Blog Archives

Bringing the front line home, Sarah Dickson

Evie’s War 
Anna MacKenzie
Longacre, $20.00,
ISBN 9781775537656

Anna Mackenzie’s book gives the reader an insight into WWI through the perspective of Evie, an 18-year-old New Zealander living in England. Shortly after her family arrives there for their tour of Europe, war breaks out and Evie is introduced to a whole new world. She experiences first-hand the horrors inflicted on the men, along with the heartbreak and stress of serving in hospitals – both on the front line and in England. Through Evie’s experiences during the four years, Mackenzie is able to highlight the expectations of Evie and her associates during the war. We see the traditional views that her family holds about Evie’s responsibilities and others’ views about her capabilities.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, YA Reviewers and Young adults

“thethrillingalchemy”, Emma Martin

From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle Kate De Goldi Longacre, $30.00, ISBN 9781775535768 Kate De Goldi’s writing for children and young adults has been acclaimed for its vibrancy and verisimilitude. De Goldi often takes the reader into psychologically complex

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Young adults

Reading, writing and arithmetic, Barbara Else

Speed of Light
Joy Cowley
Gecko Press, $20.00,
ISBN 9781877579936

Teddy One-Eye: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear
Gavin Bishop
Random House, $35.00,
ISBN 9781775537274

The ACB with Honora Lee
Kate De Goldi (drawings by Gregory O’Brien)
Longacre, $25.00,
ISBN 9781869799915

Three stars of New Zealand literature, three award-winning books, three very different approaches and audiences: how is any reviewer to manage this daunting assignment?

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature and Review

Hurtling along, armed with a map, Eirlys Hunter

Soup and Bread
Nōnen Títi
Nōnen Títi, $25.00,
ISBN 9780994107732

The Pirates and the Nightmaker
James Norcliffe
Longacre, $20.00,
ISBN 9781775537694

The Volume of Possible Endings: A Tale of Fontania
Barbara Else
Gecko Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9781927271377

Two of these titles are fantasies with large dollops of magic, yet I happily suspended disbelief and became immersed in their worlds. The third is supposedly set in the here and now, but instead of getting lost in it I kept noticing inconsistencies – it just wasn’t credible. Believability is crucial to fiction, and it can’t be achieved unless a novel’s characters are operating in a particular and sustained world. It doesn’t matter how unfamiliar the setting is – 12th-century Laotian temple, Antarctic scientist’s lab, a dragon’s lair – there has to be enough plausible detail to allow the reader to feel secure that the writer knows what they’re talking about. The writer may well have only visited the location in their imagination, but that’s all that should be necessary to bring the place to life. The wardrobe, those furs, that lamppost – of course we’ll believe in Narnia. The more specific a place, the more real it will seem, and the more believable the story.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature and Review

Hormones and hedges David Hill

Into the River Ted Dawe Longacre, $20.00, ISBN 9781775536048 Dappled Annie and the Tigrish Mary McCallum (Annie Hayward illus) Gecko Press, $20.00, ISBN 9781877579912 Anyone present when Into the River won the Senior Fiction and Book of the Year categories

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Children, Literature, Review and Young adults

Cloaks and generic proper nouns, David Hill

A Necklace of Souls R L Stedman HarperCollins, $25.00, ISBN 9781775540069 Ghosts of Parihaka David Hair HarperCollins, $25.00, ISBN 9781869509233 Cattra’s Legacy Anna MacKenzie Longacre, $20.00, ISBN 9781775533184 Phantom of Terawhiti Des Hunt HarperCollins, $20.00, ISBN 9781869509545 Whenever I’m taking

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review and Young adults

Myth making, Angelina Sbroma

The Enchanted Flute James Norcliffe Longacre, $20.00, ISBN 9781869799267   Heart of Danger Fleur Beale Random House, $20.00, ISBN 9781869795436   In The Enchanted Flute, James Norcliffe (author of the celebrated Loblolly Boy series) makes classical myth the source and

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Review and Young adults

The light and the dark, Geoffrey Miles

The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer James Norcliffe Longacre, $19.99, ISBN 9781877460692   Sacrifice Joanna Orwin HarperCollins, $26.99, ISBN 9781869509125   It’s rare for a modern children’s writer to create a really original fantasy creature, but James Norcliffe achieved it

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Children, Literature, Review and Young adults

A magical innings, Harry Ricketts

The Last Everyday Hero: The Bert Sutcliffe Story Richard Boock Longacre, $39.99, ISBN 9781877460555   Cricket addicts like myself love games like “Who was the greatest New Zealand batsman?” Most shortlists usually boil down to Martin Donnelly, Bert Sutcliffe, Glenn

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review and Sport

Past and future worlds, Rose Lovell-Smith

Ebony Hill  Anna Mackenzie Longacre, $19.99, ISBN 9781877460487   Blood Lines  T K Roxborogh Penguin Books, $40.00, ISBN 9780143205050   Both these books are sequels to earlier publications honoured by the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards and by other

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Review and Young adults
Search
Search by category