Books for the holidays

There’s nothing quite like a good book to keep children entertained for a while in the holidays! And these books will encourage them to use their imagination, open their eyes to the world around them, and learn about endangered birds in a playful way.

the-great-kiwi-abc-book-2The Great Kiwi ABC Book

In The Great Kiwi ABC Book all sorts of creatures are out and about enjoying our great outdoors.

There’s an action packed scenario on each letter page e.g.

  • C is for cows who have parked their caravan in a camping ground. Some are munching on chocolate while others are doing a crossword puzzle or watching a team of cats playing cricket.
  • P is for penguins picnicking under a pohutukawa tree  and feasting on  a pie , a pavlova  and a pineapple
  • T is for a turkey riding a tractor. A tui flies by. Some tuataras bounce on a trampoline while another one plays the trumpet in a tree house.

I think this will be the perfect picture book to give to my 5 year old grandnephew Casper. He is coming over from Luxembourg to stay with us these holidays and is sure to love Donovan’s quirky and humorous illustrations. He will enjoy telling stories about what all the different creatures are up to as well as searching for the kiwi which is hiding on every page. And he’ll master the alphabet at the same time.

Another plus:  it’s light enough to pack in his suitcase for the journey home.

Title: The Great Kiwi ABC Book. Author: Donovan Bixley. Publisher: Upstart Press. RRP $19.99

grandpas-wheeliesGrandad’s Wheelies

In Grandad’s Wheelies Jack has a holiday at his grandparents’ house. They have no TV or Internet so they keep him entertained with outrageously tall tales,

Jack loves both his grandparents dearly, but loves playing one of against the other even more! So every time Grandad tells a tale he runs off to repeat it to Grandma who then retaliates with an even taller tale!

Grandad brags how he built the first road all the way along the North Island using his wheelbarrow and his false teeth for diggers. Grandma retaliates by saying she invented the railway from Auckland to Wellington because Grandad had built the road so badly that every time it rained the mud was knee-deep and the cars got stuck.

Tale after tale follows, each more outrageous than the last.

One of my favourites is about the time Grandad made a fortune by digging a tunnel from NZ, all the way under the Tasman Sea, to Australia. Grandma blew half their money buying a race horse and training it for the Melbourne cup. But some Ocker conmen had sold her a racing kangaroo which leapt ahead of the others, lost interest halfway, chewed some grass and hopped in last.

If Jack doesn’t believe a word of it he’s not letting on!

In the last chapter Jack Lasenby returns to reality and this brings some depth and pathos to the book. When his Mum comes to pick him up he tells her he has noticed how Grandad’s hair is getting thin and the sun shone through it although he can still push him in his wheelbarrow. Jack also told him to come inside when it got cold because of his chest. They agree that both his Grandad and Grandma are getting old. All the more reason for him to spend time with them and enjoy their company now!

The illustrations by Bob Kerr are delightful especially the cover picture, of Grandad flying around in a helicopter he made out of a rotary clothesline.

School age children still love a bedtime story and they would love to have these stories read to them.

And as Grandad’s Wheelies is dedicated to all grannies and grandads who tell stories this may also be the time to think up some tall yarns of your own to keep your grandchildren amused.

Title: Grandad’s Wheelies. Author: Jack Lasenby. Imprint:  Puffin RRP: $16.99

i-am-an-artist-pback-cov-hr-170114I am an Artist

In I am an Artist a vivacious little pigtailed girl shows that if you use your imagination you can make art anywhere. And you don’t need paint or paper!

In the forest she finds fluffy lichen, twisty sticks, smooth stones and lacy leaf skeletons and makes an amazing creature. At the beach she collects salty shells, shapes sand and spreads curly seaweed out. In the rain her feet dance ringlet patterns in puddles. And on a sunny day she lies on the grass where the clouds are her paints and her imagination is her brush.

This is a charming story which might well inspire children (and grandparents) to try their hand at some of their own “environmental” art. They need go no further than their own back yard!

Title: I am an artist. Author: Nikki Slade Robinson. Publisher: Duck Creek Press. RRP: Hardback$29.99   Paperback, $19.99

dotterel-cover-grownupsThe Dotterels’ Last Stand (The almost true story of an Auckland bird family)

The Dotterels’ Last Stand is a story about two young dotterels who face many dangers in their search for the right place to nest.

Shoal Bay on Auckland’s North Shore was Sue Newman’s childhood playground. In the evening she would watch large flocks of birds winging their way up the harbour to roost for the night. Sadly, a sight long gone.

But her affection for the New Zealand Dotterel didn’t come until much later when she came to know this cute camouflaged bird while sailing around the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

As an 11 year old she had cycled along the almost completed harbour bridge motorway beside the area where much later she was to see a helicopter deposit the shells for the endangered dotterel nests. This event was the inspiration for her story: The Dotterels’ Last Stand. The striking illustrations by Paul A Willis are a very appealing part of this book,

As the dotterels go on their journey to search for a new home they visit many of Auckland landmarks including the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Lion Rock at Piha , Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower and Orakei marae. A map of these is included at the end of this book.

If you hopped in the car with your grandchildren and used this map as your guide you could have a very enjoyable day retracing the dotterels’ journey. And marvel at how their tenaciousness coupled with the good will of some humans allowed them to finally reach a safe nesting place,

Children aged 6yrs and over could also read this book by themselves.

For a copy of The Dotterel’s Last Stand contact Sue Newman at The RRP is $20.00.

You will be doing these endangered birds a favour as a percentage of the profits will be given to assist in the dotterel’s recovery.

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