Saturday, February 12, 2011

Picture Book from Gecko

Zou and the Box of Kisses by Michel Gay, Gecko Press
Originally published in French, this title continues Gecko Press’s tradition of cute and quirky picture books. Zou is a baby zebra who is going off to holiday camp. He’s a bit unsure about going, so his parents prepare a box of tissues with kisses imprinted on both sides of the tissues. Zou is glad to have his parents’ kisses when it’s time to sleep on the train going to the camp – and all the other little zebras are happy to have a kiss from the box, too. By the time he gets to camp the next morning, Zou has made lots of friends and it doesn’t matter that all the kisses have been given away. The illustrations are appealing, done in calm pastel colours with plenty of restful white space. As always with Gecko, the presentation is excellent, including good-quality paper and cover flaps. Zou’s story will strike a chord with all preschoolers who are nervous about time spent away from Mum and Dad. (Also available in hardback for $32.99)
ISBN 978 1 877467 74 5 RRP $19.99
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Something for the girls

Addie Accident by Shirley Corlett, Scholastic NZ
This is a light and easy-to-read story about a girl who is accident-prone. Poor Addie is always in trouble, especially with the neighbours. Her father says she was born under an ill wind, and Addie is convinced she can hear the evil wind sneaking round after her and getting her into trouble. However a visit to a nearby empty house introduces her to a strange boy called Hubert the Hapless – who has been sent from Imagination Land to help Addie. Addie is the one who invented Imagination Land so she has difficulty in accepting Hubert as a magical being. But the two of them eventually join forces to work on a lengthy and complicated spell which will stop both of them getting into trouble. Plenty of action, heaps of trouble, good dollops of humour, a dash of magic - and a likeable heroine - will attract girl readers of about nine to eleven.
ISBN 978 1 86943 971 2 RRP $18.50

Saffron: I Have Everything Under Control by Victoria M. Azaro, Puffin

The first book about Saffron and her international adventures was published in 2009 by Mallinson Rendell, entitled Saffron. This second book is just as funny and entertaining as the first. In the first chapter Saffron’s exuberant Argentinian aunties come to stay because Mum is expecting a baby; in the second Saffron suffers the ultimate in embarrassment in Bangkok; in the third the whole family experiences an earthquake in Mexico City; and finally Saffron (and younger sister Sage) learn to cope with a brand new baby sister who steals all the limelight. Underlying Saffron’s unique and sometimes hilarious depiction of events, the reader can find themes relating to family dynamics and cultural differences. Victoria Azaro adds to the quirky tone of the story with her numerous black ink cartoon illustrations. Recommended for girls aged about eight to ten who like something a bit different.

ISBN 978 0 14 330552 1 RRP $21.00

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman