Archive for May, 2020

Sharing with wolf

By Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson

ISBN 9781775435723

Scholastic NZ

Room for rent.

That’s the sign wolf puts up on his door. It’s just too expensive to live alone.

Lamb arrives with a long list of references and a need for a place to live. Are they going to be compatible? Will Wolf give into to Lamb’s constant pleas to move in to Wolf’s house? Will Lamb find a new home?

Author Melinda Szmanik has written many picture books. Some, like The Song of the Kauri are serious and others like Sharing the Wolf are funny. In this case, wickedly funny.

Before I even had a chance to read this book myself, a couple of teachers grabbed the book from my pile and read it during lunch. They promptly put in requests to share it with their classes. Their laughter and reluctance to hand the book back to me told me everything I needed to know.

Nikki Slade Robinson’s illustrations are wonderful. There is a simplicity to them that is just delightful. The ending of the story is not exactly clear but that’s the point.  Nikki  does however, leave clues throughout the pages for readers to find and come to their own conclusions.

This is certainly a book that will do very well as a read-aloud and generate lots of laughter.

Mammoth Stew

By Bob Darroch

ISBN 9781988538198

Bateman Books



Award winning author and illustrator Bob Darroch has a new picture book out. Mammoth Stew is bright and bold. The front cover stands out with its yellow, orange, and green background and then  hiding in the centre is a big, hairy, brown mammoth. The back cover is an eye-catching red.

Cave-boy Inga is hungry. So hungry in fact, he could eat a mammoth. The trouble is, Inga has to find one first, catch it and then cook it but there just doesn’t seem to be any around. The reader however, can see what Inga cannot and there is a mammoth lurking on every page. The mammoth does more than avoid being caught, he actually helps rescue Inga over and over again, even though Inga has no idea. Inga is oblivious to everything around him except his plans to capture a mammoth for his dinner. He tries all sorts of ways to trick and trap a mammoth but he doesn’t have the best of luck.

What Inga does have is oodles of confidence, intent and enthusiasm. His enthusiasm is delightful even though it does land him in heaps of trouble. His attempt to lasso a mammoth leaves him tied up in knots and requiring rescuing. Being rescued is a recurring theme which children will love.

This book is bright and cherry, fresh and funny and sure to be a hit.



My attempt to win a $500 book voucher. What an amazing prize this would be. Free range in a bookshop. Every readers dream. Here goes my little effort . Thanks Dr Seuss!

 Best bookshops and jam

I cannot choose
I will not choose
Which one I like the best

I just will not
I just cannot
It only leaves me stressed

How can you ask?
Why do you ask?
You know it isn’t fair.

I love them all
big and small
bookshops everywhere.

Books to delight
Books that fright
Reading’s never done.

There’s gifts and things
And joys they bring
In each and everyone.

So I choose one
I choose two
Maybe I’ll choose three.

Scorpio, UBS
Hornby Paper Plus
Books galore,
Lovely staff
Lots of happy fuss.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

By Suzanne Collins

ISBN 9788427220287



Not a review, but sharing the trailer for a book I am very keen to read.

I loved the Hunger Games trilogy and now there is a prequel and it is very much anticipated by fans all over the world. So much so, that on all searches I did to find out more about this book, I never got further than writing the word Ballad and the novel popped up. Could be any ballad at all but Collin’s one came up first every time which just goes to show how much interest and demand there is for this book.

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.”

This time we focus on President Snow as a young man. Looking forward to reading this one soon.



By Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by Sharon King-Chai

ISBN 9781509801633

Two Hoots Books

This animal alphabet picture book is an absolute treasure.

Julia Donaldson presents a succession of questions for the reader where the answer creates yet another question and so on and so on. Each answer reveals an animal or creature beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet.  We begin of course with the letter A and end with the letter Z.

For example.

Who has more wrinkles than a hedgehog?

An iguana!

Who is more wobbly than an iguana?

A jellyfish!

So you get the idea and keep on reading your way through the alphabet and the introduction to different animals.

The magic however, comes from the overall design and artwork.

Pages unfold like treasure maps, die-cut peek holes provide clues to animals which are revealed on the pages that follow each question. The illustrations are delightful with a simplicity that is totally engaging. Reading the book is a very tactile experience and a mystery game all in one. This beautifully presented, hardback picture book will make a special gift and a treasure to read over and over again. Love it so much!

See for yourself when you check out the trailer below.

Robin Hood

By Robert Muchamore

ISBN 9781471408618


Cover by Alessandro Taini

Very cool cover.

Author Robert Muchamore knows how to begin a good story and keep you reading.

Guy Gisborne is a gangster and not very nice at all. In fact, he is a thug. Robin Hood’s father speaks out about corruption in the town of Locksley and as punishment, he is framed with a crime and thrown in jail.  Robin’s mother died some time ago so with his father in jail, he and his brother Little John have no choice but to run. They become separated and 12 year old Robin ends up in Sherwood Forest where bandits, bikers and other groups live. There is danger at almost step.

This is a modern day Robin Hood and the first book is the gathering of the group. The book has everything. Pace, suspense, and plenty of action. There is computer hacking, heists and arrows. Lots of arrows. Secrets are revealed and friendships made.

Guy Gisborne is out for revenge after Robin attacks him. I won’t say what he does as I don’t like spoilers, but Gisborne got what he deserved. Robin is also out for revenge, for his father being in jail for a crime he did not commit.  There are good guys and bad, corruption and greed and a little humour too, in this first book in a new series by Robert Muchamore.

A thoroughly good and energetic read and I am already waiting for the next book. Sadly it’s not out until next year but I’m sure the wait will be worth it. A very good series for 10 up.

Check out the author’s page to find out more about the characters from this book

I love the trailer!