Sunday, February 24, 2013

Three Bears Breakfast for Kids

Do you want to do something fun with your littlies and have breakfast at the same time?  Scholastic New Zealand, Nestles and Meadowfresh are preparing breakfast at the following libraries during New Zealand Book Month (that's March) on these dates:

Blenheim: 10.00am, Sunday 3 March, Brayshaw Park

Wellington: 10.30am, Saturday 9 March, Wellington Central Library

Christchurch: 8.30am, Saturday 16 March, Shirley Library

Takapuna: 10.30am, Saturday 23 March, Takapuna Library

Taupo: 10.00am, Saturday 23 March, Taupo Library

Children will have the brand new book 'The Three Bears (sort of)' written by Yvonne Morrison and illustrated by Donovan Bixley read aloud to them while they eat their Cheerios and sip on their milo. It's a really funny take on the fairy tale: a parent telling a child the story, with interjections from the child throughout (‘but bears don’t eat porridge!’ ‘bears can’t speak English!’ etc).  There will be prizes and colouring-in to do! I hope you can get along to one of the sessions!

Friday, February 22, 2013

A children's book about tomtits

Mr RG the adventurous tomtit by Barbara Hughes-Cleland (Arun Books)

Education Officer for Tiritiri Matangi Island and ex-teacher Barbara Hughes-Cleland wrote the story about Mr RG while on a Royal Society of New Zealand Teacher Fellowship Scholarship.

The story is about Mr RG a young male tomtit nd his translocation from the Hunua Ranges to Tiritiri Matangi. We follow the story of his courting his mate, their feeding their young, and being protected from predators by volunteers working in the Hunua Ranges. Mr RG was transferred along with 31 of his relatives to Tiritiri Matangi where he should have lived a happy stressfree life. Read the story to find out what happens to him (and you'll be pleased it is not a sad ending) ... It made the headlines!

The story is written in creative non-fiction style (like a story) and is illustrated with a mix of photographs and cartoons. There's three maps, a glossary, and references.

Suitable for Junior and Middle school (and even Kindy-aged) students.  They'll love the cute cartoons and gorgeous photographs - and Mr RG is rather adorable. When author Barbara Hughes was teaching she also used it with Year 13 biology students when they were studying animals responses to the environment.

Illustrator Josie Galbraith recently graduated with an MSC in Biosecurity from the University of Auckland. She enjoys painting, drawing and illustrating.

Barbara is a passionate conservationist and volunteer guide on Tiritiri Matangi (as well as being the education officer).

Buy it here and see more about the book here

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A new book from Adele Broadbent

The Last Herrick Secret by Adele Broadbent, AV Project

This is a sequel to Too Many Secrets (HarperCollins NZ, 2010) – an exciting adventure story about a teenage girl who finds all sorts of secrets connected to a rundown homestead in the bush. In this book, Becs is delighted to return to civilisation and ordinary teenage life – and also excited about bringing Isaiah with her (he’s the teenage boy she discovered hiding out in the bush). Inevitably, things go wrong. Isaiah is initially shunned as a “ wild boy”,  and takes a long time to make friends. Meanwhile Becs is having trouble picking up where she left off with her former friends. To add to her woes, there’s a strange teacher at school who seems to be spying on her – what’s going on? A school camp creates even more problems -  and Becs is devastated when her family suddenly whisk her and Isaiah back to Herrick House to sort out problems with his family (there’s a ghost involved!). It’s an easy and absorbing read, written from the point of view of both Becs and Isaiah. Both characters come across as credible and likeable, and the school setting is very authentic. A must-read for any teenage girl who enjoyed the first book.

See what Adele is up to: 
Buy the book from here:

ISBN 978 0 473 22411 0 $20 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Monday, February 18, 2013

Young Writers Anthology

Walking a Tightrope in Bare Feet, selected by Tessa Duder and  James Norcliffe, edited by Glyn Strange, Clerestory Press for the School for Young Writers (

This is the 12th book (published 2013)  in the Re-Draft anthologies, which aim to publish the best of New Zealand young writing. The anthologies have been published since 2001, presenting the winning stories and poems from an annual competition for young writers aged 13 to 19.

Also supplied were The World’s Steepest Street (no.10, dated 2011) and The Temptation of Sunlight (no.11, dated 2012). Each volume has an eye-catching photographic cover, and includes up to 47 contributions, with some writers having multiple entries. Inevitably there is a huge variety of themes and styles, focusing on both teenage and adult preoccupations – but all of them are very readable, and many will surprise with their skill. But considering the judges have to choose from around 600 submissions, I guess this isn’t so surprising.

These books should be in all public, secondary school and tertiary institution libraries. Teachers, librarians, authors, bookshop owners and reviewers are often asked by families how young people can get their work published, and these Re-Draft anthologies should be the first resource provided.

One interesting postscript – I was intrigued to see in the latest volume that the judges are asking for more stories to make them smile. Hint to young writers – try writing humorous stories!

Available from all good booksellers, and from The School for Young Writers, PO Box 21-120, Christchurch 8143. Can be ordered direct from the School for Young Writers website where the RRP includes postage and packaging.
ISBN 978 0 9582888 9 7 $34.50 Pb
Read a story about one of the young authors here.

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Thursday, February 14, 2013

From New Zealand illustrator Sarah Davis

Violet Mackerel’s Possible Friend, by Anna Branford, illus. Sarah Davis, Walker Books Australia

This is the fifth title in the Violet Mackerel series. I’ve only read one other – and loved it. This one is just as good. Violet’s family are in their new house, and Violet is keen to make friends with the girl next door. But making friends is tricky business, and Violet is nervous about doing things properly. Hopefully her Theory About Swapping Small Things will guide her in what to do. But when she goes to Rose’s birthday party in a home-made flower costume, bringing a home-made present, and finds the other girls dressed in expensive fancy dress and carrying store-bought presents, she’s just about ready to run away... Of course, all ends happily. Sarah Davis’s appealing drawings are on nearly every double-spread, helping Violet come vividly to life in the minds of the reader. Heartily recommended for girls of about 7 to 10.  

ISBN 978 1 921977 56 5 $24.99 Hb

Lorraine Orman

A new dragon series for boys!

The Dragon Hunters; Book One of the Dragon Brothers Trilogy, words by James Russell, pictures by Link Choi, Dragon Brothers Books Ltd (

This is an attractive hard-covered picture book – the cover illustration is quirky and appealing, and children will enjoy spotting the dragon’s eye lurking in the sky. I am also impressed by the maps on the endpapers – kids love maps (so do I). The designer has used the format to enhance the story, with each page being either a full-page picture or a block of rhyming text – until the end draws nigh and the enormous dragon is revealed in his double-page splendour. It tells an exciting story about two brothers whose dog is abducted by a dragon – so they go on an expedition to rescue poor Coco. The verse has a few bumpy bits but moves along smartly. The illustrations are modern and edgy and should appeal to youngsters who like TV cartoons and computer games. It’s not suitable for the little ones, but should be popular with boys of about 4 to 7. My 4-year-old grandson will love it!

PS. Visit the website for more info and activities, also stockists.

ISBN 978 0 473 21816 4 $29.95 Hb

Lorraine Orman

Monday, February 11, 2013

A new book from Jupiter Publishing

Jossie's New Home by Judy Lawn, illustrated by Gabrielle Schollum (Jupiter Publishing)

Jossie the jersey cow was tired of living in a paddock.
So she went looking for a new home ...

She investigated the barn - it was too hot and stuffy and gave her hay fever. The food was terrible - stale old straw. Rats and mice ran about the barn all night. She didn't sleep a wink. Jossie tries all types of homes but they're either too slippery, too small, too noisy and the food is awful. Will she find the right place - somewhere the food tastes good and she won't be woken up?

A simple repetitive pattern that young children will try to anticipate.  A good book for young children learning to read. The font is big and cheerful. The illustrations are bright and colourful with Jossie's cheerful face on every double page spread.

Recommended age level: 4-6 year olds

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Melinda Szymanik's Latest Offering

Sally Bangle: Unexpected Detective by Melinda Szymanik (Tale-spin Media) e-book
"She used the end of the pen to push her wispy hair behind her ears. Then she wrote My mother is Felicity Bangle (strict), My Father is Captain William Bangle (lost), she couldn’t bring herself to say ‘dead’ and anyway no one was one hundred percent sure that was true. My brother is a pain in the butt she wrote. She crossed out the last bit after is and put Malcolm Bangle instead. Then she couldn’t help adding, (annoying). She started a new section. Favourite foods: ham and pineapple pizza, salt and vinegar chips, chocolate. Hate: Mum’s Tuna Surprise and asparagus. Best friend - Abigail Fray. Worst enemy - Vanessa Blunt (I wish we’d never met). Greatest wish: to have my Dad back and go to a different school and never ever be bullied again."

Sally Bangle's life sucks! Her dad went missing at sea seven years ago, her mother has left her job and is acting strange, and Vanessa - the school bully - won't stop hassling her at school. While studying for a school project Sally finds a photograph of her father with Major Blunt and Professor Angstrom. Sally is determined to ask these men what really happened to her father. Her questions get her into a whole load of trouble and unearths more than she bargained for... 
A story about standing up for yourself, not to take everyone at face-value, and not giving up. A mystery story for 8-12 year olds who love a good detective book.

Melinda Szymanik is the author of picture books, short stories and novels for young people. She lives in Auckland with her family and runs a business with her husband. She won the 2009 NZ Post Children’s Choice Award for her picture book The Were-Nana.
Read more here.
Buy it at Amazon and other ebook websites.
ISBN: 978 047323336-5
RRP $2.99

Saturday, February 2, 2013

For boys who love their sports!

Shot, Boom, Score! By Justin Brown (Allen & Unwin)

‘Right, now, my boy.’ When Toby’s dad says these words, Toby knows he’s in trouble. But this time is different. Sure he just double bounced his big sister off the trampoline, and she has a broken arm to show for it – but Dad thinks Toby just needs something to focus on. Something to aim for.

Toby can’t believe his ears when Dad promises Toby a GameBox V3 if he can score 20 wickets and 10 tries in the following cricket and rugby seasons. Too easy!

Toby lives and breathes sports, can bowl top spinners with his eyes shut and score tries all day long. But then a new kid joins their class. (Someone as big as an adult with hairy caveman legs). Someone called Malcolm McGarvy.

When Malcolm learns of Toby’s challenge, he does everything in his power to prevent Toby achieving it, with tons of dirty tricks up his sleeve. But Toby is determined… Then rugby season rolls around and Toby is up against his teacher, mean Mrs Martin-Edge who suspends him for four games! But that GameBox V3 is too good to give up on.

A laugh out loud tale for all sports lovers! Cricket & rugby are key themes but Toby lives and breathes all sports, is loyal to his mates, and is a likeable character.

Originally hailing from Hawera, Justin Brown has had many travels, been  a radio and tv host, creative writing teacher and  a stand up comic. He has written non-fiction for children and adults, animation scripts, and junior chapter books with Shot, Boom Score! his first novel for children. Check out his website -

ISBN – 978 1743313688 RRP $19

Paperback 180 Pages

Due out Feb 2013

Reviewed by Adele Broadbent