Archive for October, 2018

Mini Whinny: Happy birthday to me!

By Stacy Gregg

Illustrated by Ruth Paul

ISBN 9781775435372

Scholastic NZ

This delightful picture book is a collaboration by author Stacy Gregg and illustrator Ruth Paul, both award winners in their own right. And it is a seriously cute book.

Do you know that all horses share the same birthday? Well they do. Mini Whinny, a miniature pony lives on a farm among other horses and animals and they are about to celebrate the horses birthdays.  However, she doesn’t think that’s fair and doesn’t want to share. Mini Whinny wants her own birthday and gets up to a bit of mischief in order to get her own way. Of course things don’t quite work out the way she plans.

A sweet story for young children.

The illustrations are super cute with a softness that makes you want to reach and pat Mini Whinny and the other animals, particularly, the cat.

I have always loved the end papers of books and the extra impact they can hold on the reader. Here, the end papers form a beautiful start and close to the book and the day itself. The beginning end papers start with the morning sun and the horses in the field. They finish with a sleepy Mini Whinny and the sun going down. Beautiful! What makes this book extra special is that it is number one in a series about the adventures of a very special miniature pony.

 

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I think I might have to move into the new library as it has only been opened three days and I have already been there two out of three. 

Today I attended the Gareth Ward writing workshop and found it very inspiring. His ideas on the writing structure were very useful. Lots of things to consider when writing and the keen writers in the room listened to his every word.

His Young Adult novel The Traitor and the Thief  (Walker Books) won the Storylines Tessa Duder Award and was a finalist in the 2018 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

 

Caught picking pockets at Coxford’s Corn Market, 14-year-old Sin is offered a way out of his life of crime: join the Covert Operations Group (COG) and train to become a spy. At Lenheim Palace, he learns spy craft and is befriended by eccentric Zonda Chubb. After an assassination attempt on the founder of COG, they endeavour to unmask the traitor. Sin is then forced into an uneasy alliance with the school bully, Velvet Von Darque. But can he trust her? And will COG try to bury him with the secrets he discovers?

 

I’m very much looking forward to reading my signed copy of his book. If you ever get the chance to attend one of his writing sessions, I urge you to go for it. Well worth it.

Thanks to Turanga for making this possible. 

I spent a wonderful afternoon at the opening of Turanga our amazing new central library. After the earthquakes our old library was closed and as incredibly sad as it was to lose our library, we have been blessed with a brilliant new one. It is beautiful, stunning, a masterpiece in design and just what our city needs. There is so much to do in the new library. There are function rooms to hire, places to buy food, eat and relax. You can even sit on the stairs, plug in and charge your devices.

The stairs are an artwork on their own. When we were waiting for the mayor to cut the ribbon and declare the library open, the crowd were looking up at the librarians on the floors above us, while they were looking down at us. Cameras and phones clicking away, everyone smiling and it reminded a few of us of the scene from City of Angels where all the angels were looking down. It was a wonderful feeling because I do secretly think librarians are much like angels with their kindness, friendliness, and willingness to help.

A huge congratulations to everyone involved in this massive but essential undertaking. There are 180,000 books, a 200-seat theatre and a $1 million touch screen which was very cool and so easy to spend time exploring. Layers and layers of things to swipe, and zoom in on and discover our city and its history. I spent my time in the children’s section, of course and already can’t wait to return.

Our city has its hub and its heart back.

The Mayor of Christchurch after cutting the ribbon and officially opening the library.

 


Beautiful sculpture on the stairs (before ribbon cutting)

 

 

 

The touch wall – way to easy to lose track of time playing on this wall.

 

 

 

Dear Professor Whale

By Megumi Iwasa

Illustrated by Jun Takabatake

ISBN 9781776572076

Gecko Press

One of the pleasures from reading a book published by Gecko Press, is the feel-good feeling you are left with when you close the cover. Dear Professor Whale is one such book that left me with a smile on my face.

This is a follow-up to Yours sincerely, Giraffe. It shares the same pleasure and wonder of written letters and new friendships discovered through correspondence. We are so caught up in the story, that we totally accept and believe that two whales are writing to each other across the seas. We also believe that seal is the one delivering the letters. Professor is the only whale for miles around. He misses his old friends who left Whale Point sometime ago. Once, they used to hold the Whale Point Olympics and he misses all the fun and laughter from those special days. When a letter from young whale Wally, is delivered to him, a friendship develops. Their letters go back and forth and it isn’t long before Professor Whale is keen to hold a new Olympics and so invites his old friends and Wally to be part of a grand event. 

So yes! There is a new Olympics and whales, penguins, seals and even a giraffe come for the special event. Professor Whale is most excited to see his old friends but also to meet his new friend, Wally who has been writing to him. They also discover a connection between them which is special.

There are a couple of special moments where animals make decisions that have consequences for themselves, but the end result shows us the true meaning of friendship. This book reminds us of the important values in life; friendships, communications, caring and of course, fun and teamwork. Short chapters, illustrations, and a good size font make this ideal for a first chapter book. Great also for a short read aloud in class.

The black and white illustrations are delightfully quirky but reveal the different personalities . What’s not to love about this book? Just lovely.