Archive for the ‘Pre-school’ Category

Winner of the Joy Cowley Award

The little ghost who lost her boo!

By Elaine Bickell

Illustrated by Raymond McGrath

ISBN 9781775435754

“I’ve lost my Boo! I’ve lost my Boo!

Where has it gone? What will I do?”

What do you do when you are a little ghost and somehow you’ve lost your boo? You go searching of course, and that is exactly what little ghost does. She searches everywhere and asks all her friends if they have seen her boo. We meet lots of different animals and birds, but do they know where her boo is? It doesn’t seem like she is having much luck at first but wait for the ending which requires reader participation to complete the story.

The illustrations are quite adorable, especially poor little ghost’s looks of disappointment, worry, sadness and of course, happiness. I do love the rooster’s feathers all beautiful and detailed and taking up a whole page.

 

Picture book reprint

Grandmas McGarvey joins the scrum

By Jenny Hessell

Illustrated by Trevor Pye

ISBN 9781775436034

Grandmother McGarvey has been around for 30 years and this reprint brings her back for a whole new generation of readers. It’s not everyday you see a Grandma toughing it out on the rugby field, head down in the middle of a scrum with a rugby team, but that is exactly what Grandma McGarvey does. Totally by accident, of course. Why she is there will all be revealed when you find a copy of this latest edition. The story is funny and with a good kiwi feel to it.

Junior novel reprint

Lily has a secret 

(Book 2 in the Lily the Littlest Angel series)

By Elizabeth Pulford

ISBN 9781775435921

 

First chapter books carry a lot of responsibility. They need to have a good story to capture the imagination of newly independent or emerging readers. Short chapters, decent size font, illustrations to help break up the text, and words readers are familiar with as well as a few new words to challenge. The Littlest Angel series of books  provides all that and more.

Lily has a secret. A warm, fluffy, cute and injured kitten. How will she keep it a secret, especially when one of the rules, is no animals allowed? There is also the matter of a performance to put on, which is quite difficult when you are trying to hide a kitten.  Lily somehow always manages to break things, or get herself into some sort of trouble but she is sweet and likeable and really only wants to do the right thing. Good first chapter book and beyond.

 

Advertisements

Monkey on the run

By Leo Timmers

ISBN 9781776572519

Gecko Press

Wordless picture books, or silent books, as they are sometimes known, are often sadly undervalued yet they offer so much. Children get to retell what they see or invent their own stories. Perfect for oral language, sharing stories and using imagination.

Monkey on the Run allows us the chance to be creative and interact with his delightful picture book.

Papa monkey and little monkey are stuck in a traffic jam. Little monkey decides to jump on to a fire engine and hop from one vehicle to the next in order to move up the line and beat the traffic. Papa monkey isn’t far behind but there are a lot of vehicles in the traffic jam and lots of drivers. We meet donkeys, giraffes, moles, pigs and even sea creatures all driving different cars and trucks. The pictures are brightly coloured, with heaps of detail and things to discover. Young children could name the animals, count and name the different type of vehicles, explore the pictures and of course, tell you their own imagined story. Definitely a book for having fun together with someone close.

 

 

Otto goes North

By Ulrika Kestere

ISBN 9781776572427

Gecko Press

I love the opening sentence of this new picture book.

Far up in the north you’ll find a blueberry-blue house with a grass roof. 

Who can resist a blueberry-blue house, a grass roof, a sauna and a setting as beautiful as the mountains and the sea.

Otto the Lemur cycles for a very, very long time to visit his friends, far, far away so he can see the Northern Lights. He wants to paint a picture of the lights so he can remember their beauty but it is too cold for a lemur and he struggles to keep warm. His friends, Lisa the lynx and Nils, the young bear, come up with a plan, as good friends do. The conversations are delightfully comical and I found myself giggling away at times.

Gorgeous illustrations but in particular, check out the expressions on the animals faces. Love Otto’s red nose as he shivers in the cold. There is so much on offer here and teachers could  go beyond a simple reading and extend students learning. It’s about good friends, kindness, caring, creative thinking and problem solving, as well as a good read.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Song of the River

By Joy Cowley

Illustrated by Kimberly Andrews

ISBN 9781776572535

Gecko Press

Cam is a young child living in the mountains where the snow is thick and the air cold. He often wonders what it would be like to see the ocean. One spring morning, Cam begins to follow the voice of the snow. It calls to him, a trickle at first.

“Come with me. Come with me. I will take you to the sea.”

He journeys in and out of the forest, through tiny villages, following the trickle of water that grows into creeks and rivers. Cam continues following the water till he finally reaches the sea.  He stands in awe of the sea and its wild beauty. For the first time in his life he splashes in the waves and feels the sand between his toes. It is a circular story and Cam ends up safe back home with his grandfather.

Beautifully written, with earthy coloured illustrations, this book provides the story of many rivers and their journey to the sea. The wildlife includes, deer, bears, leaping trout, and numerous others that children will recognise. The end pages provide a map overview of the river’s journey, from the mountains, through the valleys and small towns and all the way to the sea.

A beautiful book with heaps to look at and enjoy as well as insight to our world.

The day the plants fought back

By Belinda O’Keefe

Illustrated by Richard Holt

ISBN 9781775435686

 

There is mayhem in the garden when two boys get carried away with their over-zealous playfulness. They have a total lack of respect for everything. They leave the inside of the house in a huge mess and then start out in the backyard by uprooting vegetables and using them as weapons. The plants are not happy and together, they stand up for themselves and decide to teach the boys a lesson. Funny, mischievous and it is good to see the boys come to the realisation that their behaviour has consequences. The illustrations are brightly coloured and playful, very suited to the story.

A fun story for children, particularly aimed at three to seven year old readers. I do like the rather angry expressions on the faces of the different vegetables. The are certainly not very impressed with the boys and their behaviour. Yes, there is a moral to the story but the fun also stands out. And yes, the boys learn their lesson, so all is good in the neighbourhood.

Two boisterous boys who made lots of noise, found it dreadfully hard to be good;
always charging and barging, fighting and biting, and not acting quite as they should.

Patrick and Wayne drove their parents insane, but they could be good if they tried.
Still, they’d roar and they’d claw, they’d scoot and they’d shoot until someone eventually cried.

 

 

 

Polly does NOT want a cracker

By Stephanie Thatcher

ISBN 9781988516592

Upstart Press

 


Oh dear. Poor old Polly is a parrot living in a zoo but she is so sick of everyone asking her if she wants a cracker that instead of being nice and friendly, she is grumpy and shouty. Polly definitely does NOT want a cracker and lets everyone know it. In fact Polly can’t stand crackers. Polly continually squawks a rather loud NO whenever people ask her about crackers. Polly is so loud and grumpy that she gets sent to a pet store. Unfortunately, even in the pet store she is not safe from people asking “Polly want a cracker?”. One day a special customer comes in to the shop and what she does makes all the difference to Polly.

This is definitely a picture book to share and read out loud. Parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians, in fact anyone will earn bonus points for adding their own squawky voices when Polly says, “No! No! NO!”

Gorgeous illustrations. I love the expression in Polly’s eyes. You can certainly tell the difference between when she is happy and when she is grumpy. One to read again and again. 

A story for Matariki : The Promise of Puanga

By Kirsty Wadsworth

Illustrated by Munro Te Whata

ISBN 9781775435815

Scholastic NZ

There is a bright new star in the winter sky — Puanga, cousin to the Matariki sisters. Each year, she appears to the people of Aotearoa, a special sign (for those unable to see Matariki) that winter and the Māori new year are coming.

Hana and her best friend Puanga play together all the time. In spring they make daisy chains, in summer they play in the river and visit the beach to collect shells. In Autumn they ride their bikes together until they are suddenly faced with winter. The suddenness of the cold, harsh days and nights of winter causes problems with crops in the fields and many other things that make life difficult in the winter months. If only there was some way of knowing that winter was coming so that everyone could be prepared.

Puanga tells Hana a secret that might help and makes a promise but it will also change everything. Their friendship and love for each other, along with Tāwhirimātea the god of wind and storms, help make an amazing gift for all.

The bold illustrations bring a modern day feel to this Māori mythology-based story.

It’s great having some Māori vocabulary woven into the story too as we move between the changing seasons.

With Matariki just around the corner, this is an ideal book to add to school library collections and teacher resosurces.

Bambi the Blind Alpaca

(Inspired by a true story)

By Jan Lummis

Illustrated by Jenny Cooper

ISBN 9781775435877

Scholastic NZ

Bambi the blind alpaca is based on the very real tale of Bambi and his brother Charisma. In real life Bambi and Charisma were brothers and best friends, doing everything together. One day they became separated leaving Bambi struggling to cope on his own. Jan Lummis takes this event and creates a safe and happy alternate ending.

Children love stories based on truth and knowing that somewhere out in the real world are characters, animals and people they can relate to or make connections with, leaves them happy and satisfied.

When Charisma leaves, Bambi is lost and lonely. He is afraid to do things on his own because Charisma has been his best friend, his guide and his eyes. There is a happy ending and the wonderful realisation that people come and go in our lives.  There will be sadness when some friends leave, but always there will room for new friends. 

Jenny Cooper, as always, produces beautiful pictures. The alpacas are gorgeous and definitely have that cuteness appeal. The warmth of the illustrations adds a softness that tugs at the heart.

A sweet picture book for younger readers. There is photo of the real Bambi at the back as well as a double spread of information about alpacas which adds to the overall value of this lovely story.

 

 

 

The Good Egg

By Jory John

Illustrated by Pete Oswald

ISBN9780062866004

Harpercollins

The Good Egg is very busy running around after everyone. He is always helping them do things, like carrying groceries, painting houses, almost anything you can think of, the Good Egg is in there trying to help. His eleven companions are not so helpful. In fact they are often naughty and lazy. Poor Good Egg has had enough and he begins to feel sad and unwell.

It’s not always easy being good. Sometimes it actually becomes too much and the Good Egg finds out the hard way; that sometimes you have to stop and just look after yourself and let others be responsible for themselves. Being kind is always the right thing to do, but you also have to be kind to yourself. An eggcellent idea and example in a wonderful companion picture book to The bad seed by the same author and illustrator. I hope there is more to come from these two. Great picture books with humour and worthwhile messages. Great for school libraries and teacher read-aloud. There is always a good egg and a bad egg in every class.

Two new picture books from Scholastic aimed at younger readers. One young girl deals with fear of the unknown, and a young boy deals with an unwanted distraction but both have elements of humour which is always good. Both have lovely endings.

 

There’s a hedgehog in my pants

By Amy Harrop

Illustrated by Ross Kinnaird

ISBN 9781775435655

 

A little bit of lighthearted fun about an unwelcome hedgehog who takes up residence inside a young boy’s pants. The trouble is the boy is wearing his pants. The prickly creature will just not leave. No matter what the boy does, the hedgehog is firmly tucked up inside his pants. He tries dancing  and shaking his bottom, even tries yelling at the hedgehog hoping to scare it away but no luck. He is running out of options.

A funny, rhyming picture book with brightly coloured and comical illustrations which will delight those readers with a more wicked sense of humour.

 

Things in the sea are touching me!

By Linda Jane Keegan

Illustrated by Minky Stapleton

ISBN 9781775435709

 

“Look in the water, Ma!

Golly, oh, gee!

Some thing in the sea 

is touching me!”

A young girl goes to the beach with her two mothers hoping to have a wonderful day playing in the sand, swimming in the sea and just spending time together. However, it turns out that every time the young girl steps in the water, she feels things touching her. It’s great to see how once she discovers whatever is touching her is safe, her fears slip away. A good book to read to young children who might be afraid of the sea, or perhaps might just be a bit more anxious than other children. It’s good to see diversity in picture books too. There will surely be children who recognise themselves in this picture book. Her fears show up in the darker illustrations while the safety, joy and love of family show up in illustrations with more bold and bright colours.

The remember balloons

by Jessie Oliveros

Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

ISBN 9781481489157

SimonandSchuster

I love this very special and very moving picture book about a young boy, James, who witnesses the declining memory of his much-loved grandfather. The impact of his grandfather’s condition affects everyone. Memories are what hold us together and when those memories fade, the loss can be tragic. James is struggling to understand how this is happening. The boy and his grandfather have a special relationship. They spend many hours together, camping and fishing, and always grandfather shares stories about his life. Each memory is stored in a bright coloured balloon but as his memory fades, balloons slowly float off, taking the memory with them. There is a double paged spread where James is chasing the balloons, reaching high but the balloons are just out of reach. To use one of my dearest friends phrases, I had “leaky eyes”. A big leak! This is powerful and poignant and such a beautiful way to help young people understand conditions such as Alzheimer’s. As moving as this book is, it is also gentle, kind and just a little hopeful.  I have bought this for the school library but this is one to add to my own collection as well.

The beautiful illustrations limit colour to the balloons and their memories, which helps focus the story and its theme on memory loss, its impact and love. Just beautiful.

James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.

But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice!

Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

SImonandSchuster

Saying goodbye to Barkley

By Devon Sillett

Illustrated by Nicky Johnston

ISBN 9781925335965

EKbooks

 

As every parent knows, the loss of a pet can be traumatic for the whole family. Pets are very much part of family life and the death of such a beloved animal affects children in different ways. Saying goodbye to Barkley is a sweet and gentle picture book where Olivia deals with the loss of Barkley, her wonderful crime-fighter sidekick. Olivia and Barkley did everything together. Their friendship is real and her grief after his passing is also real. There is a happy ending which is great.

A good way to deal with death of a pet and open up discussions in a gentle way.

 

 

I am so clever

By Mario Ramos

ISBN 9781776572496

 


Everyone’s favourite wolf is back. The strong and handsome, if somewhat egotistical wolf, returns for another adventure. We first met him in I am so strong and I am so handsome. This time wolf wanders through the forest and is eager to eat Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother. Nothing seems to go in his favour and every time he does get close, someone or something from the fairy tale world gets in his way. Between the pages of this picture book we meet the likes of the three little pigs, the seven dwarfs and a few more characters that children will recognise. Great for a fun read.

Many teachers do lessons on fractured fairy tales and the delightful twist here with our humorous and familiar wolf, makes this a perfect choice to use in such lessons.

 

 Everyone walks away

By Eva Lindstrom

ISBN 978177651864

Frank is lonely. He doesn’t fit in or feel any sense of belonging. Everywhere he goes Milan, Tilly and Paul exclude him. You can see how much he wants to be part of their group and you can see their sideways glances at him but he always ends up walking away. There is certainly a sadness to this picture book and the illustrations highlight the feelings of isolation as Frank looks small compared to the landscape and his surroundings. The eyes reveal so much about the different character’s feelings which is not always easy to achieve in children’s book illustrations.

Frank goes home alone and makes special jam from his own tears. What happens next is also kind of special too. This book deals with issues of loneliness, exclusion and cliques and we can see the impact it has on Frank. It is an important book to share.