Lyn Potter reviews three kids’ books

Dozer the Fire Cat

Dozer the Fire CatDozer the Fire Cat

Dozer the Fire Cat, a new Picture Book by Robyn Prokop, is a New Zealand story based on a true event.  The Wakefield Volunteer Fire Brigade’s Cat Dozer went missing when wildfires broke out in Nelson in 2019 and 3,500 people had to be evacuated. But he is safely back home with his family now.

The story starts when the family has to evacuate as the sky grows red and the air smells thick with smoke. The police warn them to only take their most precious possessions. As they hurriedly pack up, they keep calling for Dozer to come home so they can take him with them.

But Dozer busy doing what cats do, stalking, pouncing, washing and sleeping and doesn’t come. And so, the family has no option but to leave without him. They do not give up and search for him at the evacuation centre where many other animals have been taken, but there is no sight of him.

When Dozer finally wakes up the sky is filled with fire and smoke, the wind howls fanning the flames, and he is frightened and all alone. But Dozer is a survivor and there is a happy ending to this story.

Dozer the Fire Cat will be especially enjoyed by all families who are cat lovers. It has been illustrated by Jenny Cooper. She has captured Dozer’s changing emotions as he goes through his ordeal perfectly.

It is a very relevant book right now when the hot summers are making our landscape dry and the danger of forest fires is increasing. Animals too are very much at risk in such disasters. In Australia, a horrifying one billion have died so far as a result of wildfires this summer.

The book is dedicated to our wonderful firefighters and volunteers who work so hard to keep New Zealand safe.

Dozer the Fire Cat by Robyn Prokop is illustrated by Jenny Cooper. Publisher: Scholastic. RRP $18.99

Blong the Cat Front CoverBlong the Cat’s Costume Caper

Blong the Cat has been invited to a wedding and he needs something special to wear. Emma offers to take him shopping. Ethan her twin brother reluctantly agrees to join them, but he hates shopping. His bad mood soon shows.

As Blong tries on a series of costumes and creates a little dance to go with each Emma says she loves them all and tells him he looks amazing, handsome, fetching, handsome, pretty, cute and adventurous. But Ethan puts a damper on each choice.

Blong keeps trying to win Ethan’s approval. But nothing works and Blong finally dissolves into tears with all the costumes scattered on the ground around him.

It is high time for Emma to have a talk to her brother and make him realise how much he has hurt Blong’s Feelings,

Ethan gets the message and feels bad. Fortunately, it is not too late for him to make amends and ensure there is a happy ending.

The message behind this story is that mean words can cause harm, kind words can heal.

This is the first stand-alone book about Blong the cat. It will appeal especially to those who have met him before in one of Karen McMillan’s popular Elastic Island Adventures series and to young children who love cats. They will enjoy the brightly coloured illustrations of the loveable Blong dressed up in a series of costumes.

Blong the Cat’s Costume Caper is by Karen McMillan. Illustrated by Dmitry Chizhov. Duckling Publishing. RRP $19.99

Cornelia and the Jungle MachineCornelia and the Jungle Machine

Cornelia and the Tree House is a beautifully illustrated Picture Book by Nora Brech about a little girl who invents an imaginary friend.

Cornelia is terribly unhappy about shifting into the new family home, a multi-storey Gothic mansion in the countryside, as there is no-one for her to play with. Her parents are far too busy unpacking to want to put up with her complaints and tell her to go outside. Accompanied by her small dog she walks disconsolately through the forest. Then she spots a ladder hanging from a tall tree and decides to climb it. At the very top there is a treehouse. On its deck a boy is lazily swinging in a hammock

“Hi there, I’m Fredrik.  I wondered who was moving into the old house,” he says.

Cornelia is amazed to discover he is living there all by himself surrounded by his many wonderful inventions which he is more than happy to show off. The best one of all is his jungle machine which transports them to a magical rainforest filled with strange jungle creatures. Here they go sailing in a boat, take a flight on a brightly coloured bird, swing on vines and eat juicy red tropical fruits

Eventually it is time for her to go home. But Frederik says he is welcome to come back any time. Cornelia decides to keep her new friend a secret so her parents think it must have been the walk which has put her in a good mood.

The words in this book are few. It is the wonderfully detailed illustrations of so many intriguing inventions for children to discover which make it so special.  It is a book that will stir their imagination!

Cornelia and the Jungle Machine is by Nora Brech. Publisher: Gecko Press. RRP $29.99

Reviews by Lyn Potter

Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook

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