Book Review: Reflections, by Kelvin Cruickshank

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_reflections_cruikshank.jpgKelvin Cruickshank is better known to most of us from the television series Sensing Murder in which he features, along with others as a physic medium. This programme recreates events leading up to death through misadventure or suspicious circumstances.

Reflections is a collection of 365 inspirational and positive thoughts – one for each day of the year. Life has its challenges and with a positive outlook anything is possible.

There have been a number of similar books published over the years. One in my bookcase is Somebody Loves You by Helen Steiner Rice. They certainly have their place in life. I know I have referred to my copy of Helen’s book a number of times over the years.

Reflections is a lovely book to refer to in times of difficulty and for daily inspiration and would make a great gift for those difficult to buy for people.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Reflections
by Kelvin Cruickshank
Published by Penguin
9780143772309

 

 

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Book Review: The Holidays, by Blexbolex

Available in bookshops nationwide

cv_the_holidaysThe Holidays written and illustrated by Blexbolex is published by Gecko Press, who publish and translate children’s books from around the world. Blexbolex is a French comics artist and illustrator, living in Berlin.

This is a very unusual children’s book for one used to books with words! The story is set out and told entirely by illustrations.

The Summer holidays are nearly over and our protagonist had the whole place to themselves to explore until Grandpa came home with an elephant.  That event in itself changed the rest of the Summer holidays – making life a lot more interesting. But where could Grandpa possibly have gotten an elephant?  And where did it go at the end of the holidays? We have no idea.

This book encourages a child and perhaps a grown up to concoct a story to fit the pictures. This is a great way to encourage a child to use their imagination.

A charming book with beautifully crafted illustrations.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

The Holidays
by Blexbolex
Published by Gecko Press
ISBN 9781776571932

Book Review: A Way with Words – A Memoir of Writing & Publishing in New Zealand, by Chris MacLean

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_a_way_with_wordsChris MacLean is the author of some of our most successful non-fiction books. His foray into publishing came about in a roundabout way, though his family business was books – his mother being from the well-known Whitcombe family (of Whitcombe and Tombs fame).

In the 1950’s and 60’s New Zealand’s main publishers were A.H & A.A Reed and Whitcombe & Tombs. Improvements in technology changed how books were written – by hand to using typewriters, then computers. It was often a long and laborious process.  As technology progressed even further reproducing photos, drawings and paintings via scanning, made the process even easier.

Chris MacLean began his career as a writer in 1980 when as a designer of stained glass windows, he published a book in collaboration with his friend, historian Jock Phillips, called Stained Glass Windows in New Zealand Houses. This began a long publishing career.

I hadn’t realised until reading this book how many of Chris MacLean’s books that he went on to write and publish that I was familiar with – an interesting discovery.

A Way with Words lets the reader in on the extensive research and work that goes into writing and producing his wonderful non-fiction works.  From the biography of the climber and outdoor adventurer John Pascoe (I share the same family name) to the wonderful story  Tararau – The Story of a Mountain Range to Classic Tramping (I grew up tramping from an early age) and many more others.

For anybody interested in books, publishing or any of the subject matters Chris MacLean has written about, this book is a gem.  I loved it from the first chapter to the last.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

A Way with Words – A Memoir of Writing & Publishing in New Zealand
by Chris MacLean
Published by Potton & Burton
ISBN 9780947503604
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Book Review: Showtym Adventures: Dandy, the Mountain Pony, by Kelly Wilson

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_dandy_the_mountain_ponyThe Wilson Sisters, Vicki, Kelly and Amanda are well known in equestrian circles having also appeared on a television programme about capturing and training the wild Kaimanawas horses.

Dandy, The Mountain Pony is Vicki Wilson’s story. Vicki was nine years old when the owner of her lease pony Cardiff, decided to sell him. She was broken hearted but was realistic that her parents didn’t have the money to buy him.

A month after Cardiff had been sold Vicki was still without a pony. All the pony’s advertised for sale were far too expensive – her parents had managed to scrape together a couple of hundred dollars which was just not enough. Her parents surprised her one day with a visit to some wild ponies. There had been an advertisement in the local paper for a herd that runs wild on a mountain just fifteen minutes from where the Wilsons live. Vicki had always dreamed of taming wild horses. It appeared that perhaps her dream was about to come true.

The Welsh ponies had been bred on the mountain for generations but of recent years the lady and her family had been unable to keep up with training them so the herd was running wild with some of them never having been touched.

The Wilsons ended up buying three of the ponies. They had budgeted for $200 so at $50 each they could afford to buy all three, but with proviso that one be trained and then sold to offset the costs of feed and training.

Vicki starts training her pony Dandy. Gaining Dandy’s trust is the first hurdle she has to overcome. This proved to be a difficult and challenging project. After many months she is able to enter into competitions with him but not without a lot of challenges along the way.

I came to the conclusion after reading this book aloud to 6-year-old Abby that you don’t necessarily have to be a horsy person to enjoy it. Abby loved it asking lots of questions as I read it to her. There are lots of training tips at the back of this book for the serious owner.

The Wilson sisters also run Showtym Camps for young riders, which is hugely popular, helping them get the most from their ponies while having a lot of fun and adventures along the way.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Showtym Adventures: Dandy, the Mountain Pony
by Kelly Wilson
Published by Puffin
ISBN 9780143771494

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

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: Edmund Hillary – A Biography, by Michael Gill

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_edmind_hillary_a_biography.jpgAuthor Michael Gill was a long-time friend of Sir Edmund Hillary’s. He accompanied him for over 50 years on many expedition, and was heavily involved in the Himalayan Trust, building schools and hospitals. The Hillary family gave Gill access to private papers and photos and others that had been donated by the family to the Auckland Museum, which enabled Gill to write probably the most in-depth book ever written about one of our national heroes.

This book looks at Sir Ed’s early life and how he became interested in climbing, telling the stories of his numerous attempts at Everest. Excerpts from letters that Sir Ed wrote have been included in this book, tying in the events surrounding them.

I have long been a fan of Sir Ed and have read every book he ever wrote and watched every television and film documentary made about his exploits over many years. He was my hero right through childhood and into adulthood. His feats to me were astounding.  As somebody who is experienced in outdoor adventures, one of the things that stood out to me was the equipment they carried on the early expeditions, and how far outdoor clothing and equipment has come over the years.

Edmund Hillary was not only a climber of Everest, he was an adventurer, a close friend of many, a son, a brother, a husband and a father to his 3 children. The tragedy of his wife Louise and his youngest daughter Belinda dying in a light air craft accident was an event that shocked the nation and the world. His wife Louise had been his rock and the love of his life for 22 years. The shock of her death sent Sir Ed spiralling into deep depression from which he eventually emerges, some years later marrying Peter Mulgrew’s widow, June. Peter Mulgrew was on the Erebus flight alongside others on that ill-fated flight.  Ed and Louise and Peter and June had been lifetime friends.

I was in my happy place reading this book. It is a fabulous book with many wonderful photos and stories never before published,of expeditions Sir Ed was involved in.  He had a very rich and exciting life that only some of us can dream about .

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Edmund Hillary – A Biography
by Michael Gill
Published by Potton & Burton
ISBN  9780947503383