Thursday, November 13, 2014

Three excellent anthologies for children

The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, edited by Peter Friend, Eileen Mueller, and A.J. Ponder, illus. Geoff Popham, Phantom Feather Press (

Short story anthologies for children are rare beasts in New Zealand these days, so congratulations to the team who put this one together. With a bright, attractive cover, this book offers 31 stories with a Christmas theme written by authors ranging from some very well-known names (such as David Hill and Joy Cowley) to writers who are still working on getting that first novel published. As always with an anthology it’s a real pot-pourri of stories with something for everyone – humour, fantasy, animals, and family-themed stories being the favourites. There’s a moving retelling of the nativity story; several funny tales about Santa and his helpers; a handful of spooky stories with ghosts and other nasties; and a whole bunch of plots revolving round Christmas trees, fairies, and presents. My favourite is Darian Smith’s Albert and the Christmas Fairy. Greedy Albert puts his name on the labels of all the presents under the tree – but someone magical is watching him and he learns his lesson the hard way…

Some of the stories have a more advanced style and/or theme, so I’d recommend this book for children of about 8 to 12, both girls and boys. It’s a good holiday read that deserves a place under the Christmas tree… Sales will support the Muscular Dystrophy Association of NZ. It’s available from good New Zealand bookshops and from Amazon, and is also published as an e-book.

ISBN 978 0 9941155 0 8 $22 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

You Tube Book Trailer here

Other Anthologies that have been published this year include:

New Zealand Bedtime Treasury

Find much-loved stories and poems by New Zealand's well-known authors and illustrators. Delve between the covers to find classic stories by Lynley Dodd, Bob Darroch, Margaret Mahy, Gwenda Turner, Patricia Grace, Pamela Allen and Peter Gossage; charming illustrations by Robyn Belton, Carl Bland, Jenny Williams, Robyn Kahukiwa and Gabriella Klepatski; plus gentle bedtime poems from James K. Baxter, Peter Bland, Ruth Dallas, Joy Cowley, Katherine Mansfield and Rosalyn Wyatt.

ISBN: 9780143308379 $45 Hb

Stories for 6 Year Olds

Especially chosen for 6 year olds, this is a light and fun collection of excellent children's stories. They are written by some of New Zealand's leading writers for children such as Margaret Mahy, David Hill and Barbara Else, as well as other seasoned and up-and-coming writers. These stories are perfect to read aloud, plus they are also great for those children who reading on their own. With a variety of topics and an emphasis on humour, this will become a much-loved collection for New Zealand children as well as those from further afield.

ISBN:  9781775536123  $19.99 Pb

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