Posts Tagged ‘Friendships’

The Rock from the Sky

By Jon Klassen

ISBN 9781406395570

Walker Books

If you have read any books by author and illustrator Jon Klassen, you will automatically recognise his quirky style, simplistic illustrations and familiar choice of colours and shades. That alone should tell you the book is going to be a winner.

The Rock from the Sky is his latest and like so many of his books there is the funny twist at the end. This is longer than your normal 32 page picture book, and it is broken up into five chapters, but every page is necessary to tell the story.

Turtle and Armadillo are friends and are busy working out the best spot to sit. Armadillo has a bad feeling about one spot so he moves away. A massive rock suddenly falls from the sky and after much humour, they sit on the top of this rock from nowhere, and imagine the future. As they imagine different things happening, the reader can see the potential danger coming their way. Turtle wanders off after a wee tiff and goes to another spot, but by now Snake has arrived and shares the rock with Armadillo. Turtle feels sad, even a little jealous, as is what happens to all friends from time to time. The ending is funny with the well-known wit and style we have come to expect from Klassen’s books.

The book deals with friendships, and imagination, and also fate, in his typical witty, dry sense of humour.

It is no wonder he is an award winning writer and illustrator. I love this.

Will you be my friend?

By Sam McBratney

Illustrated by Anita Jeram

ISBN 9781406351606

Walker Books

Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare are back. Reading this beautiful picture book is just like reconnecting with old friends. You know that feeling you get when you haven’t seen old friends in awhile but the minute you do, you just carry on as if no time has passed at all. That’s the feeling I got when I read this book. And like true friends, they haven’t changed at all. Both are the same wonderful hares that they were then, and are now.

With a bit of growing independence Little Nutbrown Hare goes off for a wander and exploration by himself. He discovers his own reflection and his shadow, but also something else, something very special. Little Nutbrown Hare discovers another Hare. A new friend to play with.

This is just as sweet and beautiful as when we first met the Nutbrown Hares and no doubt at all, this book will also become a classic. A perfect book to give to families with toddlers.

Anita Jeram’s illustrations are delightful, warm and just adorable.

Check out the trailer and then go get yourself a copy of this gorgeous book.

Rain before rainbows

By Smriti Halls

Illustrated by David Litchfield

ISBN 9781406382358

Walker Books

Rain before rainbows. Clouds before sun. Night before daybreak. A new day’s begun.

Simply put, this picture book is beautiful. A girl and a fox are friends and do everything together. They face the beauty of each day but also face worries together too. They discover that there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud. In order for flowers to grow, we need sunshine and rain. When meeting dragons, we need courage and good friends. When facing anything new in life, there is always hope. There is always balance and opportunities to find happiness.

The illustrations are stunning in their glorious, rich and shiny hues. In fact, if hope was a colour, it would be the beautiful colours on the pages of this gorgeous picture book.

Love it. Absolutely, love it.

Red Edge

By Des Hunt

ISBN 9781775436416

Scholastic NZ

 

Red Edge is a thoroughly good romp of a read. The characters are believable, flaws and all.  I particular loved the setting which is the edge of the Red Zone where once streets were full of houses, neighbourhoods and schools. Now the Red Zone is wide, empty open spaces after thousands of homes were demolished after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.  As someone who lived through the quakes and knows the streets, I got a wee buzz every time I recognised the streets Cassi was running through. Even the market and the airport were definitely recognisable so I had a sense of pride while reading this book. The effects of those earthquakes all these years later,  still impact on so many people’s lives. The trauma is real and we see the impact it still has in both Cassi and Quinn’s daily lives.

Twelve year old Cassi, has just moved house and school, yet again. She and her father have moved to the edge of the Red Zone, next door to what is locally known as the haunted house. Observing strange goings-on next door,  she sneaks onto the property to investigate but it’s not long before Cassi finds herself caught up in a dark and dangerous situation with criminals, who are very keen to keep their situation a secret.

Together, Cassi and Quinn, the boy across the road and her new-found friend, begin the dangerous adventure of trying to find out just what is happening in the house next door.

The story has a great pace, mystery, a quality story and great writing, which is just as one would expect from award-winning author Des Hunt. Like many of his novels, Hunt adds a scientific or environmental aspect which he does here as well. I love a good read but I also love a good read where I learn something new, as I did here, in Red Edge but I can’t tell you what as that might spoil the surprise. This really is one of those books to read and get lost inside.

This would be a great teacher read-aloud. It would also be great as a set novel for years 6 and up, especially when considering New Zealand writers and NZ settings. 

Tulip and Doug: Friends for (almost) ever

By Emma Wood

Illustrated by Carla Martell

ISBN 9781775435693

Friends come in all shapes and sizes but not too many come in the form of a potato. Tulip’s best friend is just that, a potato named Doug. They do everything together. Doug even has his own stroller and his own bed right next to Tulip’s bed.

Gorgeously illustrated, this sweet story about a one-of-a-kind friendship is just delightful.

I love the range of emotions we see with Tulip and even after a catastrophe we see hope and that is always a good outcome in children’s picture books.

 

 

The Kauri Family

By Suzy Cato and Arthur Baysting

Illustrated by Craig Fletcher

ISBN 9781775436119

 

What’s that there, can you see?

I wonder what that thing can be,

in the hole beneath the tree.

It’s part of the Kauri family.

The giant Kauri stands in the forest and we are introduced to all the wonderful New Zealand wildlife who depend on the tree. The animals might climb the tree, live inside or beside it, or they might shelter in its highest branches. The one thing they have in common is that the mighty Kauri protects them all.

And at night time, beneath the stars of Matariki the Kauri and its family unite.

Beautifully illustrated, this picture book gives readers a chance to search and find lots of wildlife on different pages throughout this very Kiwi book. This is just gorgeous and perfect for Matariki and for sending to family and friends overseas.

You can also download or stream the Kauri Family song in both English and Māori.

 

Friday the Rebel Dog

By Susan Brocker

Illustrated by Raymond McGrath

ISBN 9781775436102

 

As a child, I remember being told stories about the infamous sheep-stealer Mackenzie and his dog, so it is lovely to see a picture book about him for a new generation.

Based on truth this is a longer story than most picture books but it works well. Even though Mackenzie is a thief we can’t help but admire this man and his beloved dog Friday, who dutifully obeys his every word.

The illustrations have a very retro feel to them which suits the timeline of this historic story over 160 years ago.

If you are travelling through Mackenzie country in the South Island there is a statue of Mackenzie and his dog in the main street of Fairlie, which just goes to show how much impact this duo had on everyone, and still does to this very day.

A good old story of legendary merit to enjoy.

 

 

 

The someone new

By Jill Twiss

ISBN 9780062933744

HarperCollins

 

Making new friends can be difficult, but in this delightful picture book, the efforts to overcome fear are well worth it as new friends find each other.

This is a gentle story of acceptance; of new things, new people, new friends.

Jitterbug the chipmunk wakes up and can feel something in the air, something new. She goes investigating and along the way she learns new information, new words and eventually finds herself a new friend.

The illustrations are beautiful, all warm and cosy with a softness that will appeal to everyone. The story is set in the most natural setting with flowers, bush, rivers and many different animals and creatures. Personalities shine through the pages as much as the message of kindness itself. Love it.

Best quote “Because even though New can be scary, kindness is stronger than fear.” 

 

The Scarecrow

By Beth Ferry

Illustrated by the Fan Brothers

ISBN 9780062475763

HarperCollins

 

All the animals know not to mess with old Scarecrow. But when a small, scared crow falls from midair, Scarecrow does the strangest thing.…

He saves the tiny baby crow.

Soon a loving bond grows between the two unlikely friends. But is it strong enough to weather the changing of the seasons?

 

There is something magical about scarecrows. I have always secretly believed they are a little bit human, in that they each have their own personality and perhaps, when no one is watching, climb down from their posts and spring to life. I always thought there was something sad about them too. I have just ordered a copy of The Scarecrow for my school library but I can see I will probably be buying a second one for myself, as this just looks so beautiful. We need more feel-good stories for children, with subtle little messages that will leave them feeling happy, but also just a little more thoughtful.

I am a huge fan of the Fan Brothers and have a number of their books already. I love this trailer for its warmth, its quietness and beauty.  The illustrations are just gorgeous, and there is a softness that is so heart-warming.  Can’t wait for this to arrive. 

Click here for some activity sheets to accompany this picture book.

The Visitor

By Antje Damm

ISBN 9781776571888

Gecko Press

This is the second book from Antje Damm that I have had the pleasure to read. Waiting for Goliath was totally delightful and so is her new book  The Visitor will be published in July.

             Elise was frightened—of spiders, people, even trees. So she never went out,
             night or day.

            One day a strange thing flies in through the window and lands at her feet. And then there comes a knock at the        door. Elise has a visitor who will change everything.

This is a very special picture book about the beginning of a new friendship between an old lonely woman and a curious young boy.

The young boy Emil accidentally flies his dart inside the open window of Elise’s house. When he goes to collect it he finds Elise, a shy old woman who reluctantly lets him into her house. His curiosity and innocent questions are honest and realistic. I certainly found myself smiling as he looked at everything in her house and began asking lots of questions. Elise slowly begins to answer and it is not long before she finds herself opening up to him and a new friendship is formed.

Inside the house is dark, with lots of browns and shady colours but glimpses of bright light shine outside the windows. As they begin to feel comfortable with each other, the light, bit by bit, enters the house. Even Elise’s cheeks begin to glow. This is truly a delightful book to share with children of all ages.

The art work is a mix of diorama, card cut-outs, and photography with a focus on the use of colour. It is quite simply, a wonderful work of art and a story to treasure. There are so many older people out there who could all do with a little Emil in their lives.

See you when I see you

By Rose Lagercrantz

Illustrated by Eva Eriksson

ISBN 9781776571307

Gecko Press

 

Those who have read my previous reviews about Dani and her best friend Ella will know how much I love these books. The latest book is no exception. While part of a series each book can still be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone.

Dani lives alone with her dad as mum died when she was very young. It has always been the two of them but lately dad has Sadie, a nurse he met in hospital after he had an accident. The two have become very close and Dani feels a little lost and perhaps a little jealous. More so since her best friend Ella had to move away. A class trip to Skansen zoo goes wrong when Dani is separated from the rest of her class. However, a coincidence has Dani bump in to Ella who is also there on a class trip from her new school. Together, they have their own little adventure.

I love how trusting, innocent and real Dani is.  Her emotions are at times raw but real. She loves her best friend even when she disagrees with her. A book that deals with life, friendships, family and coming to terms with change. 

Delightfully illustrated by Eva Eriksson this book, like the others in the series, will be a hit for those newly independent readers reading their first chapter books. A sweet feel-good story to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does it feel to be a boat

By James Kwan

ISBN 9780544715332

HMH Kids

Through smooth and stormy seas

Sometimes being a boat is full of adventures and it’s nothing but smooth sailing on the high seas, but sometimes arguing passengers can take you off course. When you run aground, will their teamwork give you the strength to make it through? 

My school library has Dear Yeti  which is a delightful picture book from James Kwan so I just know this new one will be well worth adding to our collection. The trailer is kind of cool with James Kwan becoming part of the story and weaving his way through the pages of the book.  Aimed at younger readers but I suspect parents and grandparents will love this too.

I love this quote from the Kirkus review which certainly piques my interest as a message we want to encourage with our readers.

This poignant yet lighthearted affirmation asserts the uniqueness of each individual and reassures readers that while life is complex, sometimes messy, and even occasionally catastrophic, it is all part of the journey.