Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ferdinand the bull

By Munro Leaf

 

This classic story from Munro Leaf  was written in 1936 and is still in print today, such is its popularity.

Ferdinand is a bull who loves to sit in a field and smell the flowers. He doesn’t want to fight or play rough, he just wants to enjoy the peace and quiet of the day. Do find a copy of the book before the movie comes out and allow yourself a step back in time with the wonderful vintage drawings.

Ferdinand is gentle and not what you expect from a great big bull but this  reminds us that we really shouldn’t make assumptions about people and that we should be true to ourselves.  I can’t wait to see the new movie coming out soon.

 

 

 

 

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It is nearly NZ Bookshop day, a day to celebrate bookshops up and down the country. Almost a year ago now, my all time favourite bookshop closed its doors for the final time and it still makes me incredibly sad. So I am writing this love letter to all bookshops, not just the ones I regularly visit, but all of them because they all deserve a little love. Without a little love, others too might have to close their doors.

I confess, I spend many hours and too much money in bookshops but that is okay. I may be poor but I am so enriched by the stories I read, by the books I buy and the time spent with staff at the different bookshops I frequent. (I sound a bit dodgy but I assure you I am just passionate about books and reading, and not a stalker)

I love my bookshops and the wonderful staff who know so much, and offer so many good suggestions. Bookshops, much like libraries, are uniquely a haven for readers. I go there for information, books, gifts and a friendly chat. I go because I am always made to feel so welcome.

I do buy most of the books for a school library where I am the librarian and in charge of the budget. I prefer to visit my bookshops and buy in person. I know they are not really my bookshops but it feels like it sometimes. I need to feel the weight of the books, see the font and make sure the text size is just right for my readers. I love having discussions with the staff about the latest new books in a series or new titles coming out soon. I walk in to a bookshop, any bookshop and I kind of feel like I am heaven. I could curl up in a corner and stay there all day feeling safe and secure, if somewhat lost  in other worlds and other stories.

Bookshops need to be loved. They need their customers and they need you. Check one out on NZ Bookshop day 28th October. Spend some time there and say hi to the staff.  I know I will. You can’t keep me away.

So my love letter is to all bookshops, your staff, managers, owners, everyone involved, even other customers that I sometimes end up having chats with, I wish you all the most wonderful, happy and thriving bookshop day.

 

 

 

 

The longest breakfast

By Jenny Bornholdt

Illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

ISBN 9781776571673

Gecko Press  October 2017

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and a good one will set you right for the whole day. So too, will quality time with family at the start of each day. The longest breakfast is the perfect example of the early morning chaos over finding the right breakfast. Poor Malcolm is bombarded with requests for all sorts of breakfast even someone wanting pudding. The baby toddles after Malcolm calling out toot, toot or bzzzzzzz but Malcolm is busy trying to sort out everyone else and we can see that the baby begins to feel ignored.

I love how the illustrations of the baby start out small but as he gets more and more frustrated his illustrations become bigger until  finally the baby has his own full page and is at last noticed by the rest of the family.  Eventually everyone, including neighbours, come together for breakfast. A busy, warm, family-friendly picture book with bright colourful illustrations.

Published October 2017 so not long to wait.

 

 

The Dark Prophecy

The trials of Apollo Book 2 

By Rick Riordan 

ISBN 9780141363974

Penguin Random House

Rick Riordan has fans all over the world, including me. Readers love his books, in fact readers devour his books. In my day job as a librarian I am constantly asked by my students- when are the next books coming out. Well, I can finally say the next one is here now. Book two in the Trials of Apollo series offers more heroic adventures. The students who began with Percy Jackson continue to read these wonderful tales of mythological characters. It is not just children and teenagers who read Riordan’s different series but also many adults.

Take a peek at these book trailers to see just why Rick Riordan’s books are so popular. Check out his website as well for more details about his books. There are also heaps of ideas if you want to be a writer yourself.

 

The god Apollo, cast down to earth and trapped in the form of a gawky teenage boy as punishment, must set off on the second of his harrowing (and hilarious) trials.
He and his companions seek the ancient oracles – restoring them is the only way for Apollo to reclaim his place on Mount Olympus – but this is easier said than done.
Somewhere in the American Midwest is a haunted cave that may hold answers for Apollo in his quest to become a god again . . . if it doesn’t kill him or drive him insane first. Standing in Apollo’s way is the second member of the evil Triumvirate – a Roman emperor whose love of bloodshed and spectacle makes even Nero look tame.
To survive the encounter, Apollo will need the help of a now-mortal goddess, a bronze dragon, and some familiar demigod faces from Camp Half-Blood. With them by his side, can Apollo face down the greatest challenge of his four thousand years of existence?

 

 

 

Brothers from a different mother

By Phillip Gwynne

Illustrated by Marjore Crosly-Fairall

Penguin Random House Australia

 

This is just adorable. A lovely story of friendship and the idea that no matter what our differences are, we can all be friends. Wonderful concept that we all need to remember. I love this trailer. Just gorgeous and cute and has that warm fuzzy feeling. Will be ordering this ASAP.

 

Scar Island

By Dan Gemeinhart

ISBN 9781338053845

Scholastic 

This book landed on my desk this week and I have added it to my TBR pile as a must read.  I have even sneaked it to the top of the pile and hope to get stuck in very soon as long as I can get in before the senior students at school grab hold of it or I might have to wait my turn. Certainly one to look forward to.

Book trailers have so much power. They encourage us, taunt us and leave us hurrying to get the book to find out just what is going to happen to the characters. Check out the trailer below and see what I mean. The fact that the author is a fellow librarian is also very cool.

“Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys–an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves.
Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he’s willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming.
Just as he’s getting used to his new situation, however, a freak accident leaves the troubled boys of Slabhenge without any adult supervision. Suddenly the kids are free, with an entire island to themselves. But freedom brings unexpected danger. And if Jonathan can’t come to terms with the sins of his past and lead his new friends to safety… then every boy on the island is doomed.”

 

The Water Princess

By Susan Verde

Illustrated by Peter H Reynolds

ISBN9780399172588

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

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What a beautiful thought-provoking picture book. Princess Gie Gie must endure the daily grind of walking long distances to fetch water and walking back again, day in day out. It is time-consuming and monotonous but water is essential for life and so it must be done. Gie Gie wishes so much that water was at her fingertips. She has dreams that one day water will be plentiful for everyone.

This book deserves so much more than a cursory read. Indeed, it needs to be read again and again. We have the cultural aspects of what it is like to live in such a harsh environment and the desperate need for water, something most of us take for granted. We simply turn on a tap and water flows. The closest experience I have to this is after the devastating earthquakes here in Christchurch in 2011 and having to collect rainwater from an old tarpaulin draped over the clothesline and having to dig holes in the backyard to go to the toilet. We were lucky and we had water within a week. Other people here went without water for so much longer. Water was brought in to the city by trucks. There are no trucks where Gie Gie lives.

Gie Gie, despite her reluctance to walk yet another day to collect water, continues to remain hopeful. She is quite frankly, delightful and her love of the land and wide open spaces is heart-warming.

“My kingdom…the African sky, so wide and so close. I can almost touch the sharp edges of the stars.”

The burnt-orange and browns are perfect colour choices for the wonderful illustrations which show just how harsh it is to live in a land with very little water. An environment so different to our own that it is difficult to understand but the illustrations here really create Gie Gie’s world for us.

Gie Gie’s expressions are honest. We see it when she stamps her feet annoyed at having to fetch water yet again, and in her love of the land and family. Overwhelmingly, we see it in her resillence and hope. Gie Gie is strong and detemined and such a wonderful role model for young readers. Love this book to pieces.

A must-have for all school libraries.

Sometimes you just have to deviate from your normal posts and this is one of those times. 

At school today I disposed of a rather dead and smelly hedgehog. Sadly, she left an orphan, a wee baby hedgehog roaming around looking very lost and forlorn in the middle of the day. So I have rescued the wee thing and it has been rustling around in an old box by my desk. It has not long gone to sleep now and is so cute. The Animal and Bird Hospital will look after it and make sure it is looked after until a little older and able to fend for itself. Children have come into the library for a little look too. Very quietly of course. He or she really is very little and adorable.

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Last night was a disastrous night here in New Zealand with multiple earthquakes and aftershocks. Sadly two fatalities and lots of damage. We are strong, having been through these before but it is still horrible to endure. SO I want to bring some cheer to those who are feeling shattered and on edge (like me).

I am sharing a video for Christmas. Copyright of course belongs to John Lewis.

Enjoy and for those in affected areas, please stay safe. Kia Kaha.

This is a difficult post to write but one I must. 

This is not about the history of the shop, or the owner’s experiences or even the fate of the shop (although I am ever hopeful a buyer will be found). None of that is my story to write. This is about my ten years experience working in one of the most wonderful bookshops ever.

I worked every Saturday and many of the school holidays for the last ten years. The best holiday to work was the build up to Christmas where everyone was full of excitement and book chat.  We had the perfect location, right in the heart of Victoria Street in a quirky building with lots of nooks and crannies. The big earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 changed all that but we dusted ourselves off and started again in a different part of town.

What I gained from my years of working as a retail assistant was a growing confidence in myself. I had to approach customers and begin conversations, something I was always intimidated by before. Over the years, these customers have become friends. I know their children, I know their likes and dislikes. I have hugged customers as they cried when telling me why they are buying a special book for a wee child. Stories about a young dad dying or siblings who have died. I remember helping a young mother with book choices for her children and wrapping them for Christmas presents, knowing she had cancer. Sadly she died a few weeks later.

Then there are the grandparents who religiously come in every birthday, Easter and Christmas. They are all like family. We don’t just sell books and gifts, we listen. We listen and even on occasions look at their family photos.

I have attended many publishers Road Shows which I will miss. I loved finding out what new books were coming out and felt I was privy to special secrets. I have had the privilege of meeting so many fantastic authors and illustrators from New Zealand and internationally. I’ve had wonderful conversations with Margaret Mahy, Andy Griffiths, Derek Landy and so many more. I have chatted with Michael Morpurgo (my absolute hero) and even been kissed on the cheek by him. Years later, my right cheek is still unwashed.

I was so fortunate to have my own book launch at the shop. A wonderful setting, a fantastic night with wine and nibbles, and an amazing cake. I felt like royalty, thoroughly spoiled by so many friends all thanks to the support of staff at the shop.

What saddens me about the closing of this wonderful shop, is not just a personal loss of a job I have loved, but what it means to the city of Christchurch and children’s literature in general.  We were specialists and while other bookshops sold much the same as we did, we also sold those books that were unique, beautiful and sophisticated. We were not afraid to come out from behind the counter and talk with our customers.

I will miss my wonderful colleagues, Jane, Louise, Pru and Mary, my boss, and Jamie who had recently moved on to another job. I will miss having somewhere special to go every Saturday. I will miss our wonderful customers. I miss my old friend, The Original Children’s Bookshop more than I thought I ever could. I feel like I have lost an old friend and am grieving for that friend. 

A few Saturdays ago when news became public about our liquidation, the shop was so full with customers coming in. Many of them cried, sad we were closing.  Customers just hugged us openly and in shock. Emotionally it was an incredibly tough day but I feel so proud to have been part of this very special place and to have travelled with them for as long as I have.

Is it the end? I hope not. Will it be bought? I hope so. Will I stop crying? One day!

As they say, never say never. I live in hope. And please, please, shop local. Keep our bookshops alive.

A great selection of new picture books from Scholastic NZ . Great for toddlers through to about six years old but really, you are never too old for picture books.

 

Parakeet in boots

By Chris Gurney

Illustrated by Myles Lawford

ISBN 9781775434382

boots

The latest in the Kiwi Corkers series is just as funny and quirky as others in this popular series. The traditional stories take a journey through New Zealand shores. Here we have a new take on the familiar Puss in Boots with a parakeet collecting paua in his kete. Bright, colourful illustrations add to the humour of this story. He really is a very confident and somewhat manipulative Parakeet but he does what he does for all the right reasons and we share delight in the happy ending.

 

 

Dinosaur hunting

By Lucy Davey

Illustrated by Kirsten Richards

ISBN 9781775433958

hunting

Dinosaurs are hiding everywhere, behind trees, and even in the clouds if you look closely. A fun story of a little boy going for a walk with his dad and enjoying the world of imagination. A sweet circular story where the ordinary becomes a little more interesting thanks to a vivid imagination. Dad offers fun and support, especially when it seems the dinosaurs might be getting just a little too close for comfort.

 

Hush : a kiwi lullaby

By Joy Cowley

Illustrations by Andrew Burdan

Maori lyrics by Ngaere Roberts

Sung by June Pitman-Hayes

ISBN 9781775433125

Includes bonus CD in English and Maori

lullaby

This is an old traditional song but with a very kiwi feel. The illustrations are soft and warm creating a very gentle mood and feel to the book. It is matched beautifully with the sweet tones of the singer on the bonus CD. It is nice to see a glossary of Maori terms at the back of the book to encourage listeners and readers to take pride in our Maori language.

As baby is lulled to sleep we are introduced to kunekune pigs, paua, tui, silver ferns and much more. This is a perfect book for new parents who want to spend some gentle time with their precious  wee ones

 

 

The Kiwi Hokey Tokey

Illustrated by Stevie Mahardhika

Sung by Pio Terei

Maori lyrics by Ngaere Roberts

ISBN 9781775434115

Includes Bonus CD in English and Maori

 

kiwi

The Kiwi Hokey Tokey is a very catchy song which children will love dancing to and performing the different actions. Lots of fun and of course introduction to Maori words make this a good one to add to any junior library or home collection. My favourites are the farmyard flash mob, the dancing kunekune pigs and the cheeky fantails.  The illustrations are full of character and humour. Another very Kiwi book to delight young children or to send to friends overseas.

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Brobot

By James Foley

ISBN 9781925163919

Fremantle Press

 

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“Sally is the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and she just knows she can build a better brother than the messy, smelly version she has. Sally’s invention – Brobot – is fantastic, that is until the remote gets broken and Brobot careens out of control. Sally realises that maybe there’s more to a brother than just his inconveniences”

 

What a brilliant cover. The blue is beautiful and bright and just calls for the book to be picked up. This is a great introduction the the graphic novel format for young readers. The very funny illustrations are broken up with just the right amount of text for newly independent readers. I love the very comical expressive eyes particular when Sally gets mad. They really are a window to the soul and in this case, Sally’s honest big-sister frustrations are quite obvious. This is very funny, especially for those readers with younger siblings. I mean who hasn’t thought of ways to dispense with, or swap a younger brother or sister – momentarily of course! Sally does find that her creation isn’t quite what she hoped for but her little brother seems to be totally oblivious to her plans and sits their looking perfectly cute. I do think this would make an ideal little series so I hope there are more adventures with Sally.

An ideal book to encourage creative  and makerspace thinking.

 

Teaching notes found here.

The bee’s sneeze

By Lucy Davey

Illustrated by Katz Cowley

ISBN 9781775432982

Scholastic NZ

5-2

 

That teasy sneeze came breezing …

like ants in the pants of a kangaroo,

it grew till it blew with a loud

 

AH-CHOO!

 

I would suggest anyone wanting to read this delightful picture book out loud, pre-read it first to get a taste of the lovely tongue twistery language.

One sneeze by little Buzzy McBee leads to another and then another and then in to danger. This is sure to delight young children and no doubt the many parents who will read this funny picture book out loud.

Warm  illustrations by Katz Cowley add to the humour. Lots of greens and browns help create a natural setting. I love the looks of surprise on bee and bear’s faces when they are blown all over the place. Sneezing takes on a whole new meaning in Lucy Davey’s latest picture book.

There are a number of picture books about Matariki which have been around for awhile but these two are newly published this year and deserve a place alongside of the old favourites.

 

The seven kites of Matariki

By Calico McClintock

Illustrated by Dominique Ford

ISBN 9781775434016

Scholastic NZ

kites

 

“It was deep mid-winter and all through the village preparations were being made to farewell the old year and greet the new. For the first time ever, the seventh little sister, Ururangi, was big enough to make her own celebration kite. But when the seven sisters take the finished kites to fly them, the east wind whips them all away into the sky …where they now appear as the stars of Matariki to welcome the Maori new year.’

I love the motifs running through the pages of this book. They are in the clouds and sky, and in the kites and all through the backgrounds of the illustrations. It is perfect for highlighting the significance of the New Year to Maori and the traditions which we all celebrate today.  This is easy to read and ideal for teachers to open up discussions on Matariki with their students. I love the use of colour too here, especially the different shades of blue. It is great to see New Zealand-themed picture books being published and this is definitely one to add to a school or home library collection.

 

The little kiwi’s Matariki

By Nikki Slade Robinson

ISBN 9781927305195

Duck Creek Press

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The little Kiwi is fast asleep in her burrow. A beam of moonlight shines right down into her burrow. She wakes, and realises it is time. Hurrying out into the night, she wakes each of her friends from their mid-winter slumber. ‘Kia tere! Hurry!’ she urges them.

 

As Kiwi runs through the forest, stopping to urge others to follow him,  we are introduced to many of New Zealand’s native birdlife as well as the katipo spider. I think this makes it quite special in terms of a New Zealand-themed  picture book. At the back of the book there is a double page spread outlining the facts about Matariki which is a great addition to have. Good to use at both pre-school and primary school as an introduction to one of our most special celebrations.

Hex

By Thomas Olde Heuvelt

ISBN 9781444793239

Hodder & Stoughton

 

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As soon as I saw this I knew I had to share!

What a cool and creepy cover.  I am seriously going to have to get a copy of this book. The trailer is awesome. Top quality and creepy as! I love books that make you cringe and your skin crawl with fear and I just can’t wait for this one. Out this month New Zealand and Australia. One of those crossover novels sure to appeal and creep out both YA and adult readers.

“Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she’s there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.

The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.”

If you want to read an interview then click here