Archive for July, 2015

The adventures of Beekle : The unimaginary friend

By Dan Santat

ISBN 9780316199988

This is a delightful picture book with real feeling. Warm tingly good feelings! Sometimes in life you have to work at finding friends. And sometimes a very special friend just happens to find their way to you and that is just what happens with Beekle. Absolutely a must-have in your school library. I love the use of colour to reflect the moods. Greys of loneliness and bright colours of friendship and happiness. A great book to encourage children to take risks and go out and try something different.

“This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.”


So, so excited about the forthcoming new book from Brian Selznick. His work is absolutely brilliant.

From Publishers Weekly, they say “Selznick imagines an alternate backstory for a real English tourist attraction, the Dennis Severs’ House: 10 meticulously curated rooms that suggest what life might have been like for a family of Huguenot silk weavers in 18th-century London. The first 500 pages are double-page pencil drawings that (almost) wordlessly tell the story of the Marvel family, beginning with a 1766 shipwreck and following successive generations as they gain fame in London’s theater community.” The text always offers another story and by the time you have finished reading, you are in awe as to how you have suddenly found yourself part of the blended story itself.

His drawings are at times breath-taking as you gaze in wonder at the worlds he creates. He has a cinematic approach which has you so involved you can keep seeing different things every time your read his books. Blending illustrations with text his storytelling is quite unique and indeed just very special.

His The invention of Hugo Cabret was turned into a wonderful movie. His book Wonderstruck is equally brilliant. In fact I have two copies of Wonderstruck. I am one of the lucky few people to have a signed and numbered special edition but it is so beautiful I don’t want anything to happen to it so I bought an extra original copy as well. If you are a fan then nothing will stop you from getting your hands on his new book when it comes out and even if you have never heard of him (not sure where you have been hiding) then you will be a fan after the first few pages.


The Bakehouse

By Joy Cowley

ISBN 9781776570072

Gecko Press



Bert is in his 80’s when the novel opens and he is confronted by his great grandson Erueti; a boy who wants to know all about his ancestors.

So Bert begins his story and it isn’t very long before we are drawn into the past. The year is 1943 and New Zealand is caught up with the second world war.

Bert is 11 and eager to grow up quickly so he can go and fight in the war. He wants the adventure, the action and to defend his country. We begin to get to know Bert and his two sisters, Meg and Betty and the struggles of day to day to life. The Bakehouse is a book of mystery – just who is stealing clothes from the clothes lines in the middle of the night. It is also a book of danger and secrets and the secrets have the most power to destroy.      In fact it is the consequences of secrets which Bert still struggles with some 70 years later.

This is a moving, timely tale which is not only a great read but a solid account of the times. Without television the news came via radio and everyone would stop and listen.

“The war was always there, like a big hungry ghost that poured itself out of the radio to haunt the house.”


I loved the language, perfectly fitting for the era. I couldn’t help smiling at the terminology as it brought back my own memories. It also shows how language is always growing and adapting. A delight to read. Great for  9 – 13 year old readers and for many adults it is also great for a nostalgic look at the past set during times of war. And as for the ending – powerful – but you will just have to read it yourself. It is easy to see why Joy Cowley continues to win awards. Her writing is always top-notch and this is no exception.

Not a book trailer but a movie trailer based on the Goosebump books by R. L. Stine which were a favourite in this household some years back.

Seems like all the scary bits from the books are in one awesome movie. And with Jack Black at the helm this is sure to be one the young (and not so young) will love.


Sony Pictures Entertainment


The dead house

By Dawn Kurtagich

Orion Childrens books

ISBN 9781780622347

The Dead House Teaser Trailer 1

I must confess I do prefer the UK cover of this book coming out in August but I just have a feeling this is going to a book worth reading no matter what cover you prefer.  It is certainly a book I will be looking our for when it is released.

“Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Five people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . . 

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

 Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?”

But the writer Dawn herself adds;

It’s about two (?) girls who live in the same body. No one is really sure if it’s a type of multiple personality disorder or if there really are two girls in there. One comes out during the day, the other, at night.

When the day girl, Carly, does missing, it’s up to Kaitlyn, the girl of darkness, to find out what is going on.

But this might be more than simple personality “integration” as her doctor gleefully diagnoses. It might be something altogether more sinister.

Something supernatural.

As Kaitlyn investigates, something else is drawing closer.”

This sounds just the story I like and I can’t wait. Psychological thriller, mystery and as Dawn hints at – the supernatural. What more could you want!

You can also listen to a podcast of Dawn talking about her new book right here. This is thanks to Publisher Weekly Podcasts.