Well, the moral of the story has to be: don’t judge a book by its cover! A very determined young lady meets a quirky creature who identifies himself as a wolf. He doesn’t look or act like a wolf (square teeth, eyes on stalks, playing a violin, eating aubergine salad) so it’s not surprising when the girl decides to turn him into a “proper” wolf. Some very funny scenes result as she tries to get him to toughen up. But then she meets a lion who doesn’t behave much like a lion…
Suitable to share with children of four and up, this would be great fun to read to groups because of its crazy cartoon illustrations and enticing sound effects, as well as the moral tucked away inside the humour.
ISBN 978 1 77543 405 4 $17.99 Pb
The Big Block of Chocolate by Janet Slater, illus. Christine Dale, Scholastic NZ
This story was first published by Ashton Scholastic in the 1980s, and has gone on to sell over 250,000 copies round the world. Christine Dale illustrated the first version while she was employed as Scholastic’s Assistant Editor – she later went on to become Publishing Manager.
I remember the story as one of the early Big Books, published in a super-large size suitable for reading aloud to big groups – tattered copies are probably still in existence in many of today’s classrooms. This is a reformatted version which gives the original illustrations a new look, but the story is still the same old favourite using repetition and rhyme to describe the inevitable fate of the much-desired block of chocolate.
Take the chance to buy a fresh copy of this New Zealand classic for your pre-schoolers and early primary classes…
ISBN 978 1 77543 490 0 $17.99 Pb
Putangitangi Walks by Stephanie Thatcher, Scholastic NZ
Stephanie Thatcher will be known to many as the author/illustrator of The Great Galloping Galoot, Little Hoihoi, and The Other Brother. This work is a simple story using short sentences and bouncy rhyming text to tell how the female putangitangi (paradise duck) eats, preens, and goes in pursuit of her male friend. He gets a surprise when she playfully jumps out at him, but he soon comes round and is ready to partner up.
The book offers a good chance to teach youngsters a little about the duck pairs they see so often in New Zealand’s open spaces. Pre-schoolers will enjoy the spacious colourful illustrations with their calming pastel and white backgrounds. They’ll also enjoy spotting the playful green frog who enhances every picture. This would be a great book for reading aloud to a preschool group because of the short text and the fresh, bright pictures.
ISBN 978 1 77543 422 1 $17.99 Pb
Make a Putangitangi finger puppet here.
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman