Sunday, October 16, 2016

Scholastic Christmas Titles

Dinosaur Hunting by Lucy Davey, illustrated by Kirsten Richards (Scholastic)

Just about every boy goes through a crazy-about-dinosaur phase; some more than others. Those that are fanatic can reel off the names of a dozen dinosaurs and tell you all sorts of interesting facts about them. This book is meant for them.

Father and son decide to go on a dinosaur hunting expedition in their backyard ...

Down to the garden,
tiptoe tracking.
Dinosaur hunting, Daddy and me.
Following footprints,
twigs snap-cracking -
which kinds of dinosaurs can we see?

Their imagination sees all sorts of dinosaurs ... Stegosaurus, Shamosaurus, Segisaurus, Ammosaurus, Spinosaurus, Supersaurus ... and T-Rex! I had to look up google to see if they were real dinosaurs or not; I only recognized the first and last one. Father and son make dinosaurs out of the washing, while playing at the playground, and while splashing in puddles. Observant little boys will see a real dinosaur hiding in each picture. But oh-oh, the little boy loses his dinosaur plush toy; they have to backtrack to find it. Teachers and mothers could ask who is hunting who?

The story reminds me of the classic 'We're going on a bear hunt', which was hugely popular in our house when the kids were small. Lucy's clever use of alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhythm will make this a favourite to read aloud to young audiences.

Lucy Davey is a very talented lady. She's written a number of popular picture books including The Fidgety Itch, Fifi la Bell series, A Right Royal Christmas, Pandora's Potato Romp, Tarantula Boo! and Out of Bed, Fred!  As well as being a skilled children's book writer, she is a children's song writer, has a PhD in chemical engineering, and can paint. This is her third book published this year - which is a feat in itself, coupled with raising three teenagers and a baby is a miracle!

Kirsten Richards is new to the New Zealand scene, but she's illustrated books for Scholastic US, Oxford University Press, Hodder Children's Books, Thomas Nelson and Top That! Her book 'The Littlest Pilgrim' spent three weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Kirsten grew up in England but now lives in Auckland. Her artwork is expressive, colourful and enables young readers to find something new they hadn't seen the last time they read the book. Kirsten created the artwork using acrylic inks and finished it in Photoshop.

ISBN: 978-1-77543-395-8
RRP $19
Ages: 3-7 years

Jingle Bells, Rudolph Smells by Deano Yipadee and Paul Beavis (Scholastic)


We've had farting donkeys and cows ... and now we have a farting Rudolph - one of Santa's reindeers. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Kindy kids who love this type of humour are going to laugh their heads off.

Santa and all the reindeer set off on their trip, and then oops, they hit a bump and one of the reindeer did a trump. The chorus follows:

Jingle bells! Rudolph smells
from eating carrots and hay,
went over a bump and he did a TRUMP,
and it went in Santa's face - hey!


Four year old kids are going to run around and sing that stanza all morning.

In the end, Rudolphs' failing helps get Santa and the sleigh out of a sticky situation. A free CD is attached at the back of the book; kids will want to play it again and again ... teachers and parents might take a contract out on the author.

Musician Deano Yipadee takes his musical show all around English schools. He's originally from New Zealand but has been living in England for a few years with his young family. Deano says Wonky Donkey's Craig Smith inspired him to write musical picture books.

You'll know Paul Beavis from his Mrs Mo's monster picture books, which are a favourite amongst young children. He's managed to capture different personalities for each reindeer while giving the main character - Rudolph - his starring role. The pictures are fun, colourful and encourage young readers to inspect each page closely for new details. 'Jing Bells, Rudolph Smells' is bound to sell well around the Christmas period for years to come.

ISBN: 978-1-77543-385-9
RRP $21
Ages 3-7 years

The Kiwi Hokey Tokey by Lynette Evans, illustrations by Stevie Mahardhika, sung by Pio Terei, Maori lyrics by Ngaere Roberts

I'm not sure if schools still teach the Hokey Tokey dance, but I sure remembering dancing it at school. It was great fun. I'm not surprised Scholastic thought of doing a kiwi version. I bet teachers will be grateful for this story/song and will be using it for their next performance; they're always looking for songs with actions to do for their classroom performance.

Here's how it goes:
a clan of kiwi put on a dance display,
invited friends to join, one sunny day,
to do the Hokey Tokey,
and here's how to play!

You put your pokey beak in,
Down in the gully on a farm far away
you put your pokey beak out,
you put your pokey beak in,
and you shake it all about.

You do the Cool-as Kiwi
and you turn around, that's what it's all about.
Ka Pai!

The little kiwis in the pictures demonstrate the moves. Next, the pukeko put their lanky legs in, then tuatara put their spikey tail in, and the kea put their scratchy feet in ... We then have farm animals having their turn: sheep, horses, ducks, pigs and fantails, until they all join in together for the finale. I can see kindy kids and Junior Primary kids wanting to jump up and sing and do the actions again, straight away. Luckily for the teachers the song is sung in English and Maori on the CD attached, and the Maori version is written at the back. Will bound to be a great success in kindergartens and Junior Primary School.

Lynette Evans is the publishing manager at Scholastic. She's quietly penned a few children's books with her Scholastic team.

Illustrator Stevie Mahardhika was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia and moved to New Zealand to study at AUT. Stevie works with the Watermark group of illustrators. His illustrations are bright and colourful and drawn digitally using Photoshop.

Pio Terei is one of New Zealand's most popular and personable entertainers. He is also a positive parenting advocate and spokesperson and has presented 'No Sweat Parenting' shows around the country for many years, helping to write and present a series of the same name for Maori TV.

ISBN: 978-1-775543-411-5
RRP $21
Ages 3-7 years


Kiwi Corkers Bag of Books: Five evergreen children's stories with a kiwi bent (Scholastic)

Can't think of what to get your son, daughter, grandchildren ... then buy them this gorgeous set of Kiwi Corker books in a cute little bag. You'll get :

The Little Blue Duck by Chris Gurney, illustrated by Stevie Mahardhika
The Frog Footy Player by Chris Gurney, illustrated by John Bennett
The Three Cattle Dogs Gruff by Chris Gurney, illustrated by Myles Lawford
The Tuatara and the Skink by Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Donovan Bixley
The Ugly Hatchling by Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Dave Gunson

They are all stories that lend themselves to being read aloud; their rhythm, rhyme and familiarity make them popular with 3-7 year olds.

The Little Blue Duck loves to cook but needs someone to help her. All her friends are too busy until it comes time to eat the pavlova.

In The Frog Footy Player Kiri is happily playing with her rugby ball until she kicks it into the pond. Frog offers to help but only if she grants him a wish. However, once she gets her ball back she's reluctant to carry out his wish ...

Kids will recognize this tale straight away in The Three Cattle Dogs Gruff, but instead of old billy gruff its a taniwha that hides under the bridge and three young cattle dogs need to cross the bridge. Will they get across?

In The Tuatara and the Skink its vain Sammy the Skink who represents the hare, and Old Tom who stands in for the tortoise. Old Tom wants to put Sammy Skink in his place so suggests a race. Will it be smug and speedy Sammy or clever Old Tom who will run the competition?

Instead of the ugly duckling we have a rather misfortunate looking kiwi hatchling in The Ugly Hatchling. Stoat has captured a large juicy egg but in his haste to get away with his prize he drops it and it rolls out of the forest and lands beside mother Pukeko, who thinks it is one of her clutch of eggs. Out hatch 1, 2, 3, 4 fluffy black chicks and one strange little chick. Kids will recognise it is a little kiwi. When the pukeko fly away, the little chick goes looking for his own kind.

Chris Gurney and Yvonne Morrison are rhyme and rhythm masters and the stories are a joy to read aloud. Little kids are going to enjoy slinging the bag over their shoulders and then curling up to look at the pictures, and then beg their parents to read them aloud to them. Great holiday reading!

ISBN: 978-1-77543-426-9
RRP $25
Ages 3-7 years


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