Archive for December, 2015

Today I wandered around the new Margaret Mahy playground in the middle of Christchurch. The place was buzzing with families, young and old, enjoying the new facilities on a gloriously sunny day. This was a huge undertaking but for  families in Christchurch this is just wonderful. So many things to do and climb or swing. Makes me so proud to be a Kiwi!





Fittingly named after Margaret Mahy, one of New Zealand’s best and much-loved children’s authors. The whole park idea was inspired by children and this would have pleased Margaret very much indeed.



On one side of the playground you can see some of the empty land. Once there were numerous buildings and thriving businesses but the quakes destroyed all that.


On one side of the park is the Avon River with its own wee jetty for children to paddle their feet and no doubt feed the ducks. This playground really is a little oasis in the middle of an ever changing city and a much needed one at that. Just wonderful. As simple as that! Just in time for long summer days.



If you want to know more you can read the Press release here and enjoy a little news clip too.


Whether you have Christmas in a cold wintry place or sunbathing on a beach in the middle of summer, Christmas is always a time to catch up on some reading.

These are some of my favourites which I have shared over the years.



The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg                                                       polar

ISBN 9781849390989

I do love the version with the CD read by Liam Neeson.

A young boy’s trip to the North Pole filled with magic. You can of course get out the movie but do enjoy the book first.



wombatChristmas wombat

By Jackie French

Illustrated by Bruce Whatley

ISBN 9780732291716

Gorgeously funny story of Mothball the wombat who continues to eat, sleep and scratch but then something special happens and she is whisked off on a very special ride. Great for toddlers.


snow 2The snowman                       

By Raymond Briggs

ISBN 9780141501710

There is something very special about a snowman and a little boy.  The movie is wonderful too. The music as the boy and the snowman soar over chimney tops is lovely. The illustrations are just adorable with real quirky smiles and personality.



 matchThe little match girl

By H. C. Andersen

I have always loved this story of the little girl who is forced to sell matches in the freezing cold while others sit in their warm and festive houses. Even as a child this story brought me to tears. Not exactly a joyous story but a story we should read and remember for the message to share what we have. Not sure this version is still in print but there are many versions out there just as moving.




velveteenThe velveteen rabbit

By Margery Williams

ISBN 9781604332773

I know this is not the classic version with the illustrations by William Nicholson (which I do have a copy of by the way) but I thought I would share this new illustrated version as it is just delightful. I love the back cover with the bookcase showing some great classic books for children. It is a story we know of a young boy and his favourite rabbit and how toys become real. A classic to treasure.



 miracle   The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

By Susan Wojciechowski

ISBN 9781406310405

This is a very moving story of loneliness, grief and learning to trust and love again.  Jonathan Toomey is the best wood-carver in the valley but he is consumed by grief and sadness and just wants to be by himself.  A knock at his door changes everything. Sometimes we have to work at making a difference and here, a young boy does just that. He makes a difference.

Actually I think I will stop here and go and read this again before turning in for the night. My copy has the audio CD as well so I might listen to that instead when I go to bed.