Archive for the ‘Primary School’ Category

Masher

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.

The monkey and the Moonbeam

By Jonathan Smith

ISBN 9780473622596

Little Love

Sometimes, we find that life is not always greener on the other side. Sometimes, we just need to look around and see that what we have is actually okay. For little monkey NicNic, this is his story of how he yearns for a better, softer bed. He travels the world with his friend, Crooner the crane and together they search all over for a softer bed. Their adventure takes them to places like the Himalayas, France and Australia. Is there a lesson in here? Yes, but that’s okay.

Sweet, and a good reminder that home is often the best place.

No home for a Wētā

By Stephanie Thatcher

ISBN 9781775437529

Scholastic NZ

In similar storyline, Weta goes in search of a new home, not because she wants a softer bed but because she wants her own space, and peace and quiet. I love Stephanie Thatcher’s illustrations. They are sweet, comical with heaps of personality. Check out the very funny pages where Weta is more than a little frustrated. A fun, rhyming picture book for young children. Great for preschool and early primary school for introducing NZ wildlife.

The last page provides useful details of different types of weta.

Korora and the Sushi Shop

By Linda Jane Keegan

Illustrated by Jenny Cooper

ISBN 9781775437185

Scholastic NZ

Inspired by true events, this story is about some penguins korora who actually sneaked into a sushi shop.

A little blue penguin comes out of the sea, up on the shore, crossing dangerous roads and hides underneath a sushi shop. That is quite a big adventure for such a small creature. The penguin is rescued by the police and returned to the sea but comes back again the next day with a little blue penguin friend. Sushi shops might sound like a dream come true for penguins, but it’s definitely not the best place for little penguins to hide under.

A rhyming story with delightful colourful illustrations. Illustrator, Jenny Cooper is great at creating her animal characters and giving them life and personality with warmth and the best colour choices. When the wee penguins are safe and smiling in their new home, you can’t help but smile back.

Kara the Kākāpō

By Danni Rae

Illustrated by Evan Heasman

ISBN 9780473621759

Little Love

Kara the kakapo wants to fly but we all know Kakapo are flightless birds. However, Kara is one determined and creative kakapo. In this rhyming picture book, Kara comes up with a plan to try and make her dreams come true. Full page illustrations with lots of other New Zealand wildlife among the pages. A page of kakapo facts is a helpful addition.

Colour the stars taea ngā whetū 10th Anniversary Edition

By Dawn McMillan

Illustrated by Keinyo White

Retold in Maori by Ngaere Roberts

ISBN 9781775436805

Scholastic NZ

How do you describe a colour to someone who can’t see?

Luke and Isaac are good friends. Luke just happens to be blind and in his world of darkness he doesn’t believe he needs colour, but Isaac does. Isaac uses all his senses to describe colour to his friend. The idea of describing colour as a taste is wonderful. The tender kindness of Isaac in helping his friend is such an important theme in this book.

This is a good book for any school or preschool collection. For a 10th anniversary, this picture book is now available with a bilingual Te Reo Maori version.

Skandar and the unicorn thief

By A. F. Steadman

ISBN 9781398512429

Simon & Schuster

Skandar is 13 and a bit of a loner. He has no friends, just his sister and his dad and all he wants is to be a unicorn rider. Not your stereotypical pretty-as-a-picture unicorn, but real, scary unicorns. It is all that matters to him but first he must pass his Hatchery exam, that is if he gets the chance. Each student must hatch their own unicorn, and tame them in order to become riders but not everyone will make it.

Action unfolds quickly for Skandar, and he soon finds himself on an island and pushed into danger. There are other riders his age but the biggest problem, is who to trust. Who is telling the truth, and who might betray him? Scandar has a secret, a life-threatening one that he needs to keep hidden. Bullies are found everywhere, but here the risk to Skandar’s safety and secrets could be deadly if his secret is revealed.

The unicorns are strong-willed, definitely dangerous, bloodthirsty and potentially wild killers. The new riders are people Skandar’s age and they come with their own personal issues and fears but also kindness and loyalty. Working out who will stand together is one of the book’s theme. Family, friends, honesty, bravery, it’s all here in this action-packed debut novel. I love the action of the fierce sky battles where unicorns and riders fight to win, but where survival is not guaranteed. I love the friendships and teamwork.

As well as the ferocious unicorns, there are four elements that tie riders, unicorns and elements together, or perhaps there is more, but that would be too revealing, and no one wants spoilers in their reviews. I can tell you, there is a lot to like. The characters, with all their flaws, the fantasy and storyline, good against evil, descriptive language and general pace of the story. The story is well written and I have already seen a number of students reading this at school and it has quickly become their favourite book, which is high praise indeed.

I’ve finished the first book and now hanging out for book two.

Into the Sideways World

By Ross Welford

ISBN 9780008333843

Harpercollins

Twelve-year-old Willa lives with her parents and older sister, Alex. Things are not great. Her parents are always arguing, the environment is suffering and the possibility of a world war is constantly on the news.

At school she meets the new boy, Manny and they become good friends. They also accidentally discover an alternative world. In this world, there are no wars, the environment is perfect and there are strange creatures, like the cog. There is much to like in this alternate world. There is much we can learn, if we take the time.

Trying to convince people in the ordinary world of the things they have seen is problematic. No one believes them. Time becomes an issue when there is risk of being trapped in one world, or drowning.

The pace is good, the characters believable, and more importantly, likeable. Manny is quirky and extremely friendly, while Willa is a bit more sensible. The writing, like Ross Welford’s other books, offers good suspense, excitement and a jolly good read.

Queen of Muck

By Isaac Thackray

ISBN 9780473576028

Mary Egan Publishing

When Lucy and Lily’s grandad goes missing, they are desperate to find him, even though they have no idea where to start looking.

A fallen postcard in grandad’s shed holds the key to his disappearance and the first chance to finding clues. The sisters find themselves tumbling into a rather strange place where things are not quite what they seem. They are greeted by a talking fox who takes them into the nearby town, Florez. From there, all sorts of magical, funny, and mysterious things begin to happen.

There is also danger, risk and more humour with characters like Horrible Bob, Sergeant Onion and the evil Queen Deidre of Muck Palace. While being at risk of being disposed of, the girls still need to find their grandad.

Working together, good friends and some good planning, all go a long way to solving the mystery. A fun read.

Ice

By Susan Brocker

ISBN 9781775437567

Scholastic NZ

I admit that animals stories are not usually my first choice but I was very pleasantly surprised with Susan Broker’s latest title. I read it over two days and was thoroughly caught up in the mystery, the family dynamics and just the whole story.

Zac, has lived with his mother in Auckland since his parent’s divorce but is forced to stay with his father and his new wife and step brother and step sister in Wanaka, a long, long way from the big city. Zac likes nothing more than to play games on his console but his father has other ideas for him. He volunteers at a wildlife sanctuary but it isn’t long before he realises things are not as they seem. His stepmother encourages him to take on the care of a dog from the pound but the one he chooses, destined for euthanasia, looks at him with ice blue eyes and he can’t resist saving her. However, something is wrong. The dog howls each night at the moon, as if caught up in terrible sadness. Thus, the mystery of the dog he calls, Ice, begins.

It’s a good mystery, a good story and a good pace. The setting of the ice and snow and hills around Wanaka are descriptive and realistic. Zac’s relationship with his father is strained and Zac feels that whatever he does, isn’t good enough so he lies but the lies create even bigger problems.

Zac is forced into situations that beg him to step up and find the strength of the characters he fights in his games. It is the stepping up that creates the character’s growth and that always makes a good story. Indeed, it is more than just stepping up, Zac, has to fight for his and his family’s survival.

Ice, a white German Shepherd has her own personality. She is courageous and loyal.

I do think this would be a good read aloud for upper primary and intermediate school.

Minky Stapleton provides some thoughtful black and white illustrations throughout the book.

Words about birds of Aotearoa New Zealand

By Geoffrey Fuller

ISBN 9781775437666

Scholastic

I’m sitting here on my bed, sun coming through the window, and I have one foot hanging over the edge, and the other up on top in a moon boot. I’m watching a sparrow as it perches on the clothesline happily outside my window. It keeps turning its head and looking at me as if trying to communicate. It’s quite fitting as I write about a book on NZ birds.

The book is a collection of poems about birds, written and illustrated by Geoffrey Fuller. It features mostly Native birds from different areas, such as forests, swamps, ocean birds.

Yellow eyed penguins, and kea are my favourites. I do think there is not enough poetry being published, so this is lovely to see. The poems are short, with just a little information but mostly fun. Each bird has its own full page illustration opposite its poem.

Good introduction on birds for primary schools and keen bird watchers.

The story of Swoop

By Matt Owens

Illustrated by Emma Gustafson

ISBN 9781775437642

Scholastic NZ

Another book about birds, as I note my wee sparrow friend has flown off in search of better conversation.

This book is based on truth. Firefighter Matt had been driving down a country road when he discovered a cold, hungry, baby magpie all on its own. He scooped it up and took it home and cared for it. He even named it Swoop. The two became friends, and even Matt’s cat, Mogli accepted the magpie. Being the caring person he is, Matt soon realised that Swoop needed to be with his own family and friends, other magpies.

Set in the natural surroundings with full colour page illustrations, this is a sweet, heart-warming story about bird and human relationships. I do really like the illustrations of the magpies with their shiny black and white feathers and cheeky personalities.

Roo and Vladimir (an unlikely friendship)

Written and illustrated by Minky Stapleton

ISBN 9781775437505

Scholastic NZ

Roo is a happy dog, a very, big happy dog who loves doing lots of things. He is clumsy and trips over his own feet, and this causes him lots of trouble and makes him sad, especially when other dogs are frightened of him.

It is the meeting of another dog, Vladimir, a much smaller one, that shows friendships can be found anywhere. A big storm happens and the friends need to work together to find a safe place. What they do together shows us that heroes and friends can be found everywhere.

The brightly coloured illustrations are delightfully comical.

Please write soon

By Michael Rosen

Illustrated by Michael Foreman

ISBN 9780702315572

Scholastic UK

I was quite moved by this book. It is an extended read, with 74 pages, illustrations on every one, but aimed at older children. Perhaps nine year olds through 12, 13. It is based on a real person, a cousin of the author’s father during World War Two.

The story begins in 1939 with a boy named Solly. He lives in London and writes to his older cousin Bernie in Poland. At school Solly is asked to share a project he has been working on and he shares letters written between himself and his cousin.

The letters detail what it is like for Solly and his family to hide in bomb shelters in London, to be evacuated and to fear what might happen if the war continues. For Bernie, he shares the sadness he feels missing his family, being persecuted for who he is, and fighting in a war against the Nazi soldiers.

The cousins share a bond through their writing. They both want the war to end and to be able to meet up with each other. They want peace at a time when war is all around them.

The illustrations are black and white with the occasional, purposeful touch of red, symbolic of hope, of love and remembrance. Poppies have an important place in this book too.

I loved watching the two cousins grow closer, the more they communicated, especially their openness to discuss their feelings, and fears. Solly talks about being sent away to the countryside, like so many children were. Bernie discusses what it is like in a Russian labour camp.

A thoughtful, respectful account of the lives of two cousins during World War Two.

At the back of the book, the author discusses war in general. He discusses Covid-19 and how there are so many people who help others, risking their own lives; soldiers, nurses, doctors and more. The author asks us to consider that remembrance days mean so much more than past wars. It means to remember and reflect on all those people, who help when the need is greatest.

ANZAC Day Parade

By Glenda Kane

Illustrated by Lisa Allen

ISBN 9781776890149

This book was first published in 2010 but this new hardback edition still has much relevance today.

As we get closer to ANZAC Day commemorations, we know that because of the current Covid-19 conditions, many memorial mornings will not be happening this year. However, it is still a day to remember those people who gave their lives, over 100 years ago.

This picture book, with its soft autumnal colours, shows a young boy asking an elderly veteran on his way to an ANZAC Day Parade, questions about the war. For the elderly veteran, the war has always been part of his life. He remembers those soldiers who did not come back from the battle with him. He remembers the young man he once was and you can see how war has impacted on his whole life. You can see the pain in the old man’s eyes through the moving illustrations. The young boy, slowly begins to understand that the war was not glory, but pain and sorrow. He lays a poppy at the foot of the memorial as the old soldier walks away.

Definitely a book to add to library collections and for teachers to read aloud to young children to open discussion on ANZAC’s, war, and why we must remember the past and the people who gave so much, all those years ago.

The invisible

Written and illustrated by Tom Percival

ISBN 9781471191305

Simon and Schuster UK

I had already read good reviews of this book, so when I saw it sitting on the bookshop shelves, I had to pick it up. Even without the reviews, the cover stood out so much that I would have picked it up anyway. The soft cool tones, the child and her dog, standing in the centre of the cover just wanting to be seen. So yes, this beautifully illustrated picture book went straight into my basket.

Isabel loves her family but they are poor. They miss out on things other people take for granted. The house is so cold, the ice forms on the inside of the house. Isabel feels invisible in this world where others pretend not to see her. The time comes when the family can no longer afford to live where they are and they are forced into a different kind of life, cold and gloomy.

Isabel however, wants more. She notices other invisible people and that is the turning point in this story.

Simple, clear text without being too harsh, shows readers a world that may or may not be like theirs. It is a world that sadly, too many people have to share. The illustrations are lovely especially with the choice of colours reflecting Isabel’s moods and surroundings.

A good purchase for families and definitely school libraries. I really like this and it fits a need. Lovely!

Here is the author and illustrator Tom Percival reading his book.

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.

Tractor

By Sally Sutton

Illustrated by Brian Lovelock

ISBN 9781760653385

Walker Books Australia

The Roadwork series is a perfect combination of language, story and illustration. The books include, Roadworks, Demolition, Construction, Dig, dump, roll, and Wheels. Tractor is the latest and is sure to be another hit with young children, parents and grandparents alike.

I think what makes this a great book to read aloud is the language. Lots of rhyme, rhythm, onomatopoeia and repetition. The story focuses on the agricultural side of farming and the big tractors required to plough the field.

Down on the farm, let’s squirt the dirt.

Whoosh it! Swoosh it!

Splish! Splash! Spray!

Down on the farm, let’s squirt the dirt.

Each page has descriptions of things happening on the farm and then readers get to guess what type of tractor is doing the work, making this a fun and interactive picture book.

The illustrations are full page, bright, bold colours of farming life. The last page is more informative, with details about the parts of a tractor, which will delight the young children who love to know everything.

Great for homes, preschools and primary school libraries. A fun book to read over and over again.

What colour is the sky?

Written and illustrated Laura Shallcrass

ISBN 9780995142336

Beatnik Publishing

When you look at the sky, what colour do you see? Is it blue, grey, turquoise? What if you think it is blue, but your friend thinks it’s grey? Is one of you wrong and the other right or perhaps, you’re both wrong, or both right. Perception is different to us all. This gentle picture book by award winning author and illustrator, Laura Shallcrass, addresses this issue.

Pihoihoi puzzles over this question and together, with Hare, who just happens to think the sky is blue, begin to ask friends what they think.

Hedgehog thinks the sky is brown but mouse thinks it’s green. The journey continues, and as they meet other animals, they finally come to an understanding that we all think differently, and that is absolutely fine. Everyone has an opinion and everyone should be listened to, and respected, without judgement.

I loved the artwork in the author’s first book Hare and Ruru and I love it in this, her latest book. Natural colours for the natural landscape and gentle text, make this another delightful book to share together with someone special.

The Rhyming Pirate

Written and illustrated by Glenn Jones

ISBN 9780473574277

Mary Egan Publishing

What happens when a pirate, infamously known for his ability to rhyme everything, gets stuck when he finds a word he cannot rhyme?

This is a fun picture book mostly for preschoolers, although early primary school teachers might find it useful for learning about rhyme. The pirate, with his eye-patch and wooden leg, enjoys the chit-chat of talking in rhyme. He does it all the time and has quite the reputation but one word stumps him. Children will enjoy trying to work out what the word might be. Like all pirates, there is treasure but it is for readers to find within the pages of the book. There is a page with mini pictures of the things to find.

Fun and interactive.

A place I truly belong : A Loveable Larry Story

By Anita Hinton

Illustrated by Michelle Euinton & Shaila Awadh

ISBN 9780473576011

Mary Egan Publishing

Larry is different to the other animals in the zoo where he lives. He is soft and cuddly, while the others are tall and real. Being different makes Larry feel lonely with an overwhelming sense of not belonging. One night something magical happens under the Matariki night sky and Larry is able to escape the zoo.

He wanders many places, asking different animals he meets, if he belongs with them. Sadly, Larry doesn’t belong with any of them. There is a happy ending, and Larry does find a place to belong and to call home.

A sweet story, with sweet illustrations. It was written by the author, for her daughter, when times were tough and they both needed reassurance that there is a place somewhere, for everyone to call home.

The King’s Medal

By Maria Gill

Illustrated by Alistair Hughes

ISBN 9781990003349

Upstart Press

I think what this book highlights, is how stories can be shared across the generations. Here we have a grandfather relating his account of how he, and other soldiers, helped save the Greek King from being injured or killed, while they escaped from the German soldiers during World War Two.

The ANZAC’s had to climb steep mountains and avoid being shot at by the Nazi paratroopers. The grandfather shares his memories with his grandson, while showing him the medal he was awarded by the King.

The back pages offer more information about the ANZAC’s heroics and how a group of villagers also helped the King. There are also descriptions and illustrations of other medals from the war.

The illustrations and the colour choices perfectly showcase that particular period of time.

Author Maria Gill is well known for her creative-nonfiction picture books and this is another one to add to any school library collection. It is informative, but an easy read to enjoy at home as well.

Check out the trailer below.

As a parent, Christmas wasn’t Christmas, without giving books. Picture books, novels, even the road code counted. With that in mind, today’s post is a selection of new picture books just in time for Christmas shopping.

Ming’s Iceberg

By Kiri Lightfoot

Illustrated by Kimberly Andrews

ISBN 9781775437130

Scholastic NZ

What is not to love about a penguin? Little Ming is a curious penguin who wants to see what is out in the big wide world. From her home in Antarctica, Little Ming can see the horizon and when an opportunity arises she takes a leap onto a floating iceberg, and sets out to find what is in that place where the sea meets the sky.

On her journey she meets new friends but soon discovers that her iceberg is melting. This is sweet picture book with an environmental message about climate change and warming seas, but it is not the key message. Family, friends, and taking risks, are themes told in this gentle book.

Kimberly Andrews has captured the essence and sparkle of Little Ming. Lots of soft blues and whites, creating a sense of the Antarctic landscape. Just lovely.

The Little Yellow Digger and the big ship

By Peter Gilderdale

Illustrated by Fifi Colston

ISBN 9781775437413

Scholastic NZ

The Little Yellow Digger as a character, is a classic.

The original story was written by Betty Gilderdale and illustrated by her husband, Alan. Together they wrote several books about the digger and his antics. More than one generation has grown up with their books.

He is back with yet another adventure, this time written by their son, Peter, and illustrated by Fifi Colston. This is their second collaboration and they certainly do justice to the Little Digger stories.

Based on the real stranding of a ship in the Suez Canal in March 2021, this latest adventure sees our smartest, small machine save the day, once again. In fact, the little yellow digger gets stuck right in helping, even when others think he is too little, or doing things wrong. Sometimes, it pays to follow your own instincts and believe in yourself. Another lovely wee message to share with young readers.

Ka Pai Kiwi Favourites : 5 sing-along stories

ISBN 9781775437338

Scholastic NZ

This is a compilation of five previously published picture books, all bound together in a lovely hardback edition. The book is in both English and Te Reo Maori, and is a good pick to share with younger children. You can download the songs for free from here.

The Kiwi Hokey Tokey by Lynette Evans

The Kiwi go marching one by one by Peter Millet

Row, row, row your boat by Lynette Evans

10 kooky Kiwi (based on the traditional song 10 Green Bottles)

If your’e Kiwi and you know it (based on the traditional song If you’re happy and you know it)

The stories are all fun and quirky, with a definite kiwi theme which also makes it good for sending overseas.

Going on a Kiwi holiday

By Suzy Cato and Arthur Baysting

Illustrated by Raymond McGrath

ISBN 9781775437284

Scholastic NZ

Getting ready for a summer holiday takes quite some planning. What do you need, what will you do when you get there and even – where do you go? This family thinks of everything; kayak, sleeping bags, chilly bin, but there is always something that ends up being forgotten.

A fun road trip through summer with a repetitive rhyme just right for singing along in the car on your own holiday.

Wonky Donkey’s big surprise

By Craig Smith

Illustrated by Katz Cowley

ISBN 9781775437277

Scholastic NZ

Wonky Donkey is back and spending the day with Dinky. He tells Dinky there is a big surprise to come and they spend time guessing just what it might be. Katz Cowley’s illustrations bring out the softness and cuteness of little Dinky and the warmth of family love. Another one for fans to add to their Wonky Donkey collection.

Incredible journeys: New Zealand Wildlife on the move

By Ned Barraud

ISBN 9781988550282

Potton & Burton

Author and illustrator, Ned Barraud, is well-known for his distinctive artistic style. In his latest book he highlights the journeys many animals and birds take, often repeatedly, in their lifetimes.

Each animal or bird has its own double-page spread with lots of well-researched facts, and a map of the journey’s path. The facts are informative and easy to read.

Take the humpback whale, for example. It travels up to 10,000 kilometres from the South Pacific Ocean surrounding New Zealand, down to Antarctica and back again, when it is time to breed. That is a huge distance.

Some of the other journeys include, that of the white shark, Northern Royal albatross and even the Fiordland crested penguin, which is one of the rarest of the 18 species of penguins in the world.

A good, informative non-fiction book to have in any school library or home collection.

Backyard birds

By Ned Barraud

ISBN 9781988550305

Potton & Burton

Ned Barraud has brought together yet another book, a collection of 24 of the most common everyday birds in New Zealand. They are birds we might see in our own gardens, or on native walks around local forests or parks.

It begins with a good contents page, then the evolution of birds, followed by parts of a bird, mating, nests, eggs and chicks, before introducing different species of birds. My favourites are the pukeko, piwakawaka, and the magpie. I’ve just noticed that my favourites are all quite well-known for being rather cheeky characters with lots of personality.

Each detailed illustration also provides a paragraph or two about the birds. The last double-page spread gives ideas on how to attract birds into your garden.

A good book to have at home, to help identify birds we might see around our neighbourhood.

Marvin makes a friend

by Nadia Lim

Illustrated by Fifi Colston

ISBN 9781775437307

Scholastic NZ

Marvin, the curious chicken is back, but he is now a teen and in this sequel to Marvellous Marvin, he is looking for a family of his own. He is just as delightful as when he was young, but he is now just a little bit too sure of himself. In fact he struts around as if he owns the place. All that does however, is leave him feeling a bit lonely. After talking to many of the animals on the farm, while they offer to be his friend, they tell him, they’re not his family. He is about to give up when he wanders up to an apple tree in the orchard, when something wonderful happens. If you read the first picture book then it is well worth checking this one out too, to see how Marvin has been growing up.

Fifi Colston has once again captured his personality perfectly, in her delightfully, cute illustrations. There is a lovely, and very cute little bumble bee which follows Marvin around wherever he goes. A friendly buzzy bee with his own personality. Lots of other farm animals make an appearance and I particularly love the cow and her big, beautiful eyes.

The book, apart from being a good story, is also informative. Nadia shares family photos of her farm, children, animals and the real Marvin. There are fun facts about the farm in Central Otago. It is great to see another recipe in this book. A good, easy recipe for corn fritters, that parents and readers can enjoy doing together.

Another good book to share with young ones.