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

Book Reviews: Brachio, by Jill Eggleton, illustrated by Richard Hoit; Don’t Think About Purple Elephants, by Susan Whelan, illustrated by Gwynneth Jones

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

Brachio, by Jill Eggleton, illustrated by Richard Hoitcv_brachio

Jill Eggleton will be familiar to many New Zealand teachers and parents for her literacy programmes and her huge catalogue of poems. Brachio is a picture book for up to 7 year olds which showcases Eggleton’s rich writing style.

Brachio is much bigger than the other dinosaurs and mouse lizards, so there’s bound to be a few problems when he heads out to join in a dance party. Being a kind and thoughtful kind of dinosaur, Brachio has a few solutions in mind.

Eggleton’s language is full of poetic language, with onomatopoeia, alliteration, rhythm and rhyme, and simile dripping off the page. This is helped by clever text design, which gives the reader lots of clues about where the emphasis should be, and adds visual interest for young readers. Not that visual interest is lacking – Hoit’s illustrations are vivid and colourful, full of the joy of dancing with your friends, and the problems that occur when dancers get a little too enthusiastic!

My class of 5 and 6 year olds love listening to the language as I read to them, and the book was in high demand afterwards, because, dinosaurs! This book also comes with a CD, read by Eggleton, with loads of expression and a fun backing track of dinosaur noises.

Don’t Think About Purple Elephants, by Susan Whelan, illustrated by Gwynneth Jonescv_dont_think_about_purple_elephants

Sophie is a busy, happy girl. She likes school, enjoys her loving family, and has good friends. The problem starts when she’s not busy. At bedtime, as she tries to go to sleep, worries crowd in on her, keeping her awake. All of the suggestions to help her sleep – a special book or teddy, or a drink of warm milk – just give her new things to worry about.
Children’s worries are often dismissed by adults; adults often don’t consider the things children worry about as important when compared to adult concerns. Most children do have worries, however, and to them they feel very real. A quick survey of my class of 5 and 6 year olds showed up common themes: not having someone to play with, someone being mean to them, something bad happening to a loved one, forgetting a book bag or lunch for school, not making it to the toilet on time, not being picked up at the end of the school day.

Whelan and Jones have put some thought into Don’t Think About Purple Elephants; they clearly know children, and they don’t dismiss Sophie’s worries, but try to resolve them. The illustrations are lovely – brightly coloured and happy when Sophie is busy, and grey and ominous with oversized objects when she is worried. The resolution to Sophie’s worries is relatively simple and one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments that parents and teachers have.

This is an enjoyable picture book to read together for children up to 8 or 9 years old, regardless of whether or not the child worries – but it would be a particularly good book to read with a child who is suffering from anxiety, it might just do the trick.

Reviews by Rachel Moore

Brachio
by Jill Eggleton, illustrated by Richard Hoit
Published by JillE Books
ISBN 9781927307809

Don’t Think About Purple Elephants
by Susan Whelan, illustrated by Gwynneth Jones
Published by EK Books
ISBN 9781921966699

Book Review: ‘Tis the Month before Christmas – The True Story of Santa, by Patricia Chapman, illustrated by Richard Hoit

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_tis_the_month_before_christmasPatricia Chapman has written a number of non-fiction books, including the bestselling Dunmore Book of New Zealand Records, and Strange Facts about New Zealand, as well as several novels. Richard Hoit is a freelance illustrator working full time on children’s books, with his work appearing worldwide.

With Christmas not that far away it was fortuitous that I was sent this book to review. It has a rather unique way of approaching the “true” story of how Santa became Santa. There is one story to be read for each day starting on 25 November and finishing on 25 December. Most of us are familiar with advent calendars (usually with a chocolate treat behind each date), so this is a great alternative if you want to avoid sugar overload leading up to Christmas.

Chapman tells the story of Nicolas Klaus, who lives with Grandfather Klaus in a farmhouse built of heavy logs, deep in the forests of Lapland. Grandfather Klaus had a herd of reindeer and Nicholas helped on the farm every day. We also find out how the reindeer got their names – from Prancer, Dancer  Vixen and even Rudolf.

I read this book to Abby aged 4 ½ in one sitting, which is not ideal, but I was keen to see just how much she would retain and what her views were on the conclusion of this story. When Mummy came home from work, one very excited little girl proceeded to tell, in her own words, the story about Santa, proving to me that she definitely had been listening.

The illustrations are fabulous and match the story with ease and with, flowing along gently engaging the listener and reader alike. This is a wonderful book keeping alive the magic of Christmas for children.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

‘Tis the Month Before Christmas – The True Story of Santa
by Patricia Chapman, illustrated by Richard Hoit
Published by Upstart Press
ISBN 9781927262344

Book Review: Bud-e reading series Books 1 – 8, by Jill Eggleton and Richard Hoit

Available in bookstores nationwide.bude_starter_system

My 4-year-old will begin school later this year, and he is very proudly beginning to read. So when this new reading series came to my attention, I figured it would be perfect to share with him.

Bud-e is a reading system that helps to teach your child high-frequency words to encourage their reading skills gradually. The books that are in this, the first series, are Silly Billy, Tricky Mouse, Hungry Ducks, Hop it!, What a Muddle!, Alien in the Park, Junk Car, and Mice Mischief. Also included in the starter set is the full picture book Out of Bubblo, which introduces Bud-e himself.

Dan enjoyed learning to read each of these books aloud with me. He didn’t need me to read all of them aloud before having ago, as his reading and comprehension was advanced enough to begin at around book 5. He seemed very confident with the first few books, and we had good conversations around the images in the book and what was happening in them. We read a lot with Dan, and he has always understood that the story can be in the pictures as well as the words, as it is very clearly in this series.

Dan spent a good hour on the app that came with the books, and enjoyed the interactive elements of it. I could see the app coming in useful on a long car journey, for when parents can’t help with the reading of the books. A very innovative approach to literacy learning.

The instructions for parents and teachers are very clear, and the explanation is interesting without being too jargonistic. Both Dan and I enjoyed the brief stories, and found plenty to talk about within the pictures. The story of the Tricky Mouse was a particular favourite, as were the stories featuring the aliens.

I saw this series for sale in a bookshop soon after I received them to try. I would recommend them to any parent who wants to invest in a reading collection to encourage their children to read independently. It is good to have this type of book in your collection, at the same time you could perhaps identify some of the books you already have in your collection that your child may wish to help you read aloud. We have several shorter books that Dan enjoys tackling himself now, and reading to his little brother.

Whether the app is appealing to you, or the books themselves, this is a great new series from celebrated educational writer Jill Eggleton, and illustrator Richard Hoit.

Books 1-8 are available in a box set from a bookstore near you.

Bud-e Starter Kit
by Jill Eggleton, illustrated by Richard Hoit
Published by Global Ed
ISBN 9781927307656