Archive for March, 2022

Wobble, waddle, toddle

By Anne Hunter

Illustrated by Dave Gunson

ISBN 9781776890088

Bateman Books

This is a gorgeously illustrated collection of poems about the wildlife along the shores, and beneath the seas, from Australia, New Zealand and all the way to Antarctica.

The rhyming poems are about whales, penguins, dolphins, the Royal albatross and many more.

The illustrations are cute and show lots of personality. The last few pages provide further facts and details for extra reading.

I do love the colours. Lots of blues just like the animals natural environment.

A good choice for preschools and primary schools as children discover animals and learn about poetry.

Nature’s alphabet : A New Zealand Nature Trail

By Andrew Crowe

Illustrated by Dave Gunson

ISBN 9781776890163

Bateman Books

A run through the alphabet in this book gives us bite-sized information about a variety of New Zealand’s wildlife. I found J for the Jumping Spider very interesting. I never knew they had so many eyes; eight to be exact. That is kind of scary even though they are harmless.

Author Andrew Crowe, knows his animals, creatures, insects and trees and provides the reader with interesting facts to whet the appetite.

Dave Gunson brings his artistic talents with warmth and detail.

There is an alphabetical list at the back which is a checklist for creatures to find within the pages of the book. This is a fun interactive book.

Row, row, row your waka (New Maori and English edition. CD and sheet music included)

Written and illustrated by Rebecca Larsen

ISBN 9781776890316

Bateman Books

Meet some of New Zealand’s favourite birds and animals as a group of friends sail across the sea. Kiwi, Pukeko and Hoiho journey over the ocean heading for a holiday in Australia. This is an updated edition with bilingual Te Reo Maori and English text.

The book comes with a CD which makes it fun and a good companion for car rides for children to sing along too. The illustrations are bright and bold with a child-like quality making it a good choice for younger children. The repetitive text and familiar tune will make this fun and no doubt a favourite for younger children.

Wolf’s Lair : Katipo Joe Book 3

By Brian Falkner

ISBN 9781775437482

Scholastic NZ

Joseph St George begins his story as a school boy in Berlin before the beginning of World War Two. His ordinary world is turned upside down when his British father is arrested as a spy. Joe and his mother escape Berlin but when they become separated Joe is sent to New Zealand. His return sometime later, sees him caught up in a world at war and his search for his parents sees him infiltrate the Hitler Youth movement. His loyalty is all a lie, of course, as it becomes clear that in order to find his parents he must become a spy. This puts him in constant risk of being found out and life becomes more and more dangerous. Survival becomes everything.

Joe’s orders are to get closer to Hitler and this works well. He begins moving in the same circle as Hitler. Indeed, Hitler sees him as his protégé. Joe then makes connections to the best and worst of the people surrounding and protecting Hitler. Joe’s order is huge, absolutely dangerous and will be life-threatening if caught. There is always the question about who to trust. Who are the good guys, and who are the bad? As he draws closer to Hitler he becomes aware that someone is watching him but he has no idea who. He also finds himself attracted to Sofie, a fellow Hitler Youth member, but their friendship could ruin everything. As his feelings for her grow, it puts them both in danger.

Joe does things that go against his natural kindness and caring. He struggles at times with guilt, and the realisation that some of the things he does, no matter how abhorrent, are actually necessary. War brings out the best and worst of people.

The suspense is palpable. I could almost hear the bombs in the background and feel the fear. This is a solid, gritty read and at times, quite confronting. While Joe’s story may be fiction, many of the events and people are real. This makes the series more realistic, more believable. Joe grows as a character, but he also retains a vulnerability, especially around people he cares about, which makes him more likeable. His flaws and strengths are real.

I loved the first two books and have been hanging out for the third for ages. I was hooked from the moment I sat down to read. I couldn’t put the book down. I sat on my bed reading instead of getting ready for work. I was in danger myself, for being late as I just wanted to know what was going to happen next in Joe’s world.

Like the previous books in this series, there is action, suspense, danger, history, a bit of a romance and a few surprises too. I’ve said it in previous reviews of this series, but this really has everything. Great writing, great story, from a great writer.

There are a number of photos in the back of the book of the real people in this narrative, which provides interesting details.

Totally recommend this YA series. I would love to see these books as a movie or TV series. An audio version would also be great.

Nature’s Wildlife Weapons

By James Ryan

ISBN 9781988538778

Bateman Books

This book has lots of appeal. It is a wonderful collection of facts and snippets of information about animals with numerous photos to support the facts. Bold headings and subheadings and a glossary make this a great addition to any school library.

What makes this book extra special, is that the author is only 12 years old. His interest in science and natural history began early and already, his knowledge and passion are admirable.

The book discusses how animals need to be able to defend themselves in the wild. Many animals use their teeth, horns, antlers and claws to survive and the author provides many examples of how they do this. There are also facts about which animal has the biggest claws. You might be surprised by the answer.

Do you know that the longest fangs on record of a sabre-toothed tiger is over 28 centimetres? That is some fang!

A good book to dip and dive into anytime.