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

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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: We’re off to Find a Kiwi by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Kate Wilkinson

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_were_off_to_find_a_kiwiEveryone in New Zealand dreams of seeing a kiwi, but very few of us in fact have seen one. In this delightful picture book Louie and his older sister set off to find a kiwi.

The author uses an excellent rhyming method to carry the children from their street into the city where they meet a tui who offers advice.

From there they go to a farm, then up a mountain, where a kea tells them to look in a dimmer place.

They try a forest and hear,
A scratch – a rustle – something close …
I feel the need to wee-wee!
It’s coming near! I freeze in fear!
And then we see a … KIWI.

It’s a wonderful story for the 3-7 age group: my 3-year-old grandson loves it. The week before this book arrived we had been walking in the Orokonui Sanctuary looking for birds, kiwi included, and other wildlife, so this book continues our adventures.

Juliette MacIver has created a wonderful New Zealand story, introducing children to some of our finest native birds and with the subtle illustrations by Kate Wilkinson, children can learn about the special places which are home to these birds.

The last page includes facts about kiwi, good discussion points for parents and teachers.

Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh

We’re off to Find a Kiwi
by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Kate Wilkinson
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775433750

Book Review: Gwendolyn!, by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_gwendolynHow many penguins do you think there are in the jungle? You’d probably say none, because we all know penguins live in cold climates, but you haven’t met Gwendolyn! She is the only penguin in the jungle and she’s there because she loves the heat, the gorgeous flowers and the other jungle animals.

We get to meet a jaguar, monkeys and a parrot, and she points out all the good things about the jungle. Gwendolyn is always upbeat and she makes all her jungle friends realise how lucky they are to live in such a beautiful place.

But then her friend Parrot asks a simple question – has Gwendolyn ever been to Antarctica, where all the other penguins live?

A tear rolls down Gwendolyn’s cheek and she admits she hasn’t, and that starts to make her pine for the place she really belongs, where she can be a real penguin. Nothing her friends say can cheer her up, and she sets off on a really long journey to Antarctica.
She meets other penguins there and has the time of her life, but after a while she starts to notice the cold, and the fact she’s very hungry… and decides there is no reason why a penguin can’t live in Antarctica AND the jungle!

This book made me smile, as the illustrations are simply beautiful. There is so much to look at on every page that younger children will enjoy this book even if they can’t read the words. I think it will delight children and adults alike and become a treasured favourite. It’s a great tale about friendship and how we don’t have to be the same to get along.

Reviewed by Faye Lougher

Gwendolyn
by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton
Published by ABC Books (HarperCollins NZ)
ISBN 9780733335174

 

Maui Sun Catcher, by Tim Tipene, illustrated by Zak Waipara, translated by Rob Ruha

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_maui_sun_catcher.jpgRe-working a traditional and much loved myth is a big challenge and requires ensuring the familiar story features are finely balanced with new ideas and fresh imagery to retain the essence of the original while engaging new audiences. Award winning New Zealand author Tim Tipene took up this challenge with Maui – Sun Catcher and has hit that balance perfectly, delivering a Maui who is both mischief-maker and cheeky fella.

Bringing Maui into the 21st century sees him cajoling his brothers to help him capture Tama Nui Te Ra, the Sun, and force him to slow down so that all can get their work done and enjoy a full day. The brothers are modern day blokes and the dialogue between them is as Kiwi as it gets: ‘You think too much, said Roto, rolling his eyes and turning on the television. ‘Sit down and watch the rugby, man.’ The striking cartoon like illustrations depicting them in familiar clothing (jeans, mechanic’s overalls and school uniform), coupled with mentions of sunscreen and gassing up the car brings the myth well and truly into modern day.

In keeping with the magical capabilities of Maui the trickster, he is depicted in what looks suspiciously like a superhero outfit, complete with emblem on his top, fish hook slung low across his hips, and… is that a cape or a hoodie? Also setting him apart and adding to his mystery, is Maui’s speech which, in rhyming couplets, is the only rhyme found in the text; a feature acknowledged by one of his brothers: “Maui the poet, eh, always out to be the hero,’ Waho grumbled.”

When he and his brothers find the sun’s pit, they prepare to trap the Sun in a net made of magic flax. Maui steps up to challenge the Sun to slow down and, in this version, beats the Sun not with his fists but with his words – tricking the Sun into slowing down using flattery: ‘The Sun was quiet, He looked around. He liked Maui’s words of magnificence and greatness. They made him feel special.’

Presented in both te Reo Maori and English this bi-lingual modern retelling of a myth unique to Aotearoa is equally accessible to all young readers. It is beautifully presented in hardback with bright colours and bold illustrations and I do hope it is the first of many such re-workings presented by the Tipene, Waipara and Oratia Books team.

Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen

Maui: Sun Catcher
by Tim Tipene, illustrated by Zak Waipara, translated by Rob Ruha
Published by Oratia Books, 2016
ISBN 9780947506148

Book Review: Squeakopotamus, by Dawn McMillan, illustrated by Ross Kinnaird

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_squeakopotamusWho’s this in our house, munching toast and cheese? Squeakopotamus! Is he a hippo that looks like a mouse? Or is he a mouse too big for this house?

What will Squeakopotamus do when he has run out of things to eat – will he eat us? Is he a hippo? Or is he a mouse? And will the children be able to keep him?

This is such a gorgeous book with stunning illustrations. Quinn, my youngest granddaughter is 2 ½ years old. I read this to her before she had her mid-morning nap. Her eyes got wider and wider at Squeakopotamus’s reactions and of course she wanted one just like him. No such luck – she’ll have to be content with her dog Mini, a rescue greyhound and her cats, Gus and Rocky.

Dawn McMillan as the author and Ross Kinnaird as the illustrator of this book are already know to our family through their wonderful collaboration in, I need a New Bum, Doctor Grundy’s Undies and Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears –all great favourites.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Squeakopotamus
by Dawn McMillan Illustrated by Ross Kinnaird
Oratia Books
ISBN 9780947506117

Book Review: The Kiwi Hokey Tokey, by Pio Terei, Stevie Mahardika and Ngaere Roberts

cv_the_kiwi_hokey_tokeyAvailable now in bookshops nationwide.

The Kiwi Hokey Tokey
is sure to become a firm favourite book in homes around the country and I bet it won’t just be the children who can’t stop singing the title tune!

I started reading the book while playing the accompanying CD, but by the third page I was singing the words instead – you just can’t help yourself. Sung by popular New Zealand entertainer Pio Terei, the catchy tune will be great for teaching children te reo, as the words in English are followed by lyrics in Māori, and the CD features both versions, as well as guitar-only track if you prefer your own voices to dominate.

New Zealanders will recognise the animals featured in The Kiwi Hokey Tokey – kiwi, pukeko, tuatara, kea, pigs, fantails, ducks, horse, and sheep – and have fun singing the words to go with their versions of the familiar dance. The second part of the book features the te rep Māori verses so children can learn the words for the birds and animals they met earlier.

The kiwi-as illustrations are by Stevie Mahardhika, who moved to New Zealand to study at AUT, and the Maori lyrics are by Ngaere Roberts.

This is one of those books that will never get old and tired – but your voice may, as it’s sure to be on high rotation in kiwi households.

The Kiwi Hokey Tokey
by Pio Terei and Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Stevie Mahardika
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434115