Monday, December 22, 2014

An assortment of books for the holidays

Doodle Bug by Bruce Potter (Draconis Publishing)

Bruce Potter lets his pen take over his imagination and doodles creative characters and scenes in this picture book for children. There's a little story to complement the pictures about Doodle Bug walking through the doodles and finding all sorts of characters - it encourages children to find him in the pictures.

The illustrations are a mix of pencil drawing and computer art with black and white, and colour illustrations. At the back of the book, Bruce shares where he got the inspiration for the book. He says that he has always loved doodling and finds it helps him think more clearly and often that is when he creates something new. He encourages children to do the same.

When Bruce gives talks to schools he draws the doodles in front of the kids; first asking what they'd like to see. Bruce can draw anything.  Kids get so excited they yell it out when they've found Doodle Bug.

A fun book for 3-6 year olds. Could be used in the Junior school art programme to encourage children to doodle and create characters from their imagination.

Hear Bruce sing the Doodle Bug song:

ISBN: 978 0 473 28113 7
RRP $25.00
Bruce has just released an e-book version too.
To find details go to his website:

The Bumper Book of New Zealand Wildlife: to read, colour and keep by Dave Gunson (New Holland Publishers)

Dave has collected 90 wildlife species he's included in the New Zealand Birds, Garden, Shore and Sea Life Books into one bumper edition. You'll find birds, fish, insects, and marine life. Kids can draw them; noting their colours from the colour editions also in the book, then pull them out and hang them on the wall or fridge. Teachers could use them as templates for their Junior classes.  Also included are facts about the featured animals.

Will be useful for the holidays, as it will keep kids occupied and also increase their wildlife knowledge of New Zealand species.

Dave Gunson is a prolific writer and illustrator of children's books. He's written seven titles in the 'All About' series, four board books for young children, and written and illustrated many picture books and activity books.

ISBN: 978 1 86966 427 5
RRP: 19.99

No cover available at time of writing blog.

The Story of a New Zealand Truck Driver by Mary Kelleher, music by David Parker

For something a bit unusual (in a delightful way) and on subjects little boys are bound to what to know more about ... have a look at the this book.  For starters it's a fold-out mural book that you can hang on a wall or sit on a table.  The artist has created the pictures from a collage of raw materials such as sacking, felt, buttons, string, photographs and material. (I hope she holds an exhibition one day so we can see the originals!) The story is embroidered onto woven material and are snatches of conversations between the truck driver and the people he meets. If you play the CD these words have been transformed into a song from the tune 'Baa Baa Black Sheep'. On the other side of the mural are fact boxes about the journey Truck driver Bertie Williams has when he travels over the hills and valleys of Banks Peninsula from 1920 to 1960. Kids will learn about wool bales, cocksfoot, Indian motor cycle and Side car race, vehicle author licences, snow blizzards, kerosene, and the hills of Bank Pensinsula. On the back page is a map of the journey and the CD.  Other books in the series include 'The Mill is Kaiapoi' with more to come. Go to to find out more and see their other murals.

After reading the book, teachers could encourage children to make a class mural about the history of their area.  A great resource for schools when studying local history.

ISBN: 978-0-473-28703-0 
RRP $39.99

Release the Beast by Romy Sai Zunde, illustrated by Cinzah Merkens (Beatnik Publishing)

A little boy is feeling naughty and unleashes his inner beast. 

"When I get mad, the beast boils in my bones. He stomps in my feet and roars in my mouth. He does anything he wants, and no one can stop him, not even mummy. He can make anything he dreams happen, and the beast never, ever gets into trouble."

When baby wants to play with the blocks the inner beast stomps and kicks down the blocks and shuts mummy in a box and eats baby Noah for breakfast.When his father tells him to hurry up, again his inner beast wakes up. Same when he's told to eat up all his vegetables, and go for a bath. His inner beast does whatever he wants. Or does he?

Read this delightful story with clever artwork - stylised in mix of black ink pen and water colour paint - about how kids and grown-ups can feel rage and can express those feelings through imagination rather than carrying it out. Kindergarten and Junior Primary teachers could read the story and use it as an introduction to a unit about feelings and anger management.  The book will let children know that anger is normal; adults and kids feel it too.

"A fun and quirky reminder that there's a beast in all of us - and why wouldn't he come out when you've been told to do something you don't want to do again! Being able to recognise your frustration for what it is, is what counts.'  Karyn Henger, Editor, Little Treasures Magazine

ISBN: 978-0-9922648-1-9
RRP $24.99

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