Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Bookworms, I couldn't wait to tell you about this brilliant adventure!
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

Winner of the U.K. based Costa Children’s Book Award 2017, what a page-turner; I couldn’t put this book down. Engaging from the onset, this dazzling adventure sees four young children stranded in the Amazon jungle after a plane crash. Tragically, the pilot is dead and they are left to face the treacherous environment alone. Though beautiful, the Amazon is home to a myriad of dangers - snakes, spiders, caiman, piranha and bullet-ants - and the threat of injury, sickness and hunger is constant. In this harsh landscape the children must draw upon inner strengths and each other if they are to survive and find their way home.  As they battle the constant challenges confronting them, the children grow to know themselves far beyond their city selves. This compelling story is a whirlwind of action right to the last page.

 But are they truly alone….

 Hi Bookworms -
Summer's back and that means lots of sun so be sure to
"slip, slop, slap, wrap"
and wear a hat!
Two more great books reviewed today. Hope you're reading some fantastic books and don't forget to fill in your
Summer Holiday Reading Log - remember, being read to and listening to audio books count!
Reading, it's the best!!!

Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson (Chapter book - second book in the Moomintroll series, though all titles are standalone reads).

Finn Family Moomintroll is an all-sorts mix of bizarre adventures, delightful nonsense, and utter brilliance, all wrapped up in the ordinary that is extraordinary. The Moomins and their friends live in Moominvalley and this episode has them creating chaos on finding a Hobgoblin’s hat that proves to be more than they bargained for.  The characters all have their own uniqueness and madcap ways and their adventures cartwheel along boosted by friendship and wonder. These warm spirited Moomins are a wacky bunch with huge hearts that, finding themselves in knotty situations, solve them in the most uplifting, yet simplest, of ways.  Another great read-aloud in which there is much to laugh about, ponder on and journey with for both children and adults - a thoroughly enjoyable classic for the whole family.

I Am So Handsome by Mario Ramos
This picture book and its companion I Am So Strong are hilarious.  Every time I read them I laugh-out-loud, they are seriously funny.  In I Am So Handsome, Wolf, his chin in the air, swaggers through the forest, meeting an array of fairy-tale characters along the way.  He challenges each with the question “….who’s the handsomest of all?”, their replies inching his chin higher and higher, his bumptiousness expanding . That is, until he meets……..  Just brilliant!!! This is a fabulous book for young readers to share with their families.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Hiya Bookworms 
Hope the holidays are going fantastically great despite the weather. These wet, wintery days in the middle of summer are just perfect for reading and board games.
Today we have reviews of two books for the younger reader. But first I'd like to shout out huge congratulations to our very own Jill Walker who has been awarded The Queen's Service Medal for her services to art and children. This award is part of the New Year's Honours List 2018, just like Joy Cowley's appointment to The Order of New Zealand (see previous post). You'll probably know Jill from her work as one of the two performers in The Travelling Tuataras. So next time you see her congratulate her on this massive achievement and honour  She's a dynamic inspiration for young and older artists - singers, dancers, painters, musicians, sculptures, everyone really - and is a tireless advocate for children, families and the community. Jill has been involved in a number of significant projects in Rotorua, including helping to establish the Rotorua Children's Art House. Congratulations Jill, thank you for your unyielding spirit, passion and energy.
Now to the books.......

Rabbit & Bear: The Pest in the Nest written by Julian Gough and illustrated by Jim Field
Spring dawns as we meet best friends Rabbit and Bear in this second story in the Rabbit & Bear series. But right from the beginning things don’t seem very springy for Rabbit. Little annoyances mount throughout Rabbit’s morning and when a rather noisy visitor wants to make the woods her home, Rabbit’s tolerance finally runs out. However, with Bear’s thoughtful encouragement, Rabbit gains a wonderful new appreciation for all things – even for those things that drive him “crazy”. The illustrations add a radiant fizz and loads of expression to this hugely funny story and the whole thing simply sparkles. It’s an absolutely delightful tale for young readers and a great read aloud for the whole family. A short story with a big heart and lots to share, it’s one I feel blessed to have read. Keep an eye out for other escapades from Rabbit & Bear.
Magical Animal Adoption Agency: Clover’s Luck written by Kallie George and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
Captivating from the first line this book brims with enchanting characters, mythical creatures and wondrous happenings. Clover loves animals but feels cursed with bad luck. When she stumbles upon the M.A.A.A. (Magical Animal Adoption Agency) deep within the woods surrounding her home she wonders if bad luck will follow her here too, or if, just possibly, just this once, luck will find her? Clover’s Luck is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure for the young reader, and, again, a great read aloud. Plus this is only number one in what promises to be a brilliant series and the first two chapters of the next book, The Enchanted Egg, just happen to be at the end of this book so you get to read them straight away. Perfect!

Remember, if these books are already out to someone at the Rotorua Library, just place them on hold. If you don’t have a Rotorua Library card, parents and kids, visit the library together and join, it’s FREE!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year Bookworms!

Wow 2018 – I wonder what magnificent books will be published in the year ahead. It’s so exciting to think about all the amazing stories that will be written, read and reread….including stories that haven’t even been thought of yet.

Today I'd like to congratulate JOY COWLEY who was very recently awarded Aotearoa New Zealand’s greatest honour - Member of the Order of New Zealand. With guidance from our Prime Minister, membership is appointed by Queen Elizabeth II, and is awarded for a person’s exceptional contribution to our wonderful country (Source: dpmc The Order of NZ).

You probably have read a book or books written by Joy Cowley. She has written loads of children’s levelled readers, picture books, early chapter books, and children’s novels. Among the most loved are:

Mrs Wishy-Washy series 
Greedy Cat series
Nicketty-Nacketty, Noo-Noo-Noo
The Shadrach trilogy
The Wild West Gang 5 book series
Snake and Lizard series (illustrated by Gavin Bishop)
The Silent One


Throughout her writing career, Joy Cowley has received a long list of awards and honours including:
Title of “Kaumatua” New Zealand Society of Authors
Margaret Mahy Lecture Award
OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to children’s literature

In 2002, the ‘Storylines Joy Cowley Award’ was created in her honour in recognition of her extensive contribution to children’s literature and literacy both here and globally. It is awarded annually to an author permanently living in New Zealand and its “aim…is to foster the publication of excellent picture books..." (source: Storylines: Storylines Joy Cowley Award).

During her early years at school, Joy Cowley says she was a “struggling student” but when she

“…discovered that reading accessed story, I forgot that I “couldn’t read” and delighted in the adventures that could be found in books” (Source: Joy Cowley: Autobiographical notes).

Congratulations Joy Cowley – thank you for your love of children’s books and gift of story – your magic lace of words.  

Friday, 29 December 2017

Hi - I’m so excited about the two books I’ll be chatting about today, The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell and Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. These are both highly inventive and exceptional stories, fizzing with happenings, ideas and magic. Perfect for reading aloud or silently, huddled up in a comfy chair or lounging amongst the hubbub of the holiday season, these two books are absolutely on the button for Harry Potter fans. I can’t wait for the sequels…

 The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (author of the How to Train Your Dragon series)
What an awesome book! Cressida Cowell has gifted us, again, with the wonder of story. Warriors and Wizards are sworn enemies. But a third presence, a malevolent force,  threatens and our main characters Wish, a Warrior, and Xar, a Wizard, find themselves unwittingly caught up in an ancient battle.

A wonderful mix of humour, mystery and imaginings, with scatterings of scary bits, make this book a highly enjoyable and exciting read. It is a cauldron of magic, magnificent creatures, dark powers, noble hearts and courageous heroes all bustling, jostling and shifting among the pages. I was spellbound from the very beginning by the idea of a “Witch-Feather”. What’s a ‘Witch-Feather’?  I hear you ask, curious, though a little tentatively. Got you!  Now you’ll have to read the book.  For senior primary students +.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
by Jessica Townsend
On the eve of her eleventh birthday, Morrigan is saved from her fate as one of the “cursed”, and so her extraordinary adventures begin. Chosen by the marvellous and rather puzzling character Jupiter North as his candidate for entry into the Wundrous Society, Morrigan finds herself in Nevermoor. This is a beguiling place, filled with all sorts of characters, mysteries, amazements, challenges, and tangles.  And Morrigan must face them all while trying to piece together why North singled her out, selected her for a role she believes others more worthy of. Jessica Townsend has created a fabulous story which zigzags along a labyrinth of sudden bends, unexpected marvels and fantastic events. It’s a gripping, splendid read. Another must for senior primary students+.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Merry Christmas everyone...

Hi, Kay here - I’m thrilled to be posting on The Bookworm Blog during the Summer holiday school break. I hope to bring you reviews of lots of exciting books so keep checking in. All the books I’ll be reviewing are available from the Rotorua Public Library and if they’re already out to someone else, remember you can always place them on hold. And if you’re not already a member of the public library, parents and kids, please visit the library and join up together – membership is free to us living in Rotorua. Also, while you’re there, check out their awesome S.T.E.A.M. holiday programme.

Right, so to the books…..

First up, poetry: Poetry’s fantastic – it’s fun while making the ordinary extraordinary, and sometimes nudging us to think about the big stuff. Plus, I love the way poetry plays with words: mixing them up, making them up, turning them upside down, inside out, and generally using them in wonderfully creative and cool ways. 

The Letterbox Cat & Other Poems by Paula Green is one such book. Paula Green doesn’t just invent words but draws pictures with them – pictures that look like the subject of the poem – check out the poem ‘Rollercoaster’ and you’ll get the idea immediately. This kind of poetry is called concrete poetry. Try writing a poem like this – think of, say, a tree for example – a Christmas tree – and write a poem about what it looks like or what Christmas means for you. As you write, arrange the words into the shape of the tree. You may have to swap words out, or move them around slightly to create the shape, which is great, as creating with words is what being a poet is all about. Attach your poem to your Holiday Reading Log – all the teachers will love to read it!

Anyhow, to the book… The Letterbox Cat & Other Poems is a cracker! Often hilarious, sometimes wise and always imaginative, these poems will have you thinking up all sorts of wacky and wonderful creations.  Read them aloud, take turns reading them, and then read them all again.  Dip into it or read it cover to cover – it’s just brilliant!

Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark and Rowan Sommerset.

This has to be one of the funniest books ever! It won the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Children’s Choice Award and it’s so easy to see why.  The whole family will be rolling with laughter as Baa Baa, who just loves “mischief”, springs a surprise on Quirky Turkey.  I’ve seen this read aloud by two people – one as Baa Baa, the other as Quirky Turkey, and it’s just so gloriously funny. In fact, ‘funny’ isn’t a big enough word: it’s uproarious, it’s zingy, it’s seriously goofus! Read it – it’s poo-dles of fun, an absolute hoot! Hint, bags the Baa Baa character.
Next time look out for the review of Cressida Cowell's magnificent The Wizards of Once.

READ, READ, READ, even for just 20 minutes a day - and remember to fill in your Holiday Reading Logs. Happy Holidays...

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Hi there little bookworms!

How are you all?  I'm missing you coming to visit me every week!  Congratulations to those children who handed in their reading logs - I hope you all enjoy your pizza!

There are some FAB new books out at the moment. This is the best time of year for new books as the publishers put them out just in time for Christmas, which is only 44 days away!!!   The new book that I'm MOST excited about only came out yesterday.  It is by the wonderful David Walliams and is called The Midnight Gang.  It is about five kids who are stuck in hospital, and while other children are fast asleep, they become The Midnight Gang, on a quest for adventure.  But their journey is thwarted by the wicked matron and a cast of scary and hilarious characters.  I think I'm going to love it.  And I know you will too! 

But wait, there's more!  I know that heeeeeaaaps of you are big fans of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, so you will be very excited to know that there is a new book continuing the exploits of Greg Heffley.  Just watch, there is a new one every November - always something to look forward to. This one is called Double Down and is the eleventh book in the series.  Have a look at the video below - it's quite long, so check with Mum or Dad, but it features all sorts of interesting Wimpy Kid - an interview with Jeff Kinney, where he talks about writing the books, and where he gets his inspiration, videos, fan questions are answered, and the cover of the book is revealed.  Check it out!

This is what the blurb says, on the back of Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Double Down...

The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. The only thing he’s good at is playing video games, but his parents want him to broaden his horizons by doing something—anything!—else.

When Greg finds an old video camera in his basement, he thinks he may have discovered just the thing to prove he’s got big-time talent. With the help of his best friend, Rowley, Greg hatches a plan to make a scary movie . . . and to become rich and famous in the process.
But is doubling down on movie-making a smart plan? Or is it just a recipe for doubling Greg’s troubles?
Happy reading, kiddliwinks!