Archive for August, 2022

Her Patient Fight : Poems of a journey, hardship to hope

By Catie Nettlingham

ISBN 9780473626563

Mary Egan Publishing

After finishing high school, young adult Catie Nettlingham left her family home in the North Island and headed to Christchurch to study. Catie was keen and excited to begin a new life, but sadly, mental illness crept in and took over her life. This book is testament to her struggles and commitment to heal.

Catie allows us into her world, warts and all. We are privy to her moods, her depression and her fears for the future. Written as a collection of thoughtful, honest and raw poems, we are along for the journey as she takes us through her dark days and out the other side. We can see hope as Catie comes to terms with her diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Catie reminds us

Recovery is days, months, years.

Being calm and accepting is the trick.

Gratitude helps.

(From Recovery Page 48)

It is a short collection but the poems are important. Mental illness is often a taboo subject, especially with teenagers, so Catie’s honesty is refreshing. Writing gives Catie wellness and stability and it is her hope that this book will help other teens and young adults dealing with their own mental health issues and illnesses.

Thank you Catie for sharing your story.

Bad Panda : The cake escape

By Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

ISBN 9780571352456


We first met these cute pandas, Lin and her best friend, Fu, in Bad Panda. Well, they are back and just as funny, if not funnier. Humour seems to be author Swapna Haddow’s forte, for I found myself smiling or giggling to myself, many times. I think the humour lends itself to being read aloud for the best effect.

Fu goes missing. At first Lin thinks he’s off somewhere doing his own thing but she begins to worry when she can’t find him. As she searches, asking all the other animals in the zoo if they’ve seen him, she comes to realise that a horrid, little human child may have stolen Fu to add to his collection. With the help from Small Racoon, Lin follows the clues in this humorous, mystery-adventure novel for early chapter book readers. I love the in-jokes from the narrator directing their opinions directly to the reader.

The characters are quirky, with delightful, likeable personalities. There is a sort of innocence about them as well as determination and quiet bravery. Best of all, is their loyalty and friendship to each other. Teamwork, really makes a difference.

Sheena Dempsey brings Swapna’s characters to life, with her gorgeously cute illustrations and there are lots of them. Some sections are part graphic novel which adds to the humour, but also breaks up the text a little for newly independent readers who might otherwise find a full text chapter book a bit daunting.

Swapna and Sheena are the perfect combination of author and illustrator who totally understand each other. This combination, along with their publishers, has created another jolly good read. I look forward to (hopefully) a third book in this delightful series about Lin and Fu and all their friends.


By Fifi Colston

ISBN 9780143775683

Puffin Imprint

Freddie Foxworthy loves crafting. Making things takes his mind off other life issues he has to deal with. However, his latest craft is a papier-mâché puppet that seems to have a mind of its own. In fact, the puppet and Freddy have conversations which could just be down to the fact that the puppet is partly made up from the remains of a dead bull terrier. Yes! Some of the neighbour’s dead dog’s ashes are mixed up with the flour and water mix. Not intentionally, of course, but it certainly makes the puppet head a lot stronger. A little bit gross, but a little bit funny when you read how it happens. You can just imagine Freddie’s surprise when the puppet starts talking. Freddie names the puppet Masher and the two become quite connected in a very comical way.

A story as quirky as this just has to be good, and it is. I was intrigued by such a strange concept and I know lots of young readers who will find this very funny.

Short chapters, the addition of quirky drawings, good font size and a good, imaginative story make this an easy-to-read chapter book.

At the back of the book are instructions for making your own Papier-mâché puppet.