Archive for July, 2019

Frankly in love

By David Yoon

 

While this YA book isn’t out yet, it is one I will be hunting for. The trailer is kind of cool and shows a sense of humour, particularly, with the play on words in the title. I’m hopeful there will more humour in the story.

Sometimes, I think book trailers give us a better idea of what to expect than a book review or blurb does. From what I see, the point of view will be Frank’s and that already is a bonus for me that a male character has centre stage. Look out for it soon.

It’s about a teenage boy who falls in love for fake in order to fall in love for real.

The Invincibles. Power Up

By Peter Millett

Illustrations by Myles Lawford

ISBN 9781775435990

Scholastic NZ

 

 

This is the first book in a new series by Peter Millett. The appeal is for those who enjoy a bit of humour, sports, teamwork, and superpowers, all amongst a bit of mystery.

We meet a group of friends on a rugby field when they are all zapped by lightning. This bizarre event has the strangest of consequences when they discover they all suddenly have superpowers. Each has their own power but there are time restrictions on their power and that puts pressure on them all to save the day. In this case, they need to save the All Greats rugby team before it is too late.

The book is easy to read with short chapters, decent size font, and illustrations. There are bonus collector cards at the back of the book which add to the overall appeal.

Check out the book trailer and see for yourself.

 

How to read a book

By Kwame Alexander

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

ISBN 9780062307811

HarperCollins


While Kwame Alexander changes tact here from his wonderful young adult books to a new picture book, one thing doesn’t change, and that is the language. It is beautiful. Every word is carefully thought out and has purpose. If you click here you can listen for yourself and find out exactly what I mean by the poetical language. I do enjoy books about books and reading. This one is just gorgeous.

We are encouraged to open a book and see and feel its beauty, turn the pages and enjoy the experience of reading. The book is delightfully illustrated with bright fluorescent colours and collage effects. The bright pink end pages are bookshelves full to the brim with books just waiting to be read.

James Foley

James Foley is a very talented author and illustrator of children’s books and I have admired his books for a number of years now. His early chapter books are funny, easy to read, and the illustrations are quirky and comical.  His series S. Tinker is popular and great for children who like reading about inventions, brothers and sisters and most importantly, enjoy reading books that make them laugh.  Brobot is the first book where we are introduced to Sally and her brother Joe. It is there that Sally decides to build herself a new brother, a better brother.

If you check out James website in the link above you can find out a bit about him, but also read some chapter samples of these funny books.

James has kindly allowed himself to be interviewed by Sally Tinker herself. They talk about his writing. He shares lots of ideas which are helpful if you are a keen writer. Check out a couple of videos below and then see if you can find any of his books in your school or local library, or visit a bookshop nearby. Maybe after watching, you will be inspired by his suggestions to write your own stories. Enjoy these clips but there are more on Youtube as Sally Tinker has her own channel. How cool is that!

 

Antarctic Journeys

By Philippa Werry

ISBN 9781869664992

New Holland Publishers

When we consider non-fiction books for children, conversations often turn to the fact that everything we want them to know is online with just a quick click away. While that is definitely true, it may take many attempts and quite some time to find what they are looking for with many distractions along the way. As adults we know it is very easy to get lost on the internet and before you know it an hour has passed and you still haven’t really found what you are looking for. So with that in mind it is great to see some new non-fiction books for children, with all the information needed in one place, on two very different topics; Antarctica and Kereru.

Antarctic Journeys is a great example of what to look for in a non-fiction book. It has a multitude of colour photographs, an index, glossary, timeline, and contents page. The subheadings are bold and the photos are well-detailed. The information is well researched.

It is a book to read anyway you want. You can read it all the way through, or dip into chapters and read snippets that take your interest. I particularly liked the animal journeys, especially the cats. I also enjoyed reading about Frank Worsley and Ernest Shackleton. Their journey was an incredible tale of survival, although that can be said of all the early explorers to Antarctica. The book, as the title suggests, is about journeys of all kinds, both historic and contemporary. The writer herself made a journey to Antarctica after winning a place on the Antarctica New Zealand community engagement programme. This book captures much of her experience, and so much more.

This is an excellent choice for school libraries at all levels.

Coo-coo Kereru

By Terry Fitzgibbon

ISBN 9781869665173

New Holland Publishers

This is a combination creative non-fiction picture book. Beautifully illustrated with rhyming text on one side of each spread and information text on the opposite page. The Kereru is indeed, a beautiful bird and whenever I happen to see one, which is sadly, not very often,  I can’t help but stand quietly and watch them.

This book, aimed at younger children, explores the history of kereru, as far back as the myths and legends when a Kereru helped Maui fish the North Island out of the sea. The birds are also known as wood pigeons. I did find it sad that at one time Kereru had a life-span of 20-25 years but now because of introduced predators, loss of their forest homes and other things, their life expectancy is now only 5-6 years. The back of the book gives plenty of ideas of how you can help these beautiful birds.

Another good book to add to your library.

 

I spent a wonderful hour in the warmth of Turanga  Library today, with a group of excited  children (and many adults too) being entertained by the very funny and equally lovely, Swapna Haddow.

Swapna is the author of the Dave Pigeon books which I have thoroughly enjoyed. They are all about pigeons, in particular, Dave and his best mate ,Skipper. Her books are illustrated by the very talented Sheena Dempsey Skipper is the sensible one who tries to keep Dave out of trouble. It doesn’t always work out that way but that is perfect because that leads to mischief and often a bit of mayhem, which keep readers entertained.

Swapna told us how she spends her day writing, coming up with ideas and even that perhaps from time to time, like many writers, she might have to fib. All very funny and innocent and a great way to finish the first week of the school holidays. Listening to her reading out her book was delightful, especially the humour in the stories and the voices and accents she uses.

You can check out her books and more about Swapna and of course, Dave and Skipper on her website here.

Apologies for the grainy shots. I was at the back and my zoom isn’t too good on my phone. Hopefully I will get to have another chance to be entertained by Swapna again soon.

 

 

The Bad Guys : The Big Bad Wolf

Book 9

By Aaron Blabley

ISBN 9781742993737

Scholastic Australia

The Bad Guys series remains one of our most popular series at school, from year two all the way to year six. The books are always out and have reserves. Readers love the humour,  illustrations, the heroics and adventures of the different characters. I am always getting asked when the next book is coming out. It is a hard lesson in life when a reader realises that a writer and or illustrator can’t just create a book overnight, just because they want the next one, now! With schools on winter holiday break, now is the perfect time to grab a copy of these very funny books, either from a library or shelves of many good bookshops near you. They are easy to read, lots of illustrations and just so much fun.

Check out this very cool trailer form their latest adventure.

Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!)

By Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

ISBN 9780571336982

Faber & Faber

Dave, the sling-wearing pigeon and his best friend Skipper, are back for another laugh-out-loud adventure. This time the two of them find themselves caught up with royalty, as in the royal pigeons, impersonation, a coup, or is that a coo? Skipper constantly tries to keep the peace and be the sensible one but Dave somehow always ends up with “catbrained” plans that go disastrously wrong for them both. This time, while impersonating certain other pigeons at the Human Palace, they overhear plans that could be dangerous for all involved.

Together, they’re like a comedy duo. The are funny, yet seriously wise, argumentative, yet  caring but always, most importantly, supportive of each other. You can’t help but warm to them and their antics. This is book four in the series and just as funny as the first three.

The illustrations continue to make me smile. You can see their personalities shine through the drawings. You can see their expressions; anger, annoyance, wisdom, caring and so much more, through the delightfully comical illustrations. Swapna Haddow and Sheena Demspey make these books very special and perfect for first chapter books.

If you are in Christchurch for the school holidays then why not pop along to Turanga and meet Swapna yourself as part of the Kidsfest festival 2019. I sure hope to pop in and meet her myself.

Kidfest Swapna Haddow

 

Twinkle, twinkle, Matariki / Tirama, tirama, Matariki

Written and illustrated by Rebecca Larsen

ISBN 9780995114227

Imagination Press

This new picture book about Matariki has been a huge hit and for so many reasons.

The story tells us of friends, Kiwi, Hoiho and Pukeko who zoom off in to space and spend the night exploring the nine stars of Matariki; our Maori New Year.

The book was read out to many classes and it was with delight that I watched them counting down in Maori as the friends blasted off in to the night sky. The book comes with a CD which was also a hit.  There is an illustrative focus on food which is traditionally of utmost importance during the Matariki celebrations. The illustrations are very child-like, bright and innocent and just adorable. The text is in both English and Maori, as is also the CD.

Whether you choose to read the book on its own or listen to the CD, it is a story that is sure to become a favourite. It is a good book to share with family and for exploring more about our Maori traditions and festivals. It is also perfect for schools to share our Maori culture with everyone.

There is a QR Code in the back of the book which will take you the audio of this story so you can listen and sing along on your phone or iPad. Also at the back, on the last page is a gallery of characters in the book and the Matariki stars, which is very handy.

While the focus is Matariki, the stars, and kai, it is also a book about friends and one to be shared all year around.