Writing from the Heart: How to write for children by Joy Cowley published by Storylines, ISBN: 978-0-43-17515-3 RRP$ 25.00 Buy online

Joy Cowley shares her 40 years of experience writing for children in this 'how to' book. However, instead of writing it as a 'dry' instructional book, Joy has shared her long experience as writer, editor and facilitator of writing workshops, as a series of warm and witty anecodotes. On the way, learn about plot writing, writing interesting dialogue, about how to be a disciplined writer, using humour in your stories, writing for different genres (earlyreaders, novels, picture books, plays, poetry), using different editing techniques and presenting your manuscript the best that you can.
All proceeds for this book go to Storylines.

Highly recommended for beginning writers.

Picture Books for Christmas

Brian Saves Christmas by Yvonne Morrison and Deborah Hinde, Scholastic
Well, who’s Brian? Answer: he’s the main character of Brian the Big-Brain Romney, which is what this story was called when it was originally published in 2008. This version has been re-titled and re-jacketed, and is a sequel to the bestselling A Kiwi Night Before Christmas. Brian is the sheep equivalent of a nerd – he’s scrawny and brainy and a great disappointment to his father. But when Santa the Farmer is stopped from delivering presents by bad weather, guess who invents a GPS to show him where to drive his flying tractor...? The story is told in rhyming text, and the illustrations are done in cheeky cartoon style – the curly-haired thin-limbed Romney sheep take a bit of getting used to. If you’re looking for a picture book with a Christmas theme, this is one that should appeal to most New Zealand youngsters.
ISBN 978 1 86943 889 0 RRP $19.50

The Boy With Two Shadows by Margaret Mahy, illus. Jenny Williams, Puffin
This is just one of the titles in Puffin’s A Margaret Mahy Classic series – there have been six reprints so far, including old favourites such as The Witch in the Cherry Tree and A Summery Saturday Morning. This story was originally published by Dent in 1987. It’s a bit hard to know what to say about a classic Margaret Mahy story – but it’s an intriguing and imaginative tale about a boy who shadow-sits for a witch and ends up in a lot of trouble. The illustrations have a definite English flavour – which is not a drawback because they are quite beautiful – but wouldn’t it be nice to see Margaret’s stories reprinted with a New Zealand setting? A great buy for libraries wanting to update their Margaret Mahy picture book collection, and for parents wanting a gentle tale to share with their primary-aged children.
ISBN 978 014350440 5 RRP $19.99

A Kiwi Christmas Carol by Chris Gurney, illus. Philip Webb, Scholastic
This is the latest in the handsome hardback series called Kiwi Corkers: Great New Zealand Yarns. Actually, it’s a Charles Dickens yarn retold with a New Zealand setting. Jerry is the skinflint who owns the Kai Corner Dairy, dreadfully underpaying his assistant, Danny Devine. Jerry is accosted in his sleep by a series of ghosts who show him Christmas Past, Christmas Today and Christmas To Come. The last scene shows Jerry his own lonely, neglected grave. This precipitates a complete change of heart and Jerry becomes the good-hearted favourite of the neighbourhood. The story is told in rhyming text and is excellently illustrated in characteristic style by Philip Webb. It’s fun to spot the New Zealand icons in the pictures. This would be a good addition to a library or personal collection of Christmas picture books – children of about six to eight will have fun with it.
ISBN 978 1 86943 942 2 RRP $18.50

20 Winning Kids’ Stories, Scholastic
The Scholastic Short Story Competition for children generated over 1300 entries. The judges (Jill Eggleton, Kyle Mewburn and Charlie Panapa) had the difficult task of whittling this number down to twenty stories across three age groups, choosing a winner, a runner-up, and several highly commended entries for each level. Section 1 was ages 5 to 7; Section 2 was ages 8 to 10; and Section 3 was ages 11 to 13. The judges were impressed by the wide range of subjects tackled by the young entrants – topics included a unicorn’s ball, a terrorist attack in India, the loss of a sister, the effects of war, an escaped budgie, a captured cheetah... This book will be welcomed by teachers who want to encourage their students to write – because it shows that if you learn to write top-quality stories you have a chance of getting your work into print. Each story is accompanied by an entertaining black pen illustration by Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson.
ISBN 978 1 86943 995 8 RRP $19.50

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Three new Picture Books

Daisy’s Maze by Kyle Mewburn, illus. Michaela Sangl, Scholastic

Daisy the mouse lives in a tower, surrounded by a maze. Whenever she invites her friends to tea, they are grumpy and exhausted by the time they navigate the maze and climb the tower. Unfortunately Daisy doesn’t realise this and decides to cheer them up by making the maze more difficult and the tower higher. This results in her frustrated friends failing to arrive. Daisy goes down to look for them – guess what happens to her? In the end, of course, the friends are able to once again enjoy each other’s company – but Daisy has learned a lesson. This light, entertaining story is considerably enhanced by the imaginative illustrations done in watercolour, pencil, acrylic and collage, using Adobe Photoshop. The pictures offer a whole new layer of entertainment if the reader studies them carefully. There are lots of appealing little extras to be spotted in the backgrounds – such as the penguin sailing past Rangitoto in a boat made out of paper with German text on it. Best for sharing with children of about four to six.

ISBN 978 1 86943 960 6 RRP $19.50

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Dear Toby by Diana Noonan, illus. Linda McClelland, Scholastic

Teddy bears are extremely important to a great number of people (I have actually lost count of how many teddy bears live with me!). So Diana Noonan taps into an almost universal theme with this picture book about coping with teddy bear disasters. Toby the bear runs a kind of teddy bear agony column, and replies to children who write, email, or phone with some desperate question about their bear. Toby reassures anxious inquirers that teddy will definitely survive the spin in the washing machine, and that teddies don’t really need clothes because their thick fur keeps them warm. The illustrations are done in pencil and warm pastel watercolours, and their friendly style reminds me a lot of Shirley Hughes’s classic picture books. This will be a favourite with any teddy-bear fan aged about four to seven.

ISBN 978 1 86943 946 0 RRP $19.50

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Time For Bed Little Kiwi by Bob Darroch, Puffin

Most New Zealand children will be familiar with the Little Kiwi series. This new title in the series has the added advantage of being a lift-the-flap book. However I will put on my librarian’s hat here and say that lift-the-flap books are VERY hard to keep undamaged by eager little fingers. The story is simple – Mother Kiwi can’t find Little Kiwi, so she seeks him all through the bush. Each double spread illustration shows a different bush scene with a flap, and under the flaps we find creatures such as weta, morepork, kakapo, and so on - but no Little Kiwi. I won’t give away the story, but of course Little Kiwi turns out to be perfectly safe. Bob Darroch’s cheerful illustrations are true to the bush environment, and the book could be used with a classroom nature study. I can also see it as being useful as a bedtime story for two to five-year-olds.

ISBN 978 014350430 6 RRP $15.99

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe
In the far north of Haarth, the Derai people garrison the mountains known as the Wall of Night against their powerful eons old enemy, keeping darkness from the rest of their world. But the Derai's Nine Houses are divided: warrior against priest, and House against House, and they have been further weakened by the subversion and loss of their great magical powers. Powers that are now viewed with suspicion. We start the story with Malian, young Heiress of the warrior Earl of Night. She is being trained in the ways of a leader, but has known little of real danger until the enemy attacks her fortress home. Her dormant powers are called forth to protect her people when her home becomes a bloodbath - as women, children, warriors and priests alike are slain. And although Malian saves the keep, her new abilities are anathema and she must choose between exile and escape to find her way in the world beyond the Wall. There, Malian must accept that she has the power to defeat her people's ancient enemy. And that this power comes at a price.

Meet the author in Auckland at Armageddon over Labour Weekend—on Saturday 23. She will be be joining the Whitcoulls team (Stand 45) at 11.30 am to talk about the genesis of The Heir of Night and why I love—and most particularly write!—epic fantasy. So if you live in Auckland or are visting over the Labour weekend break, she would love to see you there.

ASB Showgrounds: Saturday 23 October
Whitcoulls, Stand 45
11.30 am

Here's a pic of Helen so you can recognise her.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Two birdies in the hand ...

The Very Important Godwit story and song by Jenny Pattrick, Music by Laughton Pattrick, Illustrations by Jez Tuya (Random House) ISBN: 978-1-86979-348-7 rrp$36.99 HARDBACK

The Very Important Godwit book is a mix of song and story. In the story Will walks down to the beach and sees many Godwits. "Why are they so hungry?" He asks his mother. She tells him they need to be fat. Will tries to count all the Godwits but there are too many of them to count until the day they all fly off and there are none left. Will's mother is a scientist and she has attached a transmitter to Pipi - the Very Important Godwit. Will and his mother track his journey around the world. Will soon finds out why they eat so much and where they have their chicks.

Interspersed amongst the story are short stanzas of song. Children can play the CD and join in with the 17 original songs. Teachers could use this book in their Native Bird study. Junior and Middle school will understand the ecological message. Younger children will enjoy the pictures and story. Suitable for 5-7 year old children.

Jenny and Laughton Pattrick's songs for children are sung in schools throughout New Zealand and Australia. They have also written children's musical shows: Capital E, National Children's Theatre and regular tour shows for young children. Laughton was formerly a Primary and Secondary school teacher, a music advisor and College of Education lecturer. More recently he has been a singing tutor at Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School.

Jes Tuya is a freelance illustrator. Her colourful illustrations look like they might be computer generated.

Come along to the book launch of 'The Very Important Godwit' 4pm, Saturday 16 October 2010, Capital E National Children’s Theatre, Civic Square, 101 Wakefield St, Te Aro, Wellington
To be launched by Jack Lasenby, Some songs from the book will be performed; family members are welcome.

Ria the Reckless Wrybill by Jane Buxton, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Penguin)
ISBN: 978-1-14350-450-4 rrp$30.00 HARDBACK

From the moment that Ria hatched her parents knew she was special - her bill pointed the opposite way to everybody elses. Ria soon learns that it is not so easy being different. It makes it difficult for her to find mayfly eggs but it is her feisty attitude that also makes her stand out too. When her parents give her a lesson on what to do when predators fly down instead of staying still like her brother Rua she jumps up and shouts, 'Look out, predator!' and 'I'm Ria the wrybill and I'm coming to get you.' As you can imagine her attitude gets her into plenty of trouble ...

An enjoyable story complemented with beautiful water colour pictures. Children 4 - 8 years will enjoy this story with an environmental message. Teachers could also use it when studying native birds with the class.

Jane Buxton was born in Otaki in 1947 and grew up in Wanganui. Her first children’s book was published in 1976 and she'se been writing for children ever since. For many years she was a primary school teacher and wrote part-time. She now earns her living as a writer and has had more than 200 stories, plays, poems and articles published both in New Zealand and overseas, mainly by Learning Media and Wendy Pye for the education market.

Jennifer Cooper is a children’s book illustrator with a background in graphic design. She has illustrated numerous picture books, including Rugby for Rosie, written by Frances Adlam, The Mad Tadpole Adventure by Melanie Drewery and Duck Walk by Joy Cowley. Cooper has spent time in Western Samoa, and she enjoys producing illustrations relevant to Pacific Island and Maori children.

Reviewed by Maria Gill

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Two new books illustrated by Katz Cowley

The Fidgety Itch by Lucy Davey, illustrated by Katz Cowley (Scholastic)
ISBN 978 1 86943 967 5 RRP $19.50

the fru-fru trees,
Timpkin was gleefully
gobbling his cheese,
when something began to
bother his knees.

Twas only a niggle ...
the teensiest titch ...
but that fidgety feeling grew to an ITCH!

What is a mouse going to do with an itch? He calls out feverishly for someone to give him a scratch.Thankfully for him Feather McDoo comes to the rescue but then he develops an itch, and so on it goes on down the line - everyone scratching someone elses' scritch - but who is going to scratch the last person at the back of the line?

Lucy Davey's text is playful and rhythmic. A joy to read aloud. Children will delight in her made-up words and names. For example, "Now I've got an itch, a terrible twitch, a bubbly, fizzly, twinge-y, twizzly, horribly hiffle-ish, howlish patch ..." The designer has added emphasis to some of the text by changing the size of the words. The illustrations add charm to the story. Katz Cowley has used water colour to paint the scenes and characters; depicting characters you might find in real life with fantasy characters such as Feather McDoo and the Fru-fru trees. The embossed cover ensures the book is going to be picked up by its target audience 4-6 year old children. Junior and Middle Primary teachers could use the book as an example of team work in action.

Lucy is currently based at home in Auckland with her three young children who provide her with first-hand knowledge of the current preferences and interests of young readers (and their
parents). Her other books include: Pandora's Potato Romp, Fifi la Belle, Fifi la Belle Takes a Bath, Fifi la Belle Ship's Cat, Mr Mayor s Pavlova Palaver, A Right Royal Christmas. In March 2010 she was awarded the Storylines' Joy Cowley Award for her story, “Out of Bed, Fred!” (due out in 2011). Lucy has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and a Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering.
British-born Katz Cowley has a degree in Illustration from the University of Northumbria. She spent a year and a half travelling around SE Asia and living in Australia before arriving in NZ in
2000, where she has been ever since. Winner 2010 NZ Post Children s Book Awards Children's Choice Award with Wonky Donkey.
Children go here for some printable activities.
Reviewed by Maria Gill

Willbee the Bumblebee by Craig Smith & Maureen Thomson, illus. Katz Cowley, Scholastic New Zealand
Following on from the runaway success of The Wonky Donkey, we now have this production in a similar format – a picture book with rhyming text, accompanied by a CD of Craig Smith singing the words. I imagine the hordes of parents and teachers who bought (and are still buying) The Wonky Donkey will be delighted to find this new book. It will be interesting to see if it is as successful as its predecessor.

I found the story cute, the illustrations appealing, and the song catchy. Children of about four to seven will enjoy the striking, close-up pictures of the insects involved in the story (Willbee loses his yellow and black jumper and friends provide a new one), especially the wide-eyed, slightly goofy bumblebee. However the text works much better in a song than it does as a rhyme for reading aloud. The scansion does not flow well in many places, and I found myself tripping up as I read it aloud. My advice is to play the CD and sing along to the song as you turn the pages and follow the text. One small word of warning for teachers – the word “bum” is used a couple of times in the text.
ISBN 978 1 86943 943 9 RRP $26
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two new non-fiction books

The Naughty Kids Book of Nature by Des Hunt and Scott Tulloch (Harper Collins)
ISBN: 9781869508029 RRP$29.99

I would have loved to have been in the editor's office when Des Hunt and Scott Tulloch pitched this idea. I imagine it went like this:

"We want to write a nature book for kids," said Des.
"Not a nature book for nice kids, though," said Scott.
"No, one for naughty kids," said Des.
"Ahh, I'm not getting your drift," said Ed.
"Exactly, we want to take kids down another track, altogether," said Des.
"What track?" said Ed.
"We'll take kids on a road journey and examine squashed animals on the road," said Scott.
"Yeah, road kill," said Des.
"Eww," said Ed.
"The gorier the better," said Scott.
"And answer all the questions a naughty kid would ask," said Des.
"Like what?" said Ed.
"Why did the toad cross the road?"
"Isn't that a joke?" asked Ed.
"Yep, we'll tell jokes and explore the scientific reasons why animals do cross the road," said Des.
"And look at the bludgers in nature," said Scott.
"The lovers, the stuffed ones, the living dead ..." said Des.
"And pretty it up with lots of illustrations," said Scott.
"Well, it's highly original ..." said Ed.

Kids - naughty and nice - will love this book. It has lots of humour, gory pictures, and it de-mystifies information children have been told and wondered whether it was true or not and haven't liked to ask. Like, is it true that Daddy Long Legs' venom is very poisonous but they can't bite humans because their fangs are too short? Or how did tuatara end up in New Zealand and nowhere else? And talks about stuff you won't find in other nature books such as, 'Spiders, pee and poo' and 'What has more sense, a pukeko or a rabbit?' As it says on the back blurb: 'Nice kids learn about the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly and tadpoles turning into frogs. Naughty kids want to know about squashed hedgehogs and dead pukeko. Nice kids like to look at books with pretty pictures of puppy dogs and kittens. Naughty kids would rather see blood and guts and maggots. And rats. Lots of rats. Don't forget the rats.' Extensive index and glossary included.

Des Hunt and Scott Tulloch say at heart they're still a pair of naughty kids. They want to show you how exciting, smelly, amazing, revolting and wonderful the world of Nature can be. Des Hunt, a school teacher for forty years, has written 8+ books for children. All his books weave ecological messages into adventure stories for boys (and girls like them too). Many of his books have been shortlisted and won awards in the New Zealand Post Children's Book and LIANZA Awards.

Scott Tulloch has a Bachelor of Science degree from Victoria University, and writes and illustrates children's books. His books: Willy's Dad, Willy's Mum, Piggy Pogget and books he has illustrated: Echo and Hush, and The Naughtiest Puppy; have all been popular with children and adults. Willy's Dad was shortlisted for the BPANZ and LIANZA awards.

Tui: The NZ Kids' Garden by Diana Noonan and Keith Olsen (Penguin)
ISBN: 978 0 14 320498 5 RRP$ 30.00

This kids guide to growing fruit and vegetable in New Zealand covers the basics such as: how plants work, how to start a garden, how to protect plants; grow plants from food you find in the kitchen such as avocado stones, old onions, sprouting beans and lentils; the different ways you can grow plants; dealing with plant diseases; and information about worms, compost, companion planting; and tips on designing your own garden. The second half of the book gives you the low-down on different plants, how to grow them, what you can cook with them and interesting facts about that particular vegetable or fruit. For example, did you know that long before cowboys were cooking their favourite meal of baked beans American Indians were sweetening theirs with maple sugar. Today haricot beans have a little sugar and a lot of tomato sauce to make baked beans. The book is brightened with lots of beautiful photographs and covered in a plastic jacket so you can take it outside when you're in the midst of your gardening. Index included.

A great resource for Enviro schools and Primary schools growing their own fruit and vegetables, as well as any budding gardeners in the home.

Diana Noonan has published over 100 titles for children, from young adult novels to picture books for learner readers. Noonan has won several national awards and has had four titles shortlisted for New Zealand children's literature prizes. Keith Olsen is an illustrator and writer with an interest in the outdoors. He has also worked as a teacher, outdoor instructor and potter. He has illustrated many books for his wife Diana Noonan and the pair co-wrote The Know, Sow & Grow Kids’ Book of Plants, which won the non-fiction category of the 1998 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. In 2004 his Pick Up a Pack: A Guide to Tramping and Camping The New Zealand Way was a finalist in the non-fiction section of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.