Book Review: Doodle Bug – written and illustrated by Bruce Potter

Available at selected bookstores nationwide.cv_doodle_bug

The author, Bruce Potter is a musician and composer of both adult and children’s songs. He also tours schools with his shows. He is also an illustrator and author.

This is a very unusual book. We’ve all doodled at some point in our lives, but I can honestly say I have never in my life managed to produce doodles that are in this book. The idea behind it is to foster children’s and adults imaginations, and it does this very cleverly.

Doodle Bug is a green frog dressed in orange overalls. The illustrations on the first few pages show a frog, a mug of tea/coffee and a biscuit and then a hand holding a ball point pen. The fun then starts with the pen and hand doodling – some incredible doodles. Doodle Bug dives into the swimming pool that Bruce has doodled. .

“Doodle Bug was walking through the doodles one day.
He saw a scary dragon and tried to hide away.
We’ve all got to find him.
Oh where can he be?
Where’s little Doodle Bug?

The small person I was reading this to spent a lot of minutes with me trying to find Doodle Bug. Abby’s Pa was a lot cleverer than Grandma or Abby – he found it in quick smart time. When Abby and I found him, we thought – oh yes, of course.

The illustrations are quite stunning. While I think Abby at 3 years of age is a tad young to really appreciate this book, I know of children in our family over 4 years of age that really would love it.

Well done Bruce Potter. To inspire and encourage children with their imagination is quite a tall order, but I think you have “cracked it”.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Doodle Bug
by Bruce Potter
Published by Draconis Books
ISBN 9780473281137

Book Review: Millennium – A memoir, by Peri Hoskins

cv_millenniumAvailable online and via selected bookstores. 

Peri Hoskins is a NZ author who lives in Northland, where he works as a barrister-at-law.

In 1999 with the new millennium nearly upon us, Tonga is to be the first in the world to see the new age in by putting its clock forwards an hour or maybe two − a clever ploy to pull in the tourists. Vince Osborne (the narrator of this story), barrister, living in Adelaide travels by Royal Tongan Airlines to Tonga to spend time with his primary school mate Sykes. They had last seen each other in 1994 in their old home town. Sykes has since left to move to Tonga and has bought an old run-down backpackers lodge, catering to young travellers. Beyond the backpackers, Sykes other interest is seeing how many birds he can “pull”. He has plenty of choice, with cruise ships visiting, young bored Tongan girls, and young tourists breaking their OE’s with a break in Tonga.

This is Vince’s first journey since breaking up with his long-time girlfriend Angelina, leaving his job at a big law firm, and starting out on his own. He steps off the plane with a generous supply of alcohol and cigars from duty free – champagne, brandy, whiskey, red wine and, of course, cigars.

Millennium is a journey though many human exchanges – quirky, funny and sad –accompanied by quotes from Hindu scripture.

According to the author’s notes, this is a work of creative non-fiction. In essence it is true, but contains fictional elements. The characters are of his own creation, often containing elements of several people. Also locations and names of people or businesses have been changed. I almost expected to see in writing “nobody was hurt or killed in the making or writing of this story”. I daresay friends of the author will recognise themselves in these characterisations.

I was really surprised how much I enjoyed reading this rather thin book – one of the smallest I’ve read for a while. The descriptions of some of the characters are rather brutal at times and I sometimes wondered how Peri managed to keep a straight face and fingers (typing) while writing this story. I loved the quotes from Hindu scripture – they seemed rather appropriate and pertained to the particular subject of the chapter they headed.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Millennium – A Memoir
by Peri Hoskins
Published by Tane Kaha Publications
ISBN 9780473251314

Book Review: Shades of Purple, by Ross Wilson

cv_shades_of_purpleBefore we even start reviewing the book I need to assure readers that this is not along the same lines as Fifty Shades of Grey. I know I breathed a sigh of relief. I wouldn’t have wanted to review that one!!

John Davies, a news journalist working in the U.K. returns to Auckland, N.Z in 1985. On landing at the airport and picking up a local newspaper John learns that one of the Goulden girls has been murdered. She is the second of three daughters of Sir Paul Goulden and the wife of Martin Hallett. Her body was found near the workbench in her potters’ studio attached to her home in St Heliers, Auckland. John’s father was the local GP and so grew up knowing the Goulden children well. There was also a son Alec, who had died in a car crash some years earlier.

John Davies had previously been a crime reporter for the New Zealand Herald and so knew a number of people in the Police force. Some he could claim as friends. Jim Wilson was one such friend. John’s friendship with the Goulden family and with Jim was instrumental in Sir Paul suggesting that John act for the family in finding out as much as he could to help catch Liz’s murderer.

The Goulden family were amongst elite in Auckland society, so photos and society gossip columns were weekly fodder for the public at large.

Liz Hallett is the third murder victim and is believed to be linked to the other two. How, nobody initially knows, but as the story unfolds family secrets tumble out and more fingers are pointed at members of the family.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book with the ending coming as a complete surprise. I am a big reader of thrillers and thought this one matched any others from various authors I have
read over the years.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Shades of Purple
by Ross Wilson
Self-published through
ISBN 9781456621162

Book available from author Paperback from author at, $15NZ