Blog Archives

Boys’ own journey, Chris Szekely

The Top Secret Undercover Notes of Buttons McGinty
Rhys Darby
Scholastic, $18.00,
ISBN 9781775434979

Adele Broadbent
One Tree House, $20.00,
ISBN 9780995106420

Slice of Heaven
Des O’Leary
Mākaro Press, $25.00,
ISBN 9780995109247

I reckon I had the best summer break in ages: lots of sunny days, lots of sleep-ins, and a trio of junior-fiction books to read for pure pleasure. At the beach, on the couch, under a shady tree, it felt like the school holidays for a grown-up.

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review

From a trio of veterans, Anna Mackenzie

The Severed Land Maurice Gee Penguin, $20.00, ISBN 9780143770244 Shooting Stars Brian Falkner Scholastic, $21.00, ISBN 9781775433606 Cool Nukes Des Hunt Scholastic, $20.00, ISBN 9781775433422 As a veteran of more than 50 years, Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand’s

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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature, Review, Young adults

History, myth and jollity, Linda Burgess

Roly the Anzac Donkey
Glyn Harper (Jenny Cooper illus)
Puffin, $20.00,
ISBN 9780143506638

The Song of Kauri
Melinda Szymanik (Dominique Ford illus)
Scholastic, $27.00,
ISBN 9781775432289

I Am Not a Worm
Scott Tulloch
Scholastic, $19.00,
ISBN 9781775432517

Zoo Train
Sally Sutton (Daron Parton illus)
Walker Books, $28.00,
ISBN 9781922179876

There’s an immutable force that stands between a child and a book: the adult who buys it. There’s already been the adult who wrote it, published it, reviewed it, stocked it, displayed it – all that has to have taken place before the child can say that magical – sometimes chilling – word: “Again.”

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review

History lessons, James Norcliffe

Monkey Boy   
Donovan Bixley
Scholastic, $16.50,
ISBN 9781775431862

Trouble in Time    
Adele Broadbent
Scholastic, $19.00,
ISBN 9781775432265

Monkey Boy opens with a prologue designed, no doubt, to catch its intended audience of younger, and not so young, boys. It’s 1804 and our hero, Jimmy Grimholt, needed “to do more than pee. He was full to busting, so that he was afraid he would muck himself if he didn’t go soon”.

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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature, Review

Explaining WWI, Steven Loveridge

The Bantam and the Soldier
Jennifer Beck (Robyn Belton illus)
Scholastic, $19.50,
ISBN 9781775432074

The Anzac Puppy
Peter Millett (Trish Bowles illus)
Scholastic, $19.50,
ISBN 9781775430971

Best Mates: Three Lads Who Went to War Together
Philippa Werry (Bob Kerr illus)
New Holland, $20.00,
ISBN 9781869664114

Jim’s Letters
Glyn Harper (Jenny Cooper illus)
Picture Puffin, $25.00,
ISBN 9780143505907

Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story
Philippa Werry (Bob Kerr illus)
New Holland, $25.00,
ISBN 9781869663803

The contemporary challenge of making sense of WWI is made considerably trickier in regard to young readers with the, (understandable) limits on how the realities of war might be conveyed to the 5-12 age group. Rising to this challenge, and joining the surge of publications accompanying the war’s centenary, the five works reviewed here present aspects of New Zealand’s war experience to young readers. Striking illustrations, some sketched from familiar photographs, aid in this task, conveying scene and tone. Indeed, the attention to expressions and pose (which range from scenes of mirth to downward gazes and thousand-yard stares) are well used to convey mood. They are also imbued with an impressive attention to detail; though I’ll have to ask Bob Kerr how available The Māoriland Worker, which the Best Mates are shown reading, was at Gallipoli.

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review, War

Boy germs, Eirlys Hunter

The Flytrap Snaps Johanna Knox and Sabrina Malcolm (illus) Hinterland Press, $22.00, ISBN 9780473179960   Just Jack Adele Broadbent HarperCollins, $19.99, ISBN 9781869508869   Super Finn Leonie Agnew Scholastic, $19.50, ISBN 9781869439996   The Puffin Books of my childhood carried

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review, Young adults

Ephemera and treasure, Eirlys Hunter

The Wonky Donkey Craig Smith, music Craig Smith, illustrations Katz Cowley Scholastic, $24.99, ISBN 9781869439262 Old Hu-hu/Huhu Koroheke Kyle Mewburn, illustrations Rachel Driscoll Maori text Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira Scholastic, $18.99, ISBN 9781869435189 / 9781869438975 Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig Goes to

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Posted in Children, Literature, Review

Illustrating the gaps between words, Raymond Huber

Rats!  Gavin Bishop Random House, $30.00, ISBN 978869419028 Tahi: One Lucky Kiwi Melanie Drewery, illustrations Ali Teo and John O’Reilly Random House, $30.00, ISBN 9781869419301 To the Harbour  Stanley Palmer Lopdell House Gallery, $35.00,  ISBN 9780958228442 Snake and Lizard  Joy

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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature, Review

Boyznbooks, Rose Lovell-Smith

And Did Those Feet Ted Dawe Longacre Press, $18.99, ISBN 9781877361494 Single Fin Aaron Topp Random House, $18.99, ISBN 1869417844 Castaway: The Diary of Samuel Abraham Clark, Disappointment Island, 1907 Bill O’Brien Scholastic, $16.99, ISBN 1869437500 Boyznbikes Vince Ford Scholastic,

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Posted in Children, Fiction, Literature, Young adults

The hum of their parts, Anna Jackson

Paperchase  G Brassi Scholastic, $17.00, ISBN 1869437098 Thieves Ella West Longacre Press, $18.99, ISBN 1877361488 Genesis Bernard Beckett Longacre Press, $18.99, ISBN 9781877361524 These three novels are all presented as thrillers. It is interesting to see thrillers being written especially

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Young adults
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