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: 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

Book Review: 1-2-3 Bird!, by Dave Gunson

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_123_birdAt the moment, we are so lucky to have many children’s books that tell our stories, sights and sounds of Aotearoa New Zealand.  This book is another much-loved addition to our book shelf that is proudly kiwi.

The focus, of course, is birds, as each number shares a new bird. What makes this book different is it doesn’t just focus on native birds (which we do not see everyday).  Instead, it includes the birds our children see in our backyard, at the beach or at the park too.  It makes the book really relatable – especially with the illustrations which include smart phones and other objects which clearly represent the world our children live in.

The text is simple and short, written in rhyme and moves quickly along.  This allows the readers to talk about the illustrations which contain so many prompts for conversation and discovery.  It is a picture book that allows the pictures to tell the story.  We love the emotion and scenes of what the birds get up to!

At the end of the book, the reader is encouraged to head back into the story to look for extra characters hidden in the pages.  This is a great extension for older children to explore further the numbers within the book.  This story can be revisited over and over again by readers of all ages.

Reviewed by Sara Croft, ECE Teacher

1-2-3 Bird!
by Dave Gunson
Reviewed by Scholastic NZ
9781775433941

Book Review: The Ugly Kiwi, by Scott Tulloch

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_The_ugly_kiwiA delightful retelling of the classic The Ugly Duckling using New Zealand characters and drama.

A kiwi egg hatches in a duck nest, and out pops a bird which doesn’t look like, sound like or act like the other baby birds.  A cat appears and drama begins as the feline foe catches a tui … but, of course, our hero – the kiwi – saves the day.

The text is full of descriptive language, a rich treasure trove of words to extend children’s vocabulary and explore creative storytelling.  However, children can still confidently follow the story with the rhyming melodies of the text.  There are lots of opportunities to slow down and predict what might happen next.

The story is beautifully accompanied by watercolour illustrations.  The pages are not cluttered with background, and focus on the key elements of the story.  They clearly convey movement, emotion and anticipation as the plot thickens.

We also love how the author has been true to how birds react.  As a teacher it is hard to find picture books that share scientific knowledge with children within a narrative tale.  However, in The Ugly Kiwi, our hero uses her claws to kick away the predator.  It will be used when we are exploring kiwi to provoke conversations about predators and protection.

The story weaves in the moral of being true to who you are under your feathers in this refreshing spin on a classic tale.

Reviewed by Sara Croft

The Ugly Kiwi
by Scott Tulloch
Published by David Bateman Ltd
ISBN 9781869539764

Book Review: Watch out for the Weka, by Ned Barraud

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_watch_out_for_the_wekaWatch Out for the Weka is the latest superb children’s book from independent publisher Potton & Burton, adding to their list of high quality, informative books which highlight New Zealand’s many natural treasures. Although primarily an entertaining story based on a campfire yarn heard by the author back in the day, there are plenty of details within it that tell you a bit about our cheeky weka – for instance, I had no idea they liked to steal shiny things!

Set in the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park, the illustrations showcase the colours and textures of the New Zealand bush and coastline. The story features Alf, a DOC ranger who spends his summers looking after the tramping hut and visiting trampers. While cooling off in the stream, a weka takes off with the watch his dad gave him. Alf leaps out of the water giving chase but to no avail (cue lots of giggles at that particular illustration). Later that evening, the moonlight on the water gives Alf an idea of how to get his watch back.

Author Ned Barraud spent many childhood summers camping in the Abel Tasman National Park and his love of it is evident in this book. Many young New Zealanders don’t get the opportunity to encounter the weka (or other native birds for that matter) in its natural habitat which makes books such as these so important, as they help bring children closer to their environment, and an understanding of the unique flora and fauna which they share the country with.

The text is well balanced with the illustrations and reads well. Coupled with some weka facts at the end, the book would make a great resource to add to any classroom. Potton & Burton seek to share stories that ‘inspire and matter’, and with Watch Out for the Weka, I would say they and Barraud have got it spot on.

Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen

Watch Out for the Weka
by Ned Barraud
Potton & Burton, 2017
ISBN: 978091450354

 

Book Review: Grace and Katie, by Suzanne Merritt and Liz Anelli

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_grace_and_katieGreat picture books have either a wonderful story and illustrations, or a profound message. The very best picture books manage to do both and Grace and Katie falls easily into this category.

Grace and Katie are sisters with totally different perspectives on art. While Grace enjoys using straight lines and order, Katie prefers colour and creativity. When they both decide to draw a picture of their home and the local park, the results are very different. The final results are not quite as satisfying as they would like. By sharing their skills and working together they create an artwork which combines accuracy with creativity.

Susanne Merritt is a passionate advocate for children’s literacy and as a Mum of 3 she has plenty of experience with the differences between siblings. Combined with the bright illustrations and detail of Liz Anelli, this book is a treasure.

I teach tolerance and difference to a Year 11 class, and asked if they would like me to read to them. They willingly sat on the mat as I shared Grace and Katie. The following discussion was wonderful as they picked up on the visual clues in the pictures. We talked about stereotyping and working with others. One girl explained that it could have been about her own experience as she was the creative one with a very orderly sister. This led to a sharing about gender stereotypes and the importance of being ourselves.

As a teacher, I see this as a great resource for starting discussions from pre-school level up. It is also a really lovely book to read and enjoy for the satisfying story, the wonderful pictures and the happy ending.

Reviewed by Kathy Watson

Grace and Katie
by Suzanne Merritt and Liz Anelli
Published by EK Books
ISBN 9781925335545