Archive for June, 2016

Return

By Aaron Becker

ISBN 9781406368437

 

So excited about this upcoming book. Not out until August but I am already hanging out for this book now. I love the first two books and have no doubt I will fall in love with the third book in this trilogy of wonderful wordless picture books. Despite having no words these stories say so much. The use of sepia tones to start at the very beginning in Journey through to the red and bright colours so symbolic of so many things. Imagination is such an important part of these books and the best thing is that imagination feeds upon itself and by the time you finish reading these books you have experienced an amazing journey. You have found new friends to travel with and experience adventure and fun.

Gorgeously illustrated and thought-provoking these books are a delight to read over and over again. Lots of sophisticated thinking happens when using these in class as teachers at my school of employment, tell me. While you are waiting for Return to be published do make sure you find copies of Journey and Quest if you haven’t read them already. This very cool book trailer is copyright of the publishers, of course. Walker Books and Candlewick Press.

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Much ado about Shakespeare

The life and times of William Shakespeare – a literary picture book

Written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley

ISBN 9781927262023

Upstart Press

Much-ado-about-Shakespeare1-827x1024

If this book was around when I was studying the works of Shakespeare I am sure my grades would have been higher. This is both tongue-in-cheek funny and serious all at the same time. Brightly coloured illustrations showcase William Shakespeare’s entire life from birth to final breath. Each illustration is accompanied by a brief but well researched account of a specific time in Shakespeare’s life.  Each of these is in turn accompanied by quotes from Shakespeare’s works and plays. 

Donovan Bixley has given careful attention to detail especially in the illustrations of clothing and the times in general. I do love the rather buxom ladies in the bars and brothels. You can’t help but smile and wonder just what life must have been like in those days. The timeline at the back of the book makes this more than just a book to enjoy, it’s a book to learn about the life and times of one of the worlds greatest writers ever. A wonderful addition to any library or home. As soon as I return this copy to the library I will be out to get my own copy to keep. I’ll just hold on to this one a bit longer …

It is very fitting that Much ado about Shakespeare is a finalist for the Russel Clark Illustration Award in the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. A fitting tribute to the writer who died 400 years ago in 1616.

 

 

 

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There are a number of picture books about Matariki which have been around for awhile but these two are newly published this year and deserve a place alongside of the old favourites.

 

The seven kites of Matariki

By Calico McClintock

Illustrated by Dominique Ford

ISBN 9781775434016

Scholastic NZ

kites

 

“It was deep mid-winter and all through the village preparations were being made to farewell the old year and greet the new. For the first time ever, the seventh little sister, Ururangi, was big enough to make her own celebration kite. But when the seven sisters take the finished kites to fly them, the east wind whips them all away into the sky …where they now appear as the stars of Matariki to welcome the Maori new year.’

I love the motifs running through the pages of this book. They are in the clouds and sky, and in the kites and all through the backgrounds of the illustrations. It is perfect for highlighting the significance of the New Year to Maori and the traditions which we all celebrate today.  This is easy to read and ideal for teachers to open up discussions on Matariki with their students. I love the use of colour too here, especially the different shades of blue. It is great to see New Zealand-themed picture books being published and this is definitely one to add to a school or home library collection.

 

The little kiwi’s Matariki

By Nikki Slade Robinson

ISBN 9781927305195

Duck Creek Press

kiwi

The little Kiwi is fast asleep in her burrow. A beam of moonlight shines right down into her burrow. She wakes, and realises it is time. Hurrying out into the night, she wakes each of her friends from their mid-winter slumber. ‘Kia tere! Hurry!’ she urges them.

 

As Kiwi runs through the forest, stopping to urge others to follow him,  we are introduced to many of New Zealand’s native birdlife as well as the katipo spider. I think this makes it quite special in terms of a New Zealand-themed  picture book. At the back of the book there is a double page spread outlining the facts about Matariki which is a great addition to have. Good to use at both pre-school and primary school as an introduction to one of our most special celebrations.

The other brother

By Stephanie Thatcher

Illustrated by Stephanie Thatcher

ISBN 9781775433828

Scholastic NZ

 

 

brother

Bertie McQuerty is the other brother, the one who struggles just a bit. He has no special arty skills, or sporty skills, in fact he feels quite lacking in skills and talents altogether. Not to be put off though, Berty does attempt things but somehow, no matter how hard he tries, he ends up being a little distracted.

The gorgeous illustrations show just how adorable he is with his big friendly smile. He does have a little yellow chick as his special friend and young readers will love looking for this chick hidden on each page of the book. This is a feel-good picture book all about trying things out, giving it a go and accepting that we are not all the same. We all have that something which makes us special, that something we are good at. Do look out for this gorgeous picture book especially if you want to know what makes Berty McQuerty special.

I think this would be ideal in both pre-school and primary schools, not just for its moral message but because it is simply a lovely book to share.