Sunday, January 4, 2015

Four Picture Songbooks with CDS

 Have You Seen a Monster? By Raymond McGrath, Puffin NZ

This one is slightly different to the other three because it has a proper picture book story and the CD is an extra. The well-shaped story focuses on Elliott and Emma-Jane Rose who have a knack for finding things. They are hot on the trail of something very big and hairy that’s left a terrible trail of destruction in the town. A delightful double-spread illustration shows what they’re tracking – a big red hairy monster who’s LOST! I won’t tell how the children solve the problem of what to do with a miserable monster… The illustrations are the best part of the book – they’re colourful, quirky, and packed with interesting detail. The CD contains three songs and a read-aloud version of the story. (Oh yes, parents can now park the children on the sofa with the book, play the CD on the laptop, and walk away – but I hope they won’t!) It’s a fun book to share with children of about four to six.

ISBN 978 0 143 50599 0 RRP $19.99 Pb

 Square Eyes, words and music by Craig Smith, illus. Scott Tulloch, Scholastic NZ

The words of the song have a heart-felt message for children – “Come on, let’s exercise, don’t get square eyes”. It offers various alternative activities – listen to music, dance, read, swim, bake, ride a bike, play a board game, etc. Scott Tulloch’s bright friendly illustrations of animals doing different activities are excellent. The bouncy song on the CD is sung by Craig Smith, who is well-known to every New Zealand child for his entertaining local and school performances.

ISBN 978 1 77543 269 2 RRP $21 Pb

The Farmer in the Dell, sung by the Topp Twins, illus. Jenny Cooper, Scholastic NZ

If you liked There’s a Hole in My Bucket, Do Your Ears Hang Low, and She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain, then you’ll like this one! Jenny Cooper’s hilariously inventive illustrations enliven a fairly repetitive song. The good ol’ hound dawg on the front cover is priceless. The song is rendered in jovial fashion by the Topp Twins, and it certainly encourages children to get up and sing and dance (just as Craig Smith recommends!).

ISBN 978 1 77543 195 4 RRP $21 Pb

We Wish You a Kiwi Christmas, Lynette Evans and Myles Lawford, sung by Pio Terei, Scholastic NZ

I’ve missed the deadline for posting overseas, but this book would be great for grandparents to send to grandchildren living in other countries. It’s a Kiwi take on the classic Christmas carol, in which Santa unfortunately breaks down and loses his reindeer – only to be rescued by Little Kiwi and her bird friends. Myles Lawford’s Adobe Photoshop illustrations cleverly combine a traditional and a New Zealand flavour, with cheery big-eyed birds and a forlorn gnome-like Santa. There’s a Maori version printed in the book and sung on the CD, and a useful glossary provides meanings for some of the Maori words.

ISBN 978 1 77543 267 8 RRP $21 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman


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