Saturday, January 20, 2018

Picture Books from 2017’s Review Stack…

Moo and Moo and the Little Calf Too by Jane Millton, illus. Deborah Hinde, Allen & Unwin

Two cows and a calf became world famous after the Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016 – pictures of them stranded on a hillock after a landslip were viewed around the world. Jane Milton lives on the farm and saw a great opportunity to turn the story into a children’s picture book, so she wrote the tale in rhyming verse. It was published in April 2017. I suspect it’s been very successful, and has probably gone through several reprints.

The text is appealing, with its New Zealand rural setting and the main theme of survival during a natural disaster. The cows are portrayed as being quite laid-back about their adventure, and a couple of in-jokes will appeal to adults. The rhythm and the rhyming are excellent – which makes it a great read-aloud for parents and teachers. No bumpy bits to trip up your tongue.

Deborah Hinde’s expansive double-spread illustrations are done in a warm, casual style that suits the tone of the story very well. Amazing how she managed to get so many different expressions on the cows’ faces!

This book has been recently followed up by a second one called Moo and Moo and Can You Guess Who – a must-buy for fans of the first book (it was reviewed on this blog on 9/11/2017).

ISBN 978 1 87750 592 8 RRP $19.99 Pb

The Kiwi Go Marching One by One by Peter Millett, illus. Deborah Hinde, singer Jay Laga’aia, transl. Ngaere Roberts, Scholastic NZ

Here’s another picture songbook containing song lyrics together with a CD of the song sung in English and Maori. I’m interested to see the text being written by an established author, rather than the staff at Scholastic NZ. It certainly has an extra zing to it. Be aware that the text doesn’t follow the format of the traditional song (about the animals marching into the Ark) with its focus on teaching numbers. The focus in this version is on a bunch of cute kiwi having fun – hiking, fishing, bungee-jumping.

As always, Deborah Hinde’s illustrations (she has done many for Scholastic NZ’s picture songbooks) are bright and cheeky with stand-out colours and white backgrounds and the crispness of Adobe Acrobat. The song on the CD is bouncy and friendly, and will definitely appeal to pre-schoolers and junior primary ages.

ISBN  978 1 77543 512 9 RRP $19.00 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman  

Monday, January 8, 2018

A fascinating read!

How to Mend a Kea by Janet Hunt, Massey University Press

This is subtitled + other fabulous fix-it tales from Wildbase Hospital. The subtitle   provokes curiosity, but before you reach that stage your gaze is captured by the cover photo showing the shiny eye and hooked beak of a towel-wrapped kea. If you’re like me, you can’t resist the challenge of the bird’s gaze. You must know more!

The book is arranged in four parts: Part 1 introduces the Wildbase Hospital and its staff; Part 2 follows the history of Kea (aka Patient #78129); Part 3 focuses on a variety of case histories (eg. de-oiling, mending broken bones, fattening up after near-starvation, etc); and the last part shows photos of more patients being treated, plus a section headed How to Put Wildbase Out of Business!

It’s an attractive book with excellent design, and its sturdy pages give it a feel-good quality. The friendly easy-to-read text tells the actual stories, but there are also numerous colour photos, along with interesting fact boxes. Also a Contents page and an Index.

It makes a great present for thoughtful young readers who care about our native wildlife (I gave a copy to a 10-year-old and another to a 7-year-old who’s an advanced reader). Needless to say, it’s a recommended purchase for primary school and intermediate school libraries, and I can even see it on the shelves in secondary school libraries.

ISBN 978 0 9941407 1 5
RRP $27.99 Pb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman