Thursday, February 23, 2012

Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig by Diana Neild, illus. Philip Webb, Scholastic NZ
This award-winning story about a little pig who can’t understand why he has such a long name is now available as a board book. The original text has been abbreviated, but it still retains the joyful rhythm and rhyme of the longer version. I’m not sure how much of the story will actually be understood by a typical board book owner (0 to 24 months?) but littlies will enjoy snuggling up and reading it with a caregiver even if they’re not quite sure what it’s all about. Philip Webb’s friendly, soft-toned cartoon illustrations will attract the interest of most toddlers, especially if they can say the word “pig.”
ISBN 978 1 77543 078 0 RRP $13.50 Hb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

The Story of Bo and the Circus That Wasn’t by Kyle Mewburn (and selected Telecom customers), illus. Donovan Bixley, Scholastic NZ
This collaborative picture book came about as part of Telecom’s Bills to Storybooks programme – Kyle guided the story and Donovan did the pictures while members of the public suggested new lines. Royalties from the book will go to the Telecom Foundation for projects to benefit New Zealand children. As you can imagine, with so many extra writers involved (12 are listed in the back of the book), the story is somewhat wild and whacky. It begins, “Bo always dreamed of being an acrobat. It didn’t matter that he was afraid of heights. Or even that he was a sheep.” Unfortunately Bo lives in a country where circuses are forbidden, so he and his friends end up doing some spectacular circus acts - without a circus. Donovan’s computer-generated illustrations are colourful and action-packed, and suit the zany storyline very well. Possibly best to be shared with older children (about 5-7?) who can understand the logic of flights of fancy.
ISBN 978 1 77543 086 5 RRP $19.50 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Tea With Miss Tilly by Justine Payen, illus. Philip Webb, HarperCollins NZ

A rare picture book from HarperCollins NZ, this gentle story celebrates the power of imagination. The narrator, a girl, visits Miss Tilly every day after school. They enjoy tea and cookies (an Americanism is taking over here!), and Miss Tilly tells stories about flying carpets and dragons, rocket ships and aliens, submarines and mermaids. The story finishes, “When I grow up, I want to be just like Miss Tilly.” Philip Webb takes advantage of the wide-ranging imagination of Miss Tilly to produce some sweeping eye-catching vistas – of ancient Ireland, Loch Ness and the Nile, to name a few. His cartoon illustrations are softly coloured and slightly misty – but still full of movement and interesting features. Probably best for children of about 4 to 7 – they have to be old enough to understand that it’s all “pretend”.
ISBN 978 1 86950 917 0 RRP $19.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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