Posts Tagged ‘Melinda Syzmanik’

Batkiwi

By Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

ISBN 9781775437116

Scholastic NZ

Melinda Syzmanik’s latest picture book, Batkiwi, is just delightful. A heartwarming picture book about teamwork, even if that team is made up of just two members.

Kiwi loves helping his fellow forest creatures and friends. Whenever one of them needs help, he gets his legs running as fast as he can, but it is just not quite fast enough. Feeling sad about not being able to help, he carries thoughts with him that he just can’t be a hero. One night, when feeling extra sad, and hiding in a dark cave, Kiwi hears a voice. The friendly voice of a Bat, offering the best advice, that together they can help in emergencies. Together, Bat and kiwi can be heroes. Batkiwi “A dynamic duo.”

This picture book is supercool. The illustrations totally fit the story. This is a wonderful, visual introduction to New Zealand’s wildlife with colourful pictures of kunekune, ruru, weta, skink, and many others.

It is lovely to see a Te Reo Maori edition also available.

Sharing with wolf

By Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson

ISBN 9781775435723

Scholastic NZ

Room for rent.

That’s the sign wolf puts up on his door. It’s just too expensive to live alone.

Lamb arrives with a long list of references and a need for a place to live. Are they going to be compatible? Will Wolf give into to Lamb’s constant pleas to move in to Wolf’s house? Will Lamb find a new home?

Author Melinda Szmanik has written many picture books. Some, like The Song of the Kauri are serious and others like Sharing the Wolf are funny. In this case, wickedly funny.

Before I even had a chance to read this book myself, a couple of teachers grabbed the book from my pile and read it during lunch. They promptly put in requests to share it with their classes. Their laughter and reluctance to hand the book back to me told me everything I needed to know.

Nikki Slade Robinson’s illustrations are wonderful. There is a simplicity to them that is just delightful. The ending of the story is not exactly clear but that’s the point.  Nikki  does however, leave clues throughout the pages for readers to find and come to their own conclusions.

This is certainly a book that will do very well as a read-aloud and generate lots of laughter.

If you are in or near Christchurch on 27th September do come and listen to these award winning authors and illustrators talk about their children’s war books. Wonderfully told and researched, beautifully illustrated this is a night not to miss.

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Fuzzy Doodle

By Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by Donovan Bixley

ISBN 9781775432500

Scholastic NZ

 

fuzzy

This gorgeous book arrived at school today and the first thing one of the teachers said when I showed it to her was “it’s beautiful” and I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve read it a number of times now and see something different every time. I know I have to return this to school tomorrow so I am going to have to get my own copy when it comes out in a few weeks as it is one to keep.

It is a beautifully produced hardback, portrait size, sophisticated picture book. It is all about the creative process with the clever metaphor of a caterpillar’s life-cycle. And we all know what a caterpillar turns in to.

Fuzzy begins as a scribble and starts eating his way through inky bits and then words and then soon he is eating paragraphs. From paragraphs, stories grow and I won’t ruin the ending nor the metamorphosis of Fuzzy, except to say it is beautiful. Donovan Bixley’s illustrations are delightful. His charcoal and ink illustrations are more abstract that what we normally see in his work but these are perfect for Melinda’s story. As Fuzzy evolves, so does the page and so too, the black smudges to glorious colour.

The whole process of writing, beginning with the germ of an idea and the smudge on the page, to the final outcome is demonstrated with some wonderful poetic devices which children will love. My favourite is always alliteration.

“Then that parcel, it changed colour, creaked and cracked till it broke open…”

This is perfect and not just for schools or young readers, but would be a wonderful gift to writer friends you know or older students who love writing. It is simply, inspiring and makes you want to create your own scribbles and turn them into something beautiful.

Teacher notes can be found here. Well worth using to extend students use of this wonderful book.