Book Review: I need a New Bum and other stories, by Dawn McMillan & Ross Kinnaird

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_i_need_a_new_bumI need a New Bum is a much-loved story by New Zealand author Dawn McMillan and illustrated by the great Ross Kinnaird.

I am ashamed to say I haven’t had the pleasure before now of reading this to grandchildren. I was pretty excited to have this recently published book in my hot little hands.

For those of you who don’t know I need a New Bum, what a treat is in store for you. This little boy has discovered he needs a new bum, as he thinks he has damaged his. He’s got a crack in it – he saw it in a mirror. He tries to figure out how he did it, and so the story carries on. It’s a hilarious story that will totally appeal to any small child – up to the age of 5 or even 6 years old, I would think.

I read this to Quinn 3 ½ years old. She loved it but then she is at an age where anything to do with bums and poo and farts is excellent.

The rest of the stories will also enthral small children. Seagull Sid and the naughty things his seagulls did! Incredibly funny story with his mates getting their own back on people so that they could scare them away and get on with eating their chips.

Then there is Doggy Doo on my shoe. We all know what that smell is like and how it’s a case of trying to work out where the awful smell is coming from and who is responsible.

A fabulous book and with Christmas shortly upon us a great book to pop in a small person’s Christmas parcel.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

I need a New Bum and other stories
by Dawn McMillan
Illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
Published by Oratia Media
ISBN 9780947506322

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Book Review: Father Christmas’s Fake Beard, by Terry Pratchett

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_father_christmass_fake_beard.jpgFather Christmas’s Fake Beard is an hilarious story made up of emails or memos within Arnco Supersaver Store from various departmental heads regarding the employment of a Mr Nichols. Apparently Mr Nichols is from the north of Lapland and as a Equal Opportunities Employer they were not going to discriminate against someone from Lapland. He will provide his own costume and will not require false whiskers.

Father Christmas takes upon himself to let the children that come to Father Christmas’s grotto “help themselves” from the selection of gifts, and he offers children the chance to ask for different toys. Reindeer droppings appear overnight which in itself is suspicious, as all of the reindeer are made of plastic. Stuff goes missing from the DIY section, and the temperature in the toy department mysteriously seems to be very cold. And what could possibly see an employee need to leave early on Christmas Eve as he has another “job” to go to?

Ten other stories are included in this book. These stories are amazingly wonderful, for either a read-alone or a book for sharing with a younger child. The stories have titles such as The Blackbury Pie,  Judgement Day or Father Christmas, The Abominable Snow-baby, The Twelve Gifts of Christmas (another version of the twelve days of Christmas – I like this one better!)

I’m keeping this aside for 6 ½ year old granddaughter Abby for Christmas. She can read but doesn’t read my reviews – YET!!! She’s going to love it.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Father Christmas’s Fake Beard
by Terry Pratchett
Published by Doubleday
9780857535504

Book Review: It’s My Egg (and you can’t have it!), by Heather Hunt and Kennedy Warne

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_its_my_egg.jpgFrom the very first picture on the cover of this lovely new picture book, you are left in no doubt as to the hero of our story. It’s my egg (and you can’t have it!) is the tale of one brave kiwi’s fight to protect his unborn chick from all manner of two and four-legged predators in the bush.

I had the perfect audience to test out this new New Zealand picture book: my visiting 5-year-old Australian niece who knew little about the threats facing our native bird. The book led to a lot of questions and a very educational discussion with other visiting relatives whose dog had recently graduated from kiwi-aversion training.

It is clear that a great deal of thought and care has gone into the design of this book. Kennedy Warne’s bright white prose stands out beautifully on the moodily dark pages. Heather Hunt’s bright colourful (“neon” piped up my nine year old) illustrations of the dangerous predators contrast starkly with the dark background and the softer colours of our protective kiwi dad. The scratchy sketchy style of the drawings gives extra menace and edge to the stoat with his viciously sharp teeth. The five year old squealed with glee as the stoat met his sudden demise. (More sensitively-minded children might require some extra explanation about trapping and its benefits.)

This book will be a fantastic resource for early childhood education centres and families wishing to educate their young ones about the risks to and resilience of our wonderful kiwi.

Reviewed by Tiffany Matsis

it’s my egg (and you can’t have it!)
by Heather Hunt and Kennedy Warne
Published by Potton & Burton
ISBN 9780947503567

Book Review: Book of Dust Vol 1: La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_book_of_dust_la_belle_sauvage.jpgIn 1995, Philip Pullman’s novel, Northern Lights (aka The Golden Compass) was released. The trilogy that followed has won numerous awards, including the Carnegie Medal and Whitbread Book of the Year, as well as spawning a (rather disappointing) movie, and capturing the hearts and imagination of thousands of older children, teenagers, and adults alike. It took us to an alternate universe, where every human has their daemon – an animal companion that is an extension of your soul made flesh. Whilst a child, daemons are fluid shape-shifters, but once matured, they settle into the form that most truly reflects their human’s personality.

Now, 17 years after the release of the final book, Pullman invites us back into Lyra’s Oxford, and once more immerses us into her world. There is an aspect of an origin story here, with Lyra being a baby, on her journey to Jordan College. Our hero is Malcolm Polstead – an eleven-year-old who works in his parents’ inn. When he hears world that the local Priory of St Rosamund has taken into their charge a baby, his interest is immediately kindled. Meanwhile, the appearance of imposing and frightening outsiders within their small village is causing conflict and fear. Children are encouraged to spy on their parents, and it is difficult to know whom to trust.

Everything draws to a dramatic climax when a terrible flood strikes the village, and Malcolm is cast adrift, in the company of Alice, an older, outspoken girl with whom he has a strained relationship, and with little Lyra in their care. They flee across the country, facing a series of challenges: some natural, some supernatural, all the while being pursued by a charismatic scientist and his foul daemon.

With elements of fable, La Belle Sauvage is a spell-binding return to a world we can never forget, with a new cast of characters – and a foul villain – whilst many familiar faces, and hints at what the future will bring. Whilst one can read it independent of His Dark Materials, I believe the events will hold a greater gravitas if one has already enjoyed that series.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

Book of Dust Vol 1: La Belle Sauvage
by Philip Pullman
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN 9780857561084

 

Book Review: The Scariest Thing in the Garden, by Craig Smith, illustrated by Scott Tulloch

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_the_scariest_thing_in_the_gardenBig scary eyes stare out of the cover of the latest book created by Craig Smith and Scott Tulloch as the pair take children on a journey around the garden to find The Scariest Thing in the Garden.

The opening pages show a very scared Brussels sprout! What scared the Brussels sprout?
The simple repetitive lyrics build up the suspense in the read aloud book as the children meet an aphid, a spider, a ladybird, a bird, a cat, a dog, and a child.
Nothing has scared the child. Or has it?

Kids will love the surprise twist in the tale at the end of the book.

The author of the number one best seller The Wonkey Donkey, Craig Smith lives in Queenstown and performs around New Zealand and Australia, and says ‘There’s something about eating food that you have grown or made yourself that is very special.’

The book includes a CD which children will love as Craig sings his way through the book accompanied by his guitar, and children screaming in the appropriate places.

Scott Tulloch is based in Wanaka and has illustrated numerous Scholastic titles creating wacky cartoons, but also enjoys illustrating realistic wildlife. ‘I was too scared to paint a real-looking spider at first. but the publishing team at Scholastic told me I had to.’

The drawings are delightful, with big eyes staring out from all the animals, and children will love hearing this book over and over.

Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh

The Scariest Thing in the Garden
by Craig Smith, illustrated by Scott Tulloch
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775435051

Book Review: Reena’s Rainbow, by Dee White and Tracie Greenwood

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_reenas_rainbowReena’s mother hits the nail on the head when she tells her: ‘We are like the colours of the rainbow. We are all different. But when we stand together, we are one’.

For Reena, her difference is that she cannot hear. Most of the time this doesn’t matter – she plays with lots of kids and is the best at finding the others when they play hide and seek. Although deaf, she sees and notices the little things the others miss: ‘she saw the leaves shimmer and dance in the breeze.’

Sometimes, though, her difference makes her feel left out and alone. Mum offers words of comfort but Reena still feels ‘periwinkle blue’ – a colour that doesn’t belong in the rainbow.

Kind-hearted and recognising that he needs a friend, she makes friends with the scruffy brown dog hiding in the shadows. Thanks to Reena and Dog’s sharp eyes and quick action, an accident is avoided. Dog is hurt and in helping him, Reena sees how he fits perfectly into her life ‘at the end of her bed, in the space under her chair, on the park bench next to her.’ Now sporting a cute rainbow collar, Dog becomes her best friend who helps her when she needs to hear; like when her friends are calling her to join their game.

Filled with engaging and colour filled illustrations, Reena’s Rainbow brings an important message of kindness, understanding and inclusiveness. It highlights the need to think of other’s needs to ensure all can participate in their own way, and helps show that everyone has individual strengths and differences that are valuable and are to be celebrated.

Dee White and Tracie Grimshaw have created a heart-warming tale of friendship which encourages empathy in a way that will appeal to young readers. It can open up conversations about diversity and acceptance; encouraging us to look past differences to really see the unique individual. This kindness and acceptance is beautifully portrayed in the last illustration – the group of children under a rainbow, learning sign language with Reena.

Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen

Reena’s Rainbow
by Dee White and Tracie Greenwood
EK Books, 2017
ISBN: 9781925335491

 

Book Review: The Tallest Truck Gets Stuck by Pat Chapman, illustrated by Richard Hoit

cv_The_tallest_Truck_gets_stuckAvailable in bookshops nationwide.

Bendy Wendy is a clever forklift.
Mr Grumpy is a great big forklift.
Little Pallet Jack is a scooter dude.
Turret Truck is the tallest truck in the world.’

The warehouse is busy and there is a lot for the forklifts to do, but the Turret Truck’s wheels come off his track. He’s stuck! However, Bendy Wendy and Little Pallet Jack are quick to the rescue!

A wonderful book for group discussion and interaction on topics such as feeling sad, feeling happy and helping others as the smaller forklifts work to help Bendy Wendy back on his tracks. And of course Bendy Wendy remembers to thank the smaller forklifts.

I loved this book, the smiling faces on the cover are very inviting and will be loved by children. It is a simple story but will appeal to young children as they are always busy but when something goes wrong they want it fixed immediately just as Bendy Wendy needed help quickly.

Pat Chapman’s latest book will appeal to many children especially those who love machinery and those who see forklifts around the shops they visit. Most suitable for those aged between two and four years there is no doubting it is created by New Zealanders with the illustrations featuring a kiwi, lizard, jandal and koru. She has worked with the illustrator Tauranga artist Richard Hoit previously, to create ‘Tis the Month Before Christmas, the True Story of Santa.

Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh

The Tallest Truck Gets Stuck
by Pat Chapman, illustrated by Richard Hoit
Published by Upstart Press
ISBN 9781927262405