Lets Catch that Rainbow

Bored one day while waiting for his brother to return from school and enjoy some of mum’s just-baked cake, Hadleigh sees a rainbow and heads outside to catch it. Failing, he asks his mum for help and they make a valiant effort to catch the rainbow, jumping high and often.

Hadleigh’s brother returns from school and every pupil on the bus is recruited, plus the driver and teacher. They have a lot of fun but don’t make much headway before Hadleigh’s dad and some mates turn up from a day’s fishing. They have a great idea………………

I really liked how everyone came together to help and thought this   was a great story to share with kids. The author illustrated the book and they are delightful, being bright and colourful. They fit the story perfectly, giving a lot of detail without being too fussy. A lovely book to have in the library.

Pine Estates Books

Supplied by David Bateman Ltd

Reviewed by Jan

rage of he rhino

After discovering how excellent the last book in this series (Strike of the Shark) was, I doubted that Rage of the Rhino could be an improvement. How wrong I was.

This book continues the story of Beck Granger, a young hero who is determined to continue his parents’ legacy to save the world from pollution, poachers, and greedy companies that would do anything to make more money. After his adventure in the last book, Beck is wary about leaving the home. But disaster strikes when an e-mail shows up from an old friend of his parents. She is asking him to come to Africa so he can make a SAVE-THE-RHINOS campaign to discourage people who kill rhinos for their keratin and ivory. But it turns out all is not as it seems in Africa.

Like most Bear Grylls books, Rage of the Rhino provides life-saving information. Because this book is based in a safari setting, the tips include things like: that you can find safe drinking water from squeezing elephant dung, or that zebra stomachs make a great insulant for food.

This is an amazing book, the characters are relateable, the concept is understandable. It’s a simple story with a brilliant plot. I cant wait to read Bear Grylls’ next book!


Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Dylan

Review of Strike of the Shark

a tattooed heart

Life is looking good for Friday, Sarah, and Harrie, convict girls in 1830s Sydney. Friday is now a dominatrix, running Mrs H’s whipping room; Sarah runs the best jewellery shop in Sydney; Harrie is married to the dashing Dr Downey and the loving mother of Charlotte while providing Leo with unique flash (tattoo designs).

Then Charlotte is kidnapped and taken to Newcastle. As bonded convicts they can’t leave Sydney so how will they find her? I am reluctant to say too much and give the story away but we meet Aria again (yay!) and Jonah Leary (boo hiss!) and of course the despicable Bella Shand.

The plot moved swiftly and there were heart-warming moments, a worrying cliff-hanger (until the next chapter), a well-I-didn’t-see-THAT-coming revelation, and an of-course! moment. The can be read as a stand-alone book but all previous three books really should be read.

I loved   the final in the fascinating and addictive quartet. It wraps everything up nicely and the final pages have an answer to a question raised in the first book Behind The Sun. I love these characters and the author has said they may appear in future stories she writes. I hope so!

HarperCollins Publishing

Supplied by HarperCollins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Ardennes 1944 Hitlers Last Gamble

For most English speakers with an interest in World War Two, the German offensive through the Ardennes, or Battle of the Bulge as it is sometimes called, in December 1944 is well known and has given rise to a number of myths. The first is encapsulated in the title. Several myths are busted in this volume – those familiar with the film Hart’s War will spot one or two – which is good (both the volume and the myth-busting), but the titular myth, of offensive being Hitler’s last gamble is not examined.

Through a history that examines the course of the campaign from both sides and the top and bottom of the military hierarchy and some of the political factors, Beevor follows the Ardennes offensive over a broad timeline, explaining the general tactical situation on both sides and how it had developed since the Battle of the Falaise Pocket in August 1944 and the Liberation of Paris directly after. Thus the Allies were getting set to develop offensives both north and south of the Ardennes when the Germans struck. Beevor explains why the route which had been so successful in the 1940 invasion of France was decidedly not in 1944.

From the start there are three major players, the Germans, the Americans and the weather. The latter favoured nobody. The Americans were anticipating a spoiling attack somewhere along the front to disrupt their own offensives but the scope of the German thrust caught them off guard. The Germans failed Map Reading 101 at the planning stage. This is all explained well in the book. And while this was mostly an American-German battle, the British and Commonwealth forces were involved on the northern periphery.

Once the action starts, Beevor devotes a chapter to each day until the end of Boxing Day, 1944. Movements on both sides of the lines are examined, along with the constraints each army, commander or unit faced. In some cases these were considerable. Beevor also shows why Bernard “Monty” Montgomery is such a divisive figure when discussing the prosecution of the war in Europe. Some American generals do not escape unfavourable judgments, and likewise with the Germans.

In sum I would recommend this book to all who have an interest in the Allied liberation of NW Europe and the shock the only major German counteroffensive caused.

Penguin-Viking, London 2015

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Steve

all black

Image  —  Posted: November 1, 2015 in action, adventure, rugby

the dinosaur that pooped the bed

More of Danny and his pooptastic dinosaur!

Danny and his dinosaur are bored and looking for something to do, so his   mum says they can watch cartoons – AFTER Danny’s room is clean.  They dejectedly trudge off to make a start but realise it’ll take AGES!

Then Danny has an idea……….

The story is told in short sentences that rhyme and are catchy to read aloud. The illustrations are bright and colourful, helping to bring the story to life. I love how the subject matter is gross but funny, and how many children find poop funny?!

Another brilliant book in an appealing series, this will delight any child and most adults. My copy was immediately pounced upon by the 30+ yr old flatmates, before making my 4 yr old test reader delirious with joy. Her mum isn’t as thrilled though, as she will read this every night until he next one comes out.

Red Fox

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

just my rotten luck

Just my rotten luck is another instalment from brilliant author James Patterson, who is revered for his use of comedy art in the books he writes. This book is no different, and is a hilarious thrill ride for everyone to enjoy, and goes something like this…

Meet Rafe Katchadorian, a weird kid in a school where drawing is all he’s good at. English and maths never was easy for Rafe, and the bullies of his middle school make him suffer for it. If that isn’t bad enough, his problems worsen as he is put in a special needs programme for kids who need help with learning. But when he makes a new friend, his school life changes forever.

Just my rotten luck is a wonderful story for all to enjoy. Once again James Patterson managed to include a slightly adult element to the book, making it a great read for anyone. The book displays a detailed sense of drama giving it a reality rarely seen in other children’s books.

I loved Just my rotten luck. It’s a spectacular piece of writing and I highly recommend it for the book’s comedy, drama, and all round believability. It’s a great read, and I’m glad it’s in my book collection.


Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Dylan