Monday, December 18, 2017

A new kiwi book on the scene

It's my egg (and you can't have it) by Heather Hunt and Kennedy Warne (Potton & Burton)

A mother kiwi lays an egg, it's now father kiwis job to look after it. While he's incubating it, a ranger lays a trap near his burrow; it'll help protect the kiwi and his egg. Soon a cat comes prowling, then a dog with its young girl handler, and lastly a stoat. Each time father kiwi wards them off with the refrain, "It's my egg, and you can't have it!' Is he successful? Read it and find out.

Heather Hunt and Kennedy Warne have successfully paired before with 'The Cuckoo and the Warbler'. Heather Hunt also illustrated 'KIWI: The Real Story'. Heather has her own unique style of illustration; using contrasting colours of black and fluorescent yellows, greens and reds, and spiky outlines on flora and fauna.

A delightful creative non-fiction book about the dangers that a kiwi and his egg face. It also carries the message that dog owners need to keep their dogs on a leash when going for a walk in our forests. Would suit 4-6 year old budding conservationists.

Take a look inside.

ISBN: 978-0-947503-56-7
RRP pb $19.99 hb $29.99

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Connections to the sea…

Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands by Maria Gill, illus. Marco Ivančić, Scholastic NZ

On 5 November 2017 Maria launched two picture books at the Children’s Bookshop in Ponsonby – Toroa’s Journey, and this one about Abel Tasman. The books are a long way apart in subject matter, but one element is common to both – the sea. This stately picture book impresses all the way through, from the cover realistically portraying an intrepid explorer scanning the horizon, to the inside front cover which show maps of the chartered world circa 1600, and to the inside back cover which shows the world circa 1670 (after Abel Tasman’s voyages in the 1640s).

Maria uses straight-forward language to describe Abel Tasman’s childhood ambitions, but moves quickly on to the departure from Batavia of the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen in August 1642. The ships made landfall on what would eventually become Tasmania. The Aboriginals watched these pale people with suspicion but no confrontation occurred. Abel Tasman’s next landfall was on the coast of New Zealand, and here a terrible battle with the Maori resulted in casualties on both sides. The book finishes with several pages of easy-to-read factual information and diagrams about mapping, the voyage routes, the explorers, the countries visited, and the ships.

Marco’s luminous, lifelike illustrations of Abel Tasman, his ships, and the inhabitants of Australia and New Zealand are breath-taking, and the design of the book is excellent.

This is not a picture book for pre-schoolers or very junior classes, but children of around seven to eleven with some awareness of the world around them will pore over it – to soak up the information and absorb the illustrations. Recommended for all public libraries, also primary and intermediate school libraries.

ISBN 978 1 77543 509 9 RRP $27.95 Hb  

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman   

Not New Zealand but a good read…

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge, Macmillan

Maybe this was sent for review because Macmillan still have a foothold in the New Zealand market… The award-winning author is very decidedly British, which comes through strongly in the plot and setting of this haunting YA novel. 

Twelve-year-old Makepiece has a strange problem – if she’s anywhere near a dying person she risks the dying spirit taking up residence in her brain. In a country riven by civil war, there’s plenty of dying going on. Makepiece learns to prevent the spirits from entering her (mostly) but has trouble with the accidental arrival of an angry, mistreated bear spirit. The story bowls along at a great pace as Makepiece learns why she has this curse upon her, and does her best to avoid being taken over by a posse of ancient and evil spirits. It’s an excellent read for teens (and adults) who like a vivid and exciting blend of ghost tale and historical story.

ISBN 978 1509 869305 RRP $24.99 Pb

The Cleo Stories: Book Bag by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood, Allen and Unwin

The first two stories in this delightful Australian series have been packaged together into an enticing cardboard carry case. If you’ve forgotten them, the two titles are: The Cleo Stories: The Necklace and the Present, and The Cleo Stories: A Friend and a Pet. The first story was winner of the 2015 CBCA Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers. The two hardback books are beautifully presented, with softly-shaded pastel-coloured pictures on every page to entertain girls who are just on the borderline of reading for themselves. The warm-hearted stories about an enterprising young miss are written for girls of about five to eight, both early readers and not-quite-readers. My granddaughter falls into the second category, and these are her favourite books (when read to her by Mum or Dad).

The Book Bag would make a marvellous Christmas present for young primary-aged girls.

ISBN 9781760296971 RRP $24.99(AUD) Hb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman