Book Review: Stink-o-saurus by Deano Yipadee, illustrated Paul Beavis

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_stink_o_saurusI got rather excited when ripping open this package. Stink-o-saurus is another wonderful book from this great team – Deano Yipidee and Paul Beavis. Our 3-year-old granddaughter Quinn’s great favourite is one of their previous books – Nee Naw the Little Fire Engine. She chucks it at her Mothers and says “read it”.

All 3-year olds love toilet humour so this was bound to be a winner.

“Stan was a rare dinosaur,
a one of a kind.
Most roared from their front,
his roar came from his behind.”

Nobody wanted to play with poor Stan, but one day Tommy T-Rex thumped into town. Stan was just as scared as everybody else but from somewhere came courage.

This is a stunning story with beautiful illustrations from Paul Beavis. I think what appeals to children with this story is the constant sounds made by the story teller and how Stan reacts – funny stuff and very appealing to 3-year-old Quinn. Her eyes lit up with amazement when Stan shook in his boots and “farted”. Quinn is also known for her smelly ones.

One little girl gave this book the thumbs up – so one book that won’t be coming home with me. The real bonus with this book is that it also comes with a CD – “play it again Grandma”

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Stink-o-saurus
by Deano Yipadee
illustrated Paul Beavis
Published by Scholastic
ISBN 9781775434733

Book Review: Dinosaur Hunting, by Lucy Davey, illustrated by Kirsten Richards

Available in bookshops nationwide.Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_dinosaur_huntingDown to the garden, tiptoe tracking. Dinosaur hunting, Daddy and me. Following footprints, twigs snap-cracking – which kinds of dinosaurs can we see?

A number of types it seems – Stegosaurus, Shamosaurus, Segisaurus, Ammosaurus, Spinosaurus, Supersaurus………. to name a few whether real or imagined. But wait T-REX! Romp-stomp, romp-stomp, “Rrraaaaaah”…….CHOMP!

Quinn is 2 years of age, and her eyes nearly popped out of her head. The excitement builds as this little boy and his Dad explore the outdoors with his T-REX firmly clutched in his hand or snuggly tucked in his rucksack.

At the end of the adventure there is nothing quite like home and being safe inside while planning to do the same again tomorrow, perhaps. Romp-stomp, romp-stomp, “Rrraaaaaah….” CHOMP!

Brightly coloured illustrations with simple text appealed to my little listener with her insisting on it being read – “AGAIN, GRANDMA!”

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Dinosaur Hunting
by Lucy Davey, illustrated by Kirsten Richards
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775433958

Book Review: My Grandpa is a Dinosaur, by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones

Available now at bookshops nationwide.

cv_my_grandpa_is_a_dinosaurI was delighted to see that Penguin Random House NZ has picked up two of the most talented comic artists in New Zealand, for My Grandpa is a Dinosaur. Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones have published several children’s books over the last few years, through their own publishing imprint, Square Planet Comics. Each of their books can be trusted to have a wry comic undertone running alongside a great imagination-fuelled story that kids really enjoy.

My Grandpa is a Dinosaur has a fairly self-explanatory premise. Our little heroine Wanda seems to be the only person in her family who has noticed though. Well, she and the paleontologists, who are always following him for footprints. She stands up at the front of the class to tell her class about this oddity, and while her classmates are quite happy to cast their own grandpas as highwaymen and robots, they are certainly not letting her get away with that one.

My son Dan keenly followed the story, wondering why it was that nobody seemed to believe Wanda that her grandpa was a dinosaur, when he so self-evidently was. I mean, he had to have a special car seat on top of the car, for crying out loud. And he was green!

She tried to tell her friend
– See, he has a tail!
But her friend didn’t believe her
– Horses have tails, that doesn’t make horses dinosaurs.

The story is told in a one-frame-per-page comic style, with exposition at the bottom of the frames, and speech bubbles telling the story. The illustrations are caricature-like, and grandpa towers over the rest of them in all his dino-glory.

Wanda figures out she should just go to the source, and sure enough, Grandpa has been wondering when somebody would notice.

A brilliant message, and a brilliantly well-executed book. And most importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun. I recommend it for 3 – 8 year olds, as it goes through to the sophisticated picture book audience as well, thanks to the two-track humour. I hope to see Penguin stretching their boundaries even further in the future.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

My Grandpa is a Dinosaur
by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones
Published by Puffin
ISBN 9780143507192

Book Reviews: What Dog Knows, by Sylvia Vanden Heede, illustrated by Marije Tolman

Available in bookshops nationwide from 8 April.

cv_what_dog_knowsWolf and dog are the quintessential close cousins, and this is their second story, after Wolf and Dog (Gecko Press, 2013). Dog is the smart one, who knows things because he reads books – Wolf isn’t so smart, he’s more of an action-before-investigation type wolf. When talk turns to books, he starts to rhyme:

Look it up in a book?
That’s how people learn to cook!

But Wolf relies on Dog to tell him about things and help him with his plans (and to chase away Cat); while Dog bears with Wolf because, well:
His cousin needs him! Has his house collapsed? Did a tree fall on the roof? Is the forest on fire? Or did Cat come? It’s all the same to Dog. He’d go through fire for his cousin! 

This book is the first I have seen using such an engaging mix of rich, funny character-driven dialogue, and fact-driven (yet still funny) informational sections, to teach kids all about things in the world around them. There are four distinct sections: Mummies and skeletons (watch out Cat!), Robots, knights and pirates, Dinosaurs and dragons, and Rockets and the moon. Everything, in other words, to keep adventurers aged 4 – 9 years old enthralled. And the book includes comprehension quizzes for the most eager learners, too!

The cover design of this book by Spencer Levine is perfect, and the interior design by Luke and Vida Kelly makes a feature of the superb illustrations by Marije Tolman. The contrast of the simple, smooth design of Dog contrasts perfectly with the rougher, woollier design of Wolf. This carries on the characters of the two, with Wolf being by far the roughest, most complicated character (even if he doesn’t read). The illustrations are presented throughout the book, with both full-page focus illustrations, and sidebar illustrations lending their humour to the more technical aspects of the book.

Everybody needs to show their little wolves and dogs this laugh-aloud book. It is suitable as both a read-aloud, and a read-yourself, though younger readers will probably ask about a few of the longer words. You will be amazed what dog knows.

I’ll leave you with Wolf’s last rhyme:
Dog is my cousin
Each day of the year
No matter what happens
He’ll always be there.

Truly, the perfect cousinship.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

What Dog Knows
by Sylvia Vanden Heede, illustrated by Marije Tolman
Published by Gecko Press
ISBN 9781776570379