Posts Tagged ‘Swapna Haddow’

Bad Panda

By Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

ISBN 9780571352418

Faber UK

Drum roll please! Dah dah dah dum!

Welcome to the Bad Panda blog tour. This is just the start of your journey. There are other blogs to follow with lots happening, including prizes. See the guide at the end of this post for tour dates.

One of the things that makes a children’s book successful, is the collaboration between author and illustrator. The team of Swapna and Sheena, works perfectly. They obviously understand each other and it shows, as the words and pictures compliment each other beautifully, and they deservedly win awards for their hard work.

Bad Panda is their latest book and is the first one in a new series.

Lin is just the cutest of all pandas. So cute in fact, that she is taken away from her family and friends and shipped off to a zoo where people can stare at her, take photos, and ooh and ahh over her. But Lin doesn’t want to be oohed over. Lin wants to go home and be with her brother, Face-Like-A-Bag-Of-Potatoes. On board the ship Lin is kept in a cage and it is there she meets Fu, another panda, also in a cage and being shipped off to the same zoo. They soon become friends.

Lin doesn’t want to be at the zoo so she begins to plot a way to to get back home but it requires her to give up her cuteness and become Bad Panda. Lin wants to become the baddest, meanest, most un-cute animal in the zoo… because if she is really bad, surely the zoo keepers will send her home.

When Lin growls at the pigeons people just take more photos because they think she is so cute. Of course, this only makes Lin angrier and more determined to be the baddest panda ever. More plotting required.

There is so much humour as Lin and Fu try to come up with different ways to be bad. Swapna is no stranger to humour. Her Dave the Pigeon books are full of moments to laugh out loud, and Lin and Fu are just as funny. Swapna makes writing humour look so easy. The jokes flow; some tongue-in-cheek, some ironic, but always the humour flows effortlessly and leaves the reader laughing.

Sheena Dempsey adds so much to the humour with her very funny illustrations. They are deceptively simple, mostly pink and black, but look at the eyes. There is so much character, personality and humour in the eyes of the animals. Her pictures of Lin growling are just delightful, as are all the rest throughout this early chapter book.

As in all good stories there is a villain, and here it is King Cobra, a snake with death-glare stares and mean intentions.

Short chapters and heaps of illustrations make this an ideal chapter book for new and independent readers. It is also an excellent book to read aloud.

Friends are important in all of Swapna’s books. Whichever book of hers you read, and there are many, friends always have a way of making things right. They also make things wrong, which is part of the humour, but eventually friends make all the difference.

Swapna Haddow and her family moved to New Zealand in 2018. That is not so long ago, but already she is very well established in the writing world up and down the country and is in much demand for school visits, particularly at Book Fair time.

I asked Swapna about the hunourous books she liked as a child and she told me she enjoyed anything by Roald Dahl. She said the “dark humour really appealed to me”.

If you click the link above you can go to Swapna’s website and follow the links to lots of free downloadable activities. Puzzles and things to draw. Great to do right now while New Zealand is in Lockdown.

Check out the video clip below and hear as Swapna reads the first chapter of her book. After the reading, you can watch Sheena demonstrate how to draw your own picture of Lin. I can’t even draw a straight line, but with Sheena’s video and instructions I did manage to draw something a little bit resembling Lin. Give it a go.

Do check out Zac and his blog on September the 6th (he is next on the blog tour) details below, as he has a book giveaway competition.

Thanks for being part of the Bad Panda blog tour. It’s a funny read and you won’t be disappointed.

My Dad is a Grizzly Bear

By Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Dapo Adeola

ISBN 97815529013979

Macmillan Children’s Books

Imagination is everything to children. A wild imagination helps children play games, get through difficult days, connect and communicate with other children. Imagination is key to this new picture book.

In Swapna Haddow’s latest book, a young boy’s imagination centres on his father as a grizzly bear.

Grizzly Bear Dad is a bit of a pain when eats all the honey, or when he wakes up all grumpy and stomps around. He is an embarrassment when he sleeps in the cinema or sings louder than everyone else at a party. The grizzly bear is useful though, especially when he is trying to catch up with the school bus because the children are running late.

This is a funny picture which children will relate to very well. They will see themselves and their own families in the pages of this story, especially when the family go camping. If dad is a grizzly bear, watch out for mum!

The cover of the book is bold and eye-catching. I love that the illustrations throughout the book highlight the fact that this story has a real family focus.

A fun story to share and read over and over. It is also a good one to watch out for Father’s Day later this year.

Ballet Bunnies

By Swapna Reddy

Illustrated by Binny Talib

Oxford University Press

Millie loves dancing and is so excited to begin ballet classes. Unfortunately things don’t go quite as smoothly as she hopes and one girl in the class makes it difficult for her. Her confidence plummets and before the end of the day Millie wants to give up.

It is then that she meets four little ballet bunnies who make all the difference. Her new bunny friends are a secret but they offer her the best advice and that is just what Millie needs.

Throughout the series Millie confronts her fears and lack of confidence with the help of her bunny friends; Dolly, Fifi, Pod and Trixie. They encourage Millie to dance, try new things, even learning how to take deep breaths to help her keep calm, especially when there is a bit of bullying going on. They happily and willingly offer their helping paws.

Short chapters, decent sized font and gorgeous illustrations make this series ideal for newly independent readers. As first chapter books go, this is going to be a hit with many girls I know in my school library. Lots of pinks and purples, and bright glittery covers make this a series that will be read again and again.

A sweet feel-good series in time for Christmas and all that holiday reading, especially for those that like dancing, just like Millie and the bunnies.

Check out the ballet step illustrations at the back of the book. In Millie’s Birthday, there are instructions to make your own bunny ears.

Swapna Reddy also writes under the name Swapna Haddow and writes the wonderful Dave the Pigeon series.

My personal thanks to Swapna.

I spent a wonderful hour in the warmth of Turanga  Library today, with a group of excited  children (and many adults too) being entertained by the very funny and equally lovely, Swapna Haddow.

Swapna is the author of the Dave Pigeon books which I have thoroughly enjoyed. They are all about pigeons, in particular, Dave and his best mate ,Skipper. Her books are illustrated by the very talented Sheena Dempsey Skipper is the sensible one who tries to keep Dave out of trouble. It doesn’t always work out that way but that is perfect because that leads to mischief and often a bit of mayhem, which keep readers entertained.

Swapna told us how she spends her day writing, coming up with ideas and even that perhaps from time to time, like many writers, she might have to fib. All very funny and innocent and a great way to finish the first week of the school holidays. Listening to her reading out her book was delightful, especially the humour in the stories and the voices and accents she uses.

You can check out her books and more about Swapna and of course, Dave and Skipper on her website here.

Apologies for the grainy shots. I was at the back and my zoom isn’t too good on my phone. Hopefully I will get to have another chance to be entertained by Swapna again soon.

 

 

Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!)

By Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

ISBN 9780571336982

Faber & Faber

Dave, the sling-wearing pigeon and his best friend Skipper, are back for another laugh-out-loud adventure. This time the two of them find themselves caught up with royalty, as in the royal pigeons, impersonation, a coup, or is that a coo? Skipper constantly tries to keep the peace and be the sensible one but Dave somehow always ends up with “catbrained” plans that go disastrously wrong for them both. This time, while impersonating certain other pigeons at the Human Palace, they overhear plans that could be dangerous for all involved.

Together, they’re like a comedy duo. The are funny, yet seriously wise, argumentative, yet  caring but always, most importantly, supportive of each other. You can’t help but warm to them and their antics. This is book four in the series and just as funny as the first three.

The illustrations continue to make me smile. You can see their personalities shine through the drawings. You can see their expressions; anger, annoyance, wisdom, caring and so much more, through the delightfully comical illustrations. Swapna Haddow and Sheena Demspey make these books very special and perfect for first chapter books.

If you are in Christchurch for the school holidays then why not pop along to Turanga and meet Swapna yourself as part of the Kidsfest festival 2019. I sure hope to pop in and meet her myself.

Kidfest Swapna Haddow

 

Dave Pigeon

By Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

ISBN 97805713233302

Faber and Faber

Dave Pigeon is a series of first chapter books for newly independent readers and those who just love a good funny story. Dave is as you imagine rightly, a pigeon and so is his best mate Skipper. They demonstrate many good qualities; kindness, teamwork, friendship, and resourcefulness. They also demonstrate rather hilariously, deviousness and cunning. A disastrous encounter with Mean Cat results in a a broken wing for Dave and a surprise rescue by Mean Cat’s human owner. In order to stay safe and enjoy their new home with the human, they need to get rid of her cat. Their plans are very funny but not exactly successful but that is what makes this book a delight. This would also make a great read-aloud especially in junior classes. I love how hopeful and determined the pigeons are in trying to get what they want.

The books are illustrated with quirky drawings on almost every page which adds to the appeal and success of these award winning books for ages 5 – 8.

I am also delighted with the fact that the author has moved from the UK to my home city in New Zealand.

Check out some of the other books in the series for more hilarious antics and adventures.

Dave Pigeon (Nuggets!)

ISBN 9780571324439

 

 

Dave Pigeon (Racer!)

ISBN 9780571336906Dave Pigeon (Racer!)