Archive for the ‘children’ Category


Once there was a clever girl who liked searching for interesting things on the ground. She wanted to know why shells could be found in rocks so far away from the sea. But her father thought education was no use to a girl, so Joan had to leave school.

Many years later, she bought an old map. To her amazement, she saw that it marked a treasure hoard. Not of gold and jewels, but of dinosaur bones.

Nobody had ever found dinosaur fossils in New Zealand before – in fact, top scientists had said it was impossible. But Joan was intrigued. She decided to learn everything she could about palaeontology and hunt for these dinosaur fossils.

This is the fifth picture book in an acclaimed series of true stories about the lives of famous Kiwis written by David Hill and magnificently illustrated by Phoebe Morris.

Dinosaur Hunter: Joan Wiffen’s Awesome Fossil Discoveries

David Hill & Phoebe Morris

Picture Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan Butterworth

“I can dream.  That’s one of the big things in life.”  Joan Wiffen

Until the late 1960s scientists believed dinosaurs never lived in New Zealand.  Then a dinosaur skull was found in Australia in 1968 and the thinking changed.  Now scientists thought they could have lived in New Zealand but needed proof.

This book tells the story of how a farm wife from the Hawke’s Bay proved New Zealand once had its own dinosaurs and became an international expert in dinosaur fossils.

The clever drawings tell the story of how she became interested in geology and fossils, then how she discovered a map showing the remote Mangahouanga Stream as a possible location of bones  and decided to go digging.  After sending a plaster cast of her findings to an Australian museum, they confirmed it was the vertebrae of a 70 million year old theropod – a dinosaur the size of a truck with sharp, saw-edged teeth.

Joan Wiffen had made a ground-breaking discovery and re-wrote history.

The Wiffen’s and their helpers continued exploring the remote stream for the next thirty years and made more fossil discoveries.  Some of those dinosaurs are cleverly illustrated in the final pages, along with a handy timeline of Joan Wiffen’s life.

This book was interesting as I hadn’t really paid attention to prehistoric New Zealand.  I vaguely knew that fossils of giant penguins and sharks the length of cricket pitches had been found but not actual dinosaurs.  Joan Wiffen also seems an inspiring woman more attention should be paid to.

Any dinosaur fan will love this book.  As well as those who aren’t dinosaur fans but like interesting women.

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A boisterous bilingual board book that introduces littlies to colours with the help of Hairy Maclary and his friends!

A gorgeous board book with pictures of Hairy Maclary, Scarface Claw and other favourite characters created by Lynley Dodd to teach children their colours in Maori and English.

This special little volume is perfect for the young learner and helps to incorporate te reo Maori into everyday life.

Perfect for children ages 3 months to 3 years.

Hairy Maclary and Friends: Colours in English and Maori

Lynley Dodd

Pictures Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan Butterworth

These board books are perfect for bilingual children to learn their colours or to introduce anyone to learning Maori.

Each double page has a background of a colour – red, yellow, white – and both the English and Maori name for it – purple = waiporoporo, grey = kiwikiwi, green = kakariki.  Illustrations tie-in that colour with drawings of familiar characters from the Hairy Maclary collections that make you smile.  Keep an eye out for the other cute drawings that blend in the background.

As well as the usual primary colours of red, white, and black, the book features other colours like brown, pink, and orange, which is different to many learn-your-colours books.

A boisterous bilingual board book that introduces littlies to counting with the help of Hairy Maclary and his friends!

A gorgeous board book with pictures of Hairy Maclary, Scarface Claw and other favourite characters created by Lynley Dodd to help children learn to count from 1–10 in Maori and English.

This special little volume is perfect for the young number learner and helps to incorporate te reo Maori into everyday life.

Contains a full 1-10 counting chart.

Hairy Maclary and Friends: 123 in English and Maori

Lynley Dodd

Pictures Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan Butterworth

These board books are perfect for bilingual children to practice counting or to introduce anyone to learning Maori.

Each page features a number from 1 – 10 and is illustrated by a drawing with that many objects – 5 flowers or 9 bees.  Each has in Maori the number and object – e rima nga putiputi or e niwa nga pi – and the English translation – five flowers or nine bees.

The illustrations are full of familiar characters from the Hairy Maclary collections and bright and colourful.

As they are board books the pages won’t crumple and rip, making them ideal to be enjoyed by toddlers or for autistic children without a lot of mobility control.

Little Kiwi doesn’t like doing chores. Why should kids do all the work, while parents take it easy?

But when a big storm blows through the forest, Little Kiwi finds himself in charge of some lost eggs. He is about to discover that a parent’s work is much harder than he thought . . .

And what’s this funny little bird with a shield instead of feathers?

Little Kiwi The Cool Mama

Bob Darroch

Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Little Kiwi complains how being a parent is easy as they get the kids to do all the work.   Then he looks after eggs after a storm, keeping them warm till they hatch.  Suddenly he’s responsible for a whole heap of baby birds – and a Whatsit.  With Kakapo’s help he feeds them, teaches them to build nests and swim and fly (Kakapo) and realises it’s actually a lot of work being a parent.  But the rewards are worth it.

A fun new story in the Little Kiwi series, the illustrations are well-drawn and amusing, giving life to the story.  Lots of NZ native chicks are showcased and look very cute.

I didn’t realise a ladybird was in every illustration – this is the author’s signature.   Once it was pointed out I went back over each illustration.  Some were hard to find, some easy, but all were humorous and fit in so well with the story.

For the very first time, eight of Lynley Dodd’s classic cat escapades are brought together in this delightful, handsome hardback gift book, complete with a ribbon.

“They sat in the firelight’s
welcoming glow,
hobnobbing happily,
ten in a
row.”

Furry Tales is a treasury of eight favourite stories featuring Lynley Dodd’s spirited and entirely adorable cats – Slinky Malinki, Scarface Claw, Pimpernel Pugh, Butterball Brown and many more. These marvellous tales will warm the hearts of Hairy Maclary fans – and cat-lovers – the world over,

It includes a readalong CD with each tale read by the fabulously entertaining Jackie Clarke and specially introduced with a personal anecdote from Lynley Dodd.

Inside the collection you will find these stories:
Slinky Malinki; The Minister’s Cat ABC; Slinky Malinki, Open the Door; Slinky Malinki Catflaps; Scarface Claw; Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers; Slinky Malinki, Early Bird; Scarface Claw, Hold Tight!

Furry Tales: A Tale of Cat Mischief

Lynley Dodd

Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

First., we are introduced to the inspirations behind Lynley Dodd’s stories, with an array of cats that have touched her life being described.  We meet the original Scarface Claw and see who ispired Slinky Malinki.

Then there is a collection of eight of the famous stories, all with the beautiful artwork that illustrates the plot so well.  The readalong CD narrates each story, with the voice of Jacqui Clarke bringing each to life.

Lastly, all seven of Dodd’s cat heroes are pictured and described.

This is a fantastic book, bringing all of Lynley Dodd’s clever rhymes and awesome illustrations of cats together.  The heaviness of the hardback might be a little difficult for young children to manage without help but the CD allows them to follow along.

Once upon a poop . . .

Our fearless heroes are back!
Danny and Dinosaur are convinced that a damsel in distress needs their help… the only problem is, they aren’t sure where she actually is.

So they set off through Fairy Tale Land to track her down, but things don’t go exactly to plan…

Can Dinosaur make it through Fairy Tale Land without eating everything in sight?

And do all princesses really need to be rescued?

Packed with prehistoric cheekiness, punchy girl power and, of course, lots and lots of poop!

The Dinosaur That Pooped A Princess

Tom Fletcher & Dougie Poynter, illustrated by Garry Parsons

Red Fox

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

More from Danny and his dino pooper friend!

Danny is on a quest to save a princess and he and his dinosaur end up in Fairytale Land.  After being pointed in the right direction by the Gingerbread Man, they meet a variety of other fairytale characters – Three Little Pigs and Prince Charming among them – and trolls, orcs, and dragons.  Finally they find the princess’s castle, only to realise they can’t reach her.  Then the dinosaur comes up with a plan………….

The plot unfolds in rhythmic sentences that are a lot of fun to read aloud.  The illustrations are awesome, bright and colourful with much detail.  The ending is very cool and how all fairytales should end.

This is another brilliant book in the series and I urge you to collect the set.  I love the cute cover quote from a 6 yr old fan “I like that he poops, but how does he wipe his bum?”  My 4 yr old test reader is now 7 and still loves this series and her mum is happy as she can enjoy the story now Brooke can read by herself.

An enchanting tale of magic, friendship and adventure for readers aged 9 and up – from bestselling author, Holly Webb.

Colette lives with her mother, making beautiful dresses for the rich women of Venice. She’s never known her father, and her mother won’t speak of him – but Colette’s embroidery moves and dances, and she’s sure that there’s magic in her blood . . .

And then Colette discovers the truth: her father is a famous maskmaker and a powerful magician. But when he’s ordered to create a mask that will bend others to its will, the magic becomes too strong for him to resist. Can Colette, with the help of a talking alley cat called Max, save him?

The Magical Venice books are all share the same beautiful setting, but can be read as standalone stories. The series includes: The Water Horse, The Mermaid’s Sister, The Maskmasker’s Daughter, and The Girl of Glass.

The Maskmaker’s Daughter: Magical Venice #3

Holly Webb

Published by Orchard

Supplied by Hatchette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

Loved it! I needed something light and magical, and this fitted the bill, perfectly. I read it in a single day. But then, it is a short novel, intended for young readers.

The setting is a magical version of renaissance Venice, a Venice that never was, rather less sordid than the reality as suits a younger readership. There are distinct advantages to a pseudo-historical setting 7for your fantasy. People generally know a bit about the background, and you don’t have to come up with a map. But you do have to think about how much magic you want to infuse into your setting, and what impact that will have on the culture of the place. Venice is in many ways a good choice; a maritime city, trading in many directions, and geographically unique. I’m not entirely sure that Holly Webb has entirely thought out the historical implications of all that magic…

The story was complete in itself, although it forms part of a series sharing that setting, together with some peripheral characters. The central character is a girl named Colette, who lives with her seamstress mother. From the outset, it is evident that her mother is ill and before long she dies. Leaving Colette in a difficult and vulnerable position. Should she go with the Countess whom she does not trust? Or to the orphanage? Just as she is preparing to run away, the father she thought was dead appears to take her away to his mask-makers workshop. And there is magic… Colette can sew magic into in the very fabric. Magic that she has inherited from her father. And there are cats…

I enjoyed this immensely, and I’m sure many young girls from intermediate school age up would love it too. As would many older ladies (and gentlemen) who count themselves as still young inside. Now I shall have go find the rest of the series. Oh, and the cover is not only a lovely work of art, it fits the story perfectly.