Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Reading for Little Boys and Girls

The Wreck of the Diddley by Fatcat and Fishface (Craig Potton Publishing)

Fatcat and Fishface musical duo originally played this song in an animated video for a competition. It was so popular they decided to turn it into a picture book.

Young boys (3-6 years) will love this rollicking pirate tale about a Captain and his crew going down with their ship.  Told in rhyme with colourful illustrations by Stephen Templer, it also comes with a DVD  so that young boys (and little girls who love a good song and story) can enjoy singing along while reading the book. A must-have for car journeys (if you have a portable DVD player), and holiday playing on boring raining days inside. 

Kindergartens will also find this book and DVD a great addition to their library for reading time on the mat.  Afterwards, little boys and girls can dress up as pirates and have some pirate adventures of their own in the sandspit and or paddling pool. 

Great fun for the holidays!

Buy direct from the publisher in paperback $24.99 (with free CD) or hardback $34.99 (with free CD).

Pipimoomoo by Justine Summers (Craig Potton Publishing)

Pipimoomoo wore her jeans everywhere until the day she wets them while playing over at her friend Pinky Pickle's house. Pinky Pickle gives Pipimoomoo her favourite flowery skirt to wear home. Pipimoomoo loves the red flowery polka dot skirt so much she wears it to bed. That night she dreamt of skirts of all different colours and patterns. The next day she asked her Mum if she could make her own colourful skirt...

A perfect book for little imaginative girls. Perhaps mother and daughter can make their own colourful skirt afterwards...

See inside here

Buy here for $19.00 paperback and $29 hardback.

At the Beach by Gillian Candler and illustrator Ned Barraud (Craig Potton Publishing)

Children from four to eight years have an insatiable curiosity about the world around them.  They ask endless questions that you sometimes cannot answer. Here's a book that you and your young child can look at together to find out about three kinds of eco-systems at the beach; the sandy beach, rock pools and the mudflats. Afterwards, read about the animals and plants that lurk in those environments. You'll find information about crabs, sea stars, shellfish, seaweeds, sponges, fishes, jellyfish, birds and more. The gorgeous illustrations give views of the beach above and below water. At the back is a pull-out waterproof quick reference guide to take to the beach.  Perfect to take on holiday, to the beach, or school trips. 

Activities for kids, and teaching resource for teachers here.

Buy here for $19.00 paperback and $29 hardback.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A picture book for the thinking child

Remember that November by Jennifer Beck and Lindy Fisher (Huia Publishers)

The school speech contest happens to fall on 5th November. Andy gives a talk about Guy Fawkes and why he tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The children clap loudly at his moving speech and feel he should win the speech contest. Then Aroha stands up with a white feather in her hair and tells about another protest movement held here in New Zealand.

I love this book.  If I were still teaching I'd use it in the classroom in many ways.  I'd use it in a Social Studies/Health unit about leadership; contrasting the two ways people tried to solve a social issue, about significant historical moments in New Zealand history, and about standing up for what you believe in. It could be used as inspiration at the beginning of a speech unit, or included with a class library of books about Taha Maori. Not many sophisticated picture books are published in this country, which is a real shame.  Teachers use them all the time in their topic subjects and there are not enough books that contain stories about Maori historical themes.

Children would enjoy reading this story at home too - it will give them plenty to think about afterwards. They'll also love poring over the illustrations.  Lindy Fisher's artwork is stunning throughout the book. I particularly love the opening scene of Guy Fawke celebrations; it is colourful, looks three dimensional (there are so many layers to the pictures) and is so textural (you want to reach out and touch it).

Author Jennifer Beck and illustrator Lindy Fisher have collaborated with books before. They won the 2006 Children's Choice award for Nobody's Dog and a 2007 Honour Award in the Picture Book Category for A Present from the Past at the New Zealand Post Book Awards. Their 2008 book Stephanias Dancing Slippers won a silver medal for Best Picture Book of all Ages at the Moonbeams Children's Book Awards in the United States.  Jennifer Beck is an award-winning writer and author of more than forty-five children's books. Lindy Fisher is an artist, graphic designer and illustrator. She has illustrated over 75 postage stamps and illustrated numerous children's picture books.

Highly recommended for children 8-12 years. Buy it here or at your local bookstore. A Maori language version is also available.

ISBN:  978-1-77550-010-0  RRP $20.00

Friday, December 14, 2012

An old favourite back again

The Best-Dressed Bear by Diana Noonan, illus. Elizabeth Fuller, Scholastic NZ

The book was originally published in 2002, and this new printing sports a Premier NZ Bronze Bestseller sticker, which means it’s sold 7000 copies. Teddy bears are a bit like cats – you can’t go wrong when you write about them! This book is the sequel to the award-winning The Best-Loved Bear and I suspect it isn’t quite so well-known. Nevertheless it’s a child-focused, warm-hearted story about childhood anxieties. Tim is upset when Mum puts some of his old (and favourite) clothes out for the Salvation Army shop. Of course he’s far too big for them now. What’s the solution? Teddy is dressed in the clothes – and Tim talks to Mum about his fears of growing up. Elizabeth Fuller’s illustrations are soft and reassuring, with lots of warm colours. Would be a good read-aloud for preschool centres.

ISBN 978 1 77543 139 8 RRP $20 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Anthology of Short Stories and Poems

I've been away for eight days hence no entries.  Lucky for me, Lorraine Orman has continued writing reviews and here is the latest...

Junior Fiction

Read Me Another One, Please! New Zealand Stories and Poems For Children. Stories selected by Belynda Smith and Dorothy Dudek Vinicombe, Whitcoulls Publishing.

In the old days this handsome hardback would have been called a treasury. It’s a good word to describe the collection of delicious offerings waiting between the covers. It mingles short stories, poems, extracts from novels, and picture book texts. There are lots of familiar authors included – I can’t list them all but there are at least 20 well-known New Zealand children’s writers here, with some of them having more than one work included. I was interested to see short stories by authors who are generally better known for their novels – Brian Falkner, Tania Roxborogh, Susan Brocker, Deborah Burnside. The stories cover a wide range of subjects, but you can be sure that all of them are light-hearted and entertaining, and many of them are funny. Some of the already-published stories and poems are re-printed with their original illustrations while others have been illustrated especially for this volume – so there’s a wild and heady mix of styles.

As well as a useful buy for primary schools, I see this as an excellent Christmas present for families with children aged about five to ten. If you’re stuck on what to buy, rush out and get this one now (or if you’re a grandparent, maybe you should keep it for when the family comes visiting...).

ISBN 978 0 9876674 0 3 RRP $29.99 Hb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman