Book Review: I Love Tomato Sauce, by Nicky Sievert

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_i_love_tomato_sauceMost children love tomato sauce, and will enjoy this fun story of how this family enjoys their tomato sauce. The boy in the story likes his sauce on most of the food he eats, even on party food. But there are issues in the family as his parents can’t decide which bottle is the best to use, his dad prefers the upside down bottle, while Mum likes the old squeeze bottle shaped like a tomato. The small pots in the fish and chip shop are preferred by big sister Ariana, but Aunty Kirsty makes her own tomato sauce, as does Nan’s neighbour Cyril.

When the family go on a picnic they have to pack everyone’s preferred tomato sauce, but they are so busy organizing the sauce they forget the food to go with it.

The day is not ruined as Nan has brought a loaf of bread to feed the ducks, and the family enjoy their sauce on the bread.

The simple story will appeal to most children, the script has words highlighted in bold which emphasize key points, and there will be lots of talking points in the colourful illustrations.

Supplying Aunt Kirsty’s recipe is a nice addition, which could lead to a fun activity for a family to do if they have surplus tomatoes growing.

A page at the back discussing some of the sign language used in the illustrations is quite unique and should generate discussion with children and adults reading the book. I liked this inclusion as it would enable children with hearing impairments to be more included in the New Zealand classroom.

Nicky Sievert grew up in Hawkes Bay, studied art in Wellington and lives in Lower Hutt. I Love Tomato Sauce is the first book she has written and illustrated, although in 2018 she illustrated Our Dad, written by David Ling.

Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh

I Love Tomato Sauce
by Nicky Sievert
Published by Duck Creek Press
ISBN 9781927305560

Book Review: The Marae Visit, by Rebecca Beyer & Linley Wellington, illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson

Available in bookshops nationwide from 12 April. 

cv_the_marae_visitThe Marae Visit is a brilliant, cheerful introduction to what children can expect on their first visit to a marae. It feels like this book should have always been on our bookshelf – and I can’t believe it has taken this long for it to appear!

The story follows a primary class through their day at the marae. We meet the class at the front gate as they gather together to be formally welcomed. The authors spend time gently walking the reader through the  pōwhiri. Attention is drawn to tikanga and the reader gets a clear picture of what to expect and what to do. The pōwhiri ends and the class disperses to sing, dance with poi and make kites.

Children will easily find themselves in the multicultural illustrations. Nikki Slade Robinson captures the children’s bravado and hesitancy as they go through the unfamiliar process of the pōwhiri. We see their confidence and smiles grow throughout the story. The warmth and wairua you will find on a marae is beautifully depicted throughout the story.

The text is written in both English and te reo Māori; and well designed to read in either or both languages easily. The authors have kept key Māori words in the English text too, such as tangata whenua, hongi, wharenui and kaumātua. These words deserve to be known by English speakers and are contextualised for meaning.

Finally, the children gather for the poroporoaki, saying goodbye and promising to return. My class would like to return to the marae with them and join in the fun too. The authors have created an honest, uplifting portrayal of a class visit to their local marae that will be welcome in classrooms around Aotearoa.

Reviewed by Sara Croft

The Marae Visit
by Rebecca Beyer & Linley Wellington, Illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson
Published by Duck Creek Press
ISBN 9781927305539

Book Review: Muddle & Mo’s Rainy Day, by Nikki Slade Robinson

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_muddle_and_mos_rainy_dayIt’s a beautiful rainy day and all Muddle wants to do is jump, stomp, splash, sing and slide in the puddles. But Mo is less than excited about the big ploppy drops. Goats don’t like rain. Muddle can be very persuasive though and urges Mo to give it a try because rain is so much fun!

The third adventure from the loveable yet unconventional friendship of Muddle & Mo. Muddle is still his enthusiastic and happy-go-lucky self and Mo his patient and rain-phobic friend finds himself being convinced to step out of his comfort zone once again. A sweet little tale about how friendship can make you brave enough to try new things. Nikki Slade Robinson’s adorable, expressive and uncluttered illustrations are appealing to a young audience and paired with the repetitive dialogue from the two friends this picture book gives you the perfect opportunity to use your voice acting skills!

I loved reading this story to my preschool class and they enjoyed identifying all the different emotions Mo goes through as Muddle tries to encourage him to play in the rain. It’s easy to sympathise with both Muddle and Mo! Rainy Day is a delightful little book that explores how friendship can encourage an otherwise gloomy situation like a rainy day into something fun and positive.

Reviewed by Alana Bird

Muddle & Mo’s Rainy Day
by Nikki Slade Robinson
Published by Duck Creek Press
ISBN 9781927305393

Book Review: While You Are Sleeping, by Melinda Szymanik, illustrations by Greg Straight

Available in bookstores now. cv_while_you_are_sleeping

Melinda Szymanik has written children’s picture books, short stories and novels.  She was born in Auckland. Greg Straight is a graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, born in Auckland.

I always have a sense of anticipation whenever a delivery of books arrives on my doorstep to review.  I certainly haven’t been disappointed with the latest books.  While you are sleeping is a fabulous book with exquisite illustrations by Greg Straight. These illustrations are sharp and bright, with lovely clear text describing each drawing.

The author Melinda Szmanik, takes us on a journey of what happens while we are sleeping. People on the other side of the world going about their lives, animals of the night foraging for food, birds that only fly at night, long distance vehicles driving through the night, plus other scenarios.

The idea of what happens during the night while we are sleeping appealed to me and one that most children probably would not think about.  Small children are fascinated with anything different and so soak up any ideas that are presented to them.  I could imagine both of  the very small children in my family loving this book. Recommended.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

While you are sleeping
by Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Greg Straight
Published by Duck Creek Press
ISBN 9781877378782