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: The Bee’s Sneeze, by Lucy Davey, illustrated by Katz Cowley

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_the_bees_sneezeWith eleven successful picture books under her belt, including a Joy Cowley award winner, author Lucy Davey can truly be considered one of New Zealand’s top children’s authors. When it comes to writing fun and engaging stories for youngsters, she knows her stuff. I jumped at the chance to read her latest treasure, having admired her previous wonderful works; A Right Royal Christmas remains a big favourite.

I’m happy to report The Bee’s Sneeze does not disappoint. Davey is a highly skilled rhymer, the kind who makes it seem easy-peasy and her flowing, skipping rhythm is a joy to the ear. She clearly has lots of fun creating her characters and their rollicking adventures as fun shines through her work. Her use of language is a cause for real enjoyment with curious and delightful words slipping in such as figliciously, kersploof and Tootletuff. They don’t always make sense, but then again, they don’t have to. This joy of playing with words and language will flow on to readers and draws them in to a friendly and appealing story. The pages are filled with alliterative phrases such as a friendful of fuzz (what a gorgeous way to describe a bear!), nectary nip all adding to the rolling, playful verse.

As a hayfever sufferer, I had plenty of sympathy for the characters; try as they might to overcome it, no-one is immune to the Tootletuff bloom. Even crocodile can’t stop that teasy sneeze! A repeated refrain throughout builds the action to a dramatic and loudly chorused ACHOO, which will no doubt be shouted out with gusto from young readers.
The Bee’s Sneeze is the second collaboration between Lucy Davey and illustrator Katz Cowley and this book is a follow-on from The Fidgety Itch, another fun rhyming romp.

Cowley, an award winning illustrator, has illustrated seven New Zealand picture books including the very successful one about a certain three legged, one eyed donkey. Her water colour illustrations of big eyed and friendly animals match perfectly with the text. Their expressions as they try to hold off the big sneeze are so cute and relatable they are almost human like! Now living in the UK, I hope she will continue to bring life to books for Kiwi kids.

This story is sure to be a big hit – fun rhyme and gorgeous illustrations brought together in one engaging and delightful package.

Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen

The Bee’s Sneeze
By Lucy Davey, illustrated by Katz Cowley
Scholastic NZ
ISBN: 978-1-77543-298-2

Book Review: The Mystery Box & Finnigan Flynn, by Lucy Davey and Cat Chapman

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_finnigan_flynnThe Mystery Box & Finnigan Flynn is a fun picture book for children aged from three to six.

The tongue-twisting rhyming text is sure to enthral young listeners and give adults a chance to test out their story time voices.

When a box arrives on Finnigan Flynn’s doorstep, the label warns that it shouldn’t be opened. Does Finnigan take any notice of this advice? Of course he doesn’t!

Then rumble-a-jumble bam-boomed in the box… a couple of toe-nibbling crocs leap out and head straight for Finnigan’s feet. When he trips trying to get away from them, the ‘uh-oh!’ of the text sets up the next piece of magic.

The repeated ‘rumble-a-jumble bam-boomed in the box’ and ‘uh-oh!’ leads the reader and listener on a whimsical journey of nonsense, with socks, a fox, an ox and some frocks being just some of the crazy things that leap out of the box to help or hinder Finnigan.

The story ends with the box appearing on the doorstep of a little girl with a note that gives the same instructions Finnigan had. This can lead to some guesses as to what happens next – does she, like Finnigan, open the box? Will the same things be in the box or will she be treated to some more magical nonsense?

Author Lucy Davey was inspired by Dr Seuss to begin writing children’s books and her resume includes The Fidgety Itch and the Fifi la Belle picture books. Cat Chapman’s beautiful ink and watercolour illustrations perfectly complement The Mystery Box & Finnigan Flynn and will ensure the book is a hit with young children, as there is so much to look at on every page.

The book is a good physical size for children to sit alongside whoever is reading to them and follow the story by looking at the illustrations. I have a feeling some of the lines in this book will end up in everyday vernacular, in particular “uh-oh!”

Reviewed by Faye Lougher

The Mystery Box & Finnigan Flynn
by Lucy Davey and Cat Chapman
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775432999