Category Archives: children’s nonfiction

Win a copy of Get Coding!

Coding is one of those things that many kids, especially boys, are getting right into.  Although I run this blog I know very little about the technical stuff behind it.  I just don’t think my brain is wired that way.  There are some great new books being written about the ins and outs of coding, including Get Coding, written Young Rewired State, a world-wide community of digital-makers aged 18 years and under.

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Learn how to write code and then build your own website, app and game using HTML, CSS and JavaScript in this essential guide to coding for kids from expert organization Young Rewired State. Over 6 fun missions learn the basic concepts of coding or computer programming and help Professor Bairstone and Dr Day keep the Monk Diamond safe from dangerous jewel thieves. In bite-size chunks learn important real-life coding skills and become a technology star of the future. Young Rewired State is a global community that aims to get kids coding and turn them into the technology stars of the future.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Margaret.

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My Top August Kids & YA Releases

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Marge in Charge by Isla Fisher

Jemima and Jake’s new babysitter doesn’t look too promising. In fact she looks very sensible, very old and VERY small (she only comes up to daddy’s armpit!). But the moment their parents leave the house, Marge gives a mischievous wink, takes off her hat and reveals a marvellous mane of rainbow-coloured hair!

Marge really is a babysitter like no other and the children spend a wild evening with her – racing snails, slurping chocolate soup and mixing potions in the bath! But if Jake and Jemima want her to babysit again it’s time for them to take charge of Marge, tidy up and settle her down for a little sleep.

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The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson

Ruby Jane Galbraith is empty. Her family has been torn apart and it’s all her fault.

The only thing that makes sense to her is Fox – a gentle new friend who is wise, soulful and clever, yet oddly naive about the ways of the world. He understands what she’s going through and he offers her a chance to find peace. Fox belongs to a group called the Institute of the Boundless Sublime – and Ruby can’t stay away from him. So she is also drawn into what she discovers is a terrifying, secretive community that is far from the ideal world she expected.

Can Ruby find the courage to escape? Is there any way she can save Fox too? And is there ever an escape from the far-reaching influence of the Institute of the Boundless Sublime?

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Promising Azra by Helen Thurloe

Azra is sixteen, smart and knows how to get what she wants. She thinks. When she wins a place in a national science competition, she thinks her biggest problem is getting her parents’ permission to go. But she doesn’t know they’re busy arranging her marriage to an older cousin she’s never met. In Pakistan. In just three months’ time.

Azra always thought she’d finish high school with her friends and then go on to study science, but now her dreams of university are suddenly overshadowed. Can she find a way to do what she wants, while keeping her parents happy?

Or does being a good daughter mean sacrificing her freedom?

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A Message to the Sea by Alex Shearer

It’s been a year since Tom Pellow’s dad was lost at sea. He was a sailor and Tom also finds himself drawn to the vast ocean; it holds so many possibilities, dangers and secrets. After hearing a song on the radio, Tom decides to write a message in a bottle, and throw it out into the sea. To ‘cast his bread upon the waters’. He doesn’t really expect to hear back, but Tom keeps writing anyway, sending messages out on the tide and searching the waves for a reply. One day he finds one. It’s a letter that seems to be from a ghost, deep down in Davy Jones’s Locker – and the writer has a shocking answer to Tom’s question.

But if Tom’s dad didn’t perish at sea, where is he?

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With Malice by Eileen Cook

When Jill wakes up in a hospital bed with her leg in a cast, the last six weeks of her life are a complete blank. All she has been told is that she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy and had to be jetted home to receive intensive care. Care that involves a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident… wasn’t just an accident.

With no memory of what happened or what she did, can Jill prove her innocence? And can she really be sure that she isn’t the one to blame?

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The Great Dragon Bake Off by Nicola O’Byrne

At the Ferocious Dragon Academy, dragons-in-training learn the arts of bone crunching and teeth sharpening. But there is one dragon who harbours a passion for a most undragon-like pastime . . .

Meet Flamie Oliver. To look at, Flamie is as terrifying as a dragon can get. But behind closed doors, Flamie is . . . a stupendously spectacular Star Baker! That’s right – choux, rough, salty, sweet and puff – Flamie loves it all. In fact, he loves baking so much that his studies at the Ferocious Dragon Academy are starting to suffer, and there’s a chance he won’t graduate! Flamie’s going to need a real showstopper to get out of this one.

On your marks, get set . . . BAKE!

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Good Night Everyone by Chris Haughton

A series of exquisitely coloured cut pages of increasing size introduce woodland families – bears, deer, rabbits and teeny, tiny mice – who are all beginning to feel really… rather… tired… YAWN! “Dear me,” says Great Big Bear, “it must be time for bed!” But Little Bear is certainly not sleepy – he’s wide awake! (For now…) With sublime, starry night time scenes and an infectious yawny ‘Good night’ refrain, Chris Haughton creates a lulling bedtime read, perfect for parents and children to share together.

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Geis: A Matter of Life and Death by Alexis Deacon

Book one in gripping action, supernatural and historical fantasy graphic novel trilogy where souls battle in a contest to become the ruler of an island.

As the great chief matriarch lay dying, she gave one final decree: Upon her death there would be a contest. Having no heir of her own blood she called on the Gods. Let fate decide the one truly worthy to rule in her place. The rich, the strong, the wise, the powerful; many put forward their names in hope of being chosen. But when the night came… only fifty souls alone were summoned.

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The Curiosity Machine by Richard Newsome

With the strange plans for an even stranger machine in his possession, along with a coded message from a long-dead castaway that could be the key to unlocking its secrets, Gerald finds himself at the centre of a web of mystery and danger.

Masked gunmen have taken over his luxury yacht. His parents have been kidnapped. And one of his closest friends has betrayed him.

His old enemy Sir Mason Green seems to be pulling all the strings.

Or is he?

Gerald, Ruby, Sam and Felicity take off on their final exciting adventure, from glaciers to jungles and the depths of the Pacific Ocean to an island teeming with the most bizarre creatures on earth.

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The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Join Andy and Terry in their spectacular new 78-storey treehouse. They’ve added 13 new levels including a drive-thru car wash, a combining machine, a scribbletorium, an ALL-BALL sports stadium, Andyland, Terrytown, a high-security potato chip storage facility and an open-air movie theatre. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!

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Barking Mad by Tom E. Moffatt

At first, Fingers refuses to believe that his Granddad has gone BARKING MAD! But what straight-thinking grownup goes around LICKING the postman, growling like a dog and chasing hospital security guards up trees? And when Fingers and his sister Sally discover a BIZARRE machine in Granddads workshop, mix-ups turn into MIND-SWAPPING madness one look at Granddads dog DaVinci is proof of that!

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Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake

Giraffe is bored, as usual. He’d love a friend to share things with. So he writes a letter and sends it as far as possible across the other side of the horizon. There he finds a pen pal—Penguin.

Giraffe knows nothing about penguins and his letters are full of questions. What does a penguin look like? Where is a penguin’s neck?

And so the letters begin to fly from horizon to horizon.

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Gus’s Garage by Leo Timmers

One by one Gus’s friends bring him their vehicles and Gus solves their troubles with ingenious solutions—a cooling system made with a fridge that doubles as ice-cream machine, a burst of speed from a rocket blaster.

Soon the workshop is almost empty, but the last scraps might be just enough to solve Gus’s own problem at the end of a long day.

 

 

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What Dog Knows by Sylvia Vanden Heede, illustrated by Marije Tolman

How many times have you been reading a novel and desperately want to know more about the subject of the story?  I’ve read stories set in Venice and needed to know more about this magical place and read Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and needed to know more about the early days of movie making.  Usually you have to go to a completely different book or website to find the information you crave.  However, in a brilliant new book by Sylvia Vanden Heede and Marije Tolman, What Dog Knows, fiction and nonfiction are mashed together for the perfect book for inquisitive young readers.

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When Wolf finds a fact-filled book in the library, he thinks he will outsmart his clever cousin Dog.

Who knows more about robots, dragons, knights, and pirates?  And what about setting traps, playing tricks, and chewing bones?

What Dog Knows is a one-of-a-kind book that kids are going to gobble up. It’s a book that will make kids laugh and go ‘wow!’ It weaves the story of Dog and Wolf’s antics with information about all sorts of topics, from mummies to pirates and robots to dinosaurs.  Each section of the book focuses on different topics, with Dog and Wolf trying to one-up each other to prove they know more.  They are always picking up books to find out what they need to know. Fiction and nonfiction are presented in two different sized fonts but both weave together seamlessly.

There is a lot to love about What Dog Knows.  The conversations between Dog and Wolf are very funny and full of wit, so any adults who share this book with children will love it just as much as the children.  Boys especially will enjoy the humour and the jokes. Marije Tolman’s illustrations are quirky and perfectly compliment the text. Her diagram of Wolf mummifying a cat is brilliant. The thing I love the most about this book are the simple quizzes to test what readers have learnt and the activities for kids to try that tie in with each topic.

Thanks to Gecko Press for publishing this special book in English.  Without Gecko Press we wouldn’t know about all the wonderful books that are published in other languages. Gecko Press also published Wolf and Dog by the same team and hopefully there are other books to come starring these two characters.

Put What Dog Knows in the hands of all the young readers you know.  Not only will they be entertained, they’ll learn a thing or two along the way.

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Anzac Heroes by Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic

Maria Gill has introduced us to famous Kiwis from all walks of life, from climbers to politicians, sportspeople to movie stars.  Her two previous books, New Zealand Hall of Fame: 50 Remarkable Kiwis and New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame: 25 Kiwi Champions, are fantastic books and were finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.  In Maria’s latest book, Anzac Heroes, she tells the stories of the triumphs and tragedies of 30 heroic Australasians during World Wars One and Two.

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Anzac Heroes is an absolutely stunning book that highlights the courageous Anzacs who served in World War One and Two.  There are 30 Anzac heroes featured in the book, both Australian and New Zealand, men and women, soldiers in the army, navy and airforce as well as medics and spies.  There are people in the book who I’ve heard of before, like Charles Upham and Nancy Wake, but many more whose bravery I wasn’t aware of.

I love everything about Anzac Heroes, especially the design, layout and production. It’s hardcover, so you know it’s going to last for ages, especially as it is going to get read over and over again.  The cover, featuring Marco’s stunning, realistic illustrations really stands out.  The heroes standing on the cover dare you to open the book and discover their story.  Once inside, the contents page clearly shows you how to navigate the book and who you’ll discover.  The book is split up into World War One and World War Two, with background on each war which includes a detailed map (that boys especially will love) and a timeline of events.  Each of the heroes has a double-page profile that details their war-time exploits, along with a handy timeline with key dates and events.

My favourite aspect of this book is the key at the top of each page.  It tells you which country the person is from, which service they were in (i.e. army, navy, medic), and has photos of each of the medals they were awarded.  Each hero also has a detailed explanation about why they received a particular medal.  Lt. Col. Sir Peter Buck, for example, received a DSO (Companion of the Distinguished Service Order) for his role in commanding his troops.  In the back of the book you’ll also find the Medal Room, which has photos of the medals tells you their names.

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Maria knows her audience extremely well and makes history come alive.  This is the sort of book that kids will pick off the shelf and read from cover to cover because it is so appealing.  Boys in particular will sit with this book for hours, pouring over the maps and the medals.  Marco’s illustrations are superb and are the perfect match for this book.  I certainly felt that some of these heroes were looking right at me. You can even see the sweat beads and the stubble on their faces.  When you look at the photos of some of them, you see how spot-on Marco’s illustrations are.

Anzac Heroes is a perfect nonfiction book for children.  It shows you how exciting nonfiction can be.  Nothing online could beat this book!  Rush out and get a copy for your home and your school now.

 

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Interview with Maria Gill

Maria Gill is one of our queens of children’s nonfiction in NZ.  She has written some fantastic books for all ages and on many different topics, from dogs to Kiwi and volcanoes to politics.  Some of Maria’s most recent books have profiled remarkable Kiwis from all walks of life.  In Maria’s latest book, Anzac Heroes, she tells the stories of the triumphs and tragedies of 30 heroic Australasians during World Wars One and Two.

I had a few questions about Anzac Heroes and Maria Gill kindly offered to answer them for me.  Maria talks about some of the extraordinary men and women she discovered while writing her book and the collaboration process with Marco Ivancic.  Thanks for joining me Maria!

  • Who is the ANZAC that fascinated you the most?

Hard to pin down to one. Charlie Upham, perhaps. Not just for his bravery on the field – he sacrificed his life many times for his men and the Anzac army – but also, for his tenaciousness at trying to escape prisoner of war camps eight times! When he came back to New Zealand, locals had fundraised and bought him a farm to thank for his service to his country. He refused it. As far as he was concerned, unless they were going to give a farm to all the soldiers, he wasn’t going to be singled out for a gift. Australian Joice Loch was another.

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  • Did you have a personal connection with any of the heroes in your book?

None of the heroes are relatives or friends’ relatives. However, Albert Knight’s story touched me personally. It was very difficult finding any information about Aboriginal soldier Albert Knight. I only found two sentences online about his life. There were no archived newspaper stories about him. Sadly Aboriginal soldier stories have gone unreported. I had to find his family and speak to them. I only had his surname and the town he was born in over 120 years ago. I rang many phone numbers until I found a family member. That person put me on another family member, and they told me to ring another. Between Albert’s relatives, I pieced together his life story. There was a lovely outcome that came out of talking to his family – read his story to find out.

  • How did you choose the heroes to be featured in your book?

First I had to define ‘what is a hero’. Then I had criteria. I wanted Army, Navy, and Air Force servicemen. They had to have a range of jobs within those military forces and fight in different places so that I was covering as many of the wartime arenas as possible. Next I wanted four indigenous soldiers: two Aboriginal and two Maori. Lastly, I wanted to include women. Women couldn’t fight in the two wars, but the five women I chose were incredibly brave while operating in the war zones as ambulance drivers, doctors, nurses, rescuing refugees or as a spy. It means there aren’t just Anzac soldiers in the book, but in the Introduction, I say why I included all the others.

  • We hear so much about the male heroes but your book also features some incredible female heroes.  Can you tell us a little about one of these amazing women?

Dr. Jessie Scott was a young doctor from Canterbury. When she received a personal invitation from the Scottish Women’s Hospital to work in Europe – she caught the first boat out. She had been working in a hospital close to the frontline when the Austrians then Germans invaded Serbia. She and the other doctors decided not to desert their patients. Instead, they stayed. The Germans crammed Jessie and the other nurses and doctors into a train carriage with little food or water. For several weeks, they were taken from one country to the next while the American Red Cross negotiated with the Germans for their release. When they arrived back in London and Jessie was interviewed about her ordeal, she perkily said the Germans had treated them well, and they had enjoyed the scenery. They had only eaten once a day, slept on straw, and the Germans had taken most of their possessions off them. Jessie’s story didn’t end there, though…

  • What was your collaboration process like for this book? Did you work closely with Marco Ivancic?

I worked closely with the illustrator and designer of the book. For Marco, I took photographs at museums in Australia and New Zealand so he could use them for photo reference when drawing the pictures.  I also spent a day with an Army re-enactment group and took photographs of them doing a drill, acting out a war scene, and holding different guns. They kindly stood still in poses while I took photographs of them at all angles. Marco had asked for close-ups of details on their clothing, how they held a gun and expressions on their faces. The re-enactment group even stood in formation so Marco could see the stance and angles for the front cover illustration. For designer Luke Kelly I gathered different maps of Europe during WWI and WWII and marked in battle zones. I also found all the medals for the heroes, and for the medal page. Sometimes I could not get the real medals that belonged to that hero so had to line single medal images up in order and send to Luke. Luke, Jack Hayes (New Zealand military expert) and I put a lot of work into those medals! I also collaborated with different experts, museums, and Creative NZ enabled it to happen with their grant.

  • What does ANZAC Day mean to you? How do you celebrate it?

I believe Anzac Day recognises not only the sacrifice men and women made during the different wars but also the kinship between Australia and New Zealand while fighting. Common themes that resonated throughout the different Australian and New Zealand stories were their comradeship, incredible bravery, modesty, and down-to-earthness. Leaders fought with their men instead of sitting in their offices. It shows how alike Australians and New Zealanders are, compared to other nationalities.

I’m going to attend my first Anzac Day dawn parade this year. I have to confess my only interest, before writing this book, was in reading war stories. I love adventure stories where the hero survives at incredible odds. Most of the heroes in ‘Anzac Heroes’ fit that category.

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Anzac Heroes by Maria Gill, illustrated by Marco Ivancic is available now from Scholastic New Zealand.

 

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My Most Anticipated October Kids & YA Releases from Walker Books

The River and the Book by Alison Croggon

In our village we had two treasures: the River, which was our road and our god; and the Book, which was our history, our oracle and our soul. Simbala is a Keeper of the Book, the latest in a long line of women who can read the Book to find answers to the villagers’ questions. As developers begin to poison the river on which the villagers rely, the Book predicts change. But this does not come in the form that they expect; it is the sympathetic Westerner who comes to the village who inflicts the greatest damage of all.

Timmy Failure: Sanitized for your Protection by Stephan Pastis

Everyone’s favourite kid detective is back in award-winning author Stephan Pastis’s fourth book in the Timmy Failure series, perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser. Shenanigans abound as Timmy Failure finds himself on a road trip with none other than notorious criminal Molly Moskins. Travelling halfway across the country to help your mother’s boyfriend settle into his new job would be inconvenient for any detective, let alone the founder, president and CEO of Total Failure Inc, the world’s greatest detective agency. Timmy has a case to solve, and nothing can stand in his way. If he is to arrest Corrina Corrina and solve the YIP YAP case, Timmy, his sidekick polar bear Total, and Molly Moskins must go on the run!

The Iliad by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer

The team behind The Odyssey now tell the story of the Trojan War. Cross’s vivid adaptation begins with a beauty contest: the prize, a golden apple. In return for securing her victory, the goddess Aphrodite helps Prince Paris abduct Helen, wife to the king of Sparta. Enraged, the king and his Greek allies wage war on the Trojans. Nine years later, the fighting still rages on, but the Greeks are beginning to quarrel among themselves – Achilles and Agamemnon’s petty argument has dire consequences for everyone caught in the crossfire. Neil Packer’s pictures capture the beauty and remoteness of the setting, and bring a profound humanity to one of the finest literary achievements of Greek civilisation.

Counting Lions by Katie Cotton and Stephen Walton

Larger-than-life black and white drawings are paired with poetic texts that reveal the ways in which endangered creatures – including lions, elephants, giraffes, tigers, gorillas, penguins, Ethiopian wolves, macaws, turtles and zebras – live on Earth. Artworks by wildlife artist Stephen Walton are rendered in charcoal and give little ones the chance to get up close and personal with nature’s wildest creatures. Virginia McKenna – actress and wildlife campaigner – has written a foreword which urges us to look at the beauty of these animals and do all we can to save them.

My Dead Bunny by Sigi Cohen and James Foley

“My dead bunny’s name is Brad; his odour is extremely bad. He visits me when I’m in bed, but Bradley wasn’t always dead …” A hilarious rhyming tale about a zombie bunny who comes back to visit his owner.

National Theatre: All About Theatre

The book is packed with interviews with famous directors and actors, like Lenny Henry, Meera Syal, Julie Walters and Ben Whishaw, and productions like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and One Man, Two Guvnors. Hear from experts at the world-famous National Theatre about every aspect of stagecraft, including prop-making, set building and lighting design, and discover, from first idea to final curtain, how plays are made.

Santa’s Reindeer by Tom Duxbury, Matilda Tristram and Nick Sharratt

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa and Reindeer are about to deliver the presents. But then Reindeer loses his nose! Polar Bear, Seal and Penguin haven’t seen it. Can Reindeer find his missing nose before it’s too late?

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Historium by Jo Nelson and Richard Wilkinson

We love museums in my family.  For me they’ve always been a multi-sensory experience, taking in everything with your eyes but also breathing in that special museum smell of ancient clothing, animals, vehicles and artifacts.  Museums are places that you can spend hours in, soaking up the information and discovering what it would have been like to live 50, 100 or even thousands of years ago.  An incredible new book by Jo Nelson and Richard Wilkinson packs this museum experience in to a book that will keep kids and adults alike occupied for hours.

Discover more than 140 exhibits in this virtual museum, open all hours

Welcome to the museum! Here you will find a collection of objects from ancient civilisations. Objects of beauty, objects of functionality, objects of war, objects of life, and objects of death and burial.

As you wander from room to room, explore the magnificence of what civilisations have left behind over thousands of years of human history.

Historium is an incredible book, filled with artifacts from ancient civilisations from around the world.  There is so much information in this book and it’s set out in a unique way.  The whole book is set out like a museum that you hold in your hands.  You start at the entrance, which welcomes you to the Historium, explains what Archaeology is and gives you a fantastic timeline of the objects in the Historium (my son would love this on his bedroom wall).  Jo and Richard then take us through the varies galleries, from Africa to America, the Middle East to Oceania.  We finish up in the Library, with the indexes, image credits and a little information about the curators of the Historium.

Jo Nelson’s text is detailed but simple enough for children aged 9 and up.  Jo gives a basic introduction to each of the galleries and civilisations and then provides descriptions of each of the artifacts from that civilisation.  There is a good selection of different types of artifacts, from statues and coins to armour.  There is something in this book to interest everyone, but children (and adults) who love history and archaeology will be absolutely rapt.  Richard’s illustrations are extremely detailed and are absolutely stunning.  The illustrations look so realistic that it almost looks like you could reach out and touch them.  Richard has created his illustrations using a photograph of the artifacts as a reference and there is a list of all the museums in the back of the book.

One of the things that I really love about this book is that it covers Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.  So many of these big historical nonfiction books miss out our side of the world and I think it’s important for our kids to know about their history.

The best thing about Historium is the production of the book. It is a beautiful hardback and the pages are thick, which will help it to last all the repeated reading and viewing.  It is also a huge book!  It’s a book that you really need to rest on a table or on the floor to read.  This means that the illustrations are really large too and you can see all the details of the artifacts.  You really feel like you are holding something special and valuable in your hands.

Grab a copy of the incredible Historium from you library or bookshop now.

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I Can’t Wait For…The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

I’m a huge Shaun Tan fan.  I love his stories and his artwork is always stunning.  The Arrival is one of my absolute favourite books because of the way that Shaun tells his incredible story using just illustrations.  I was excited to hear that Allen and Unwin were going to be publishing a very special Shaun Tan book in October, The Singing Bones.  It is a collection of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and it’s unlike any of Shaun’s previous books as he has created sculptures to illustrate each fairy tale.  I’ll be reviewing it soon and I hope to be able to show you some of the spreads from inside the book.

In this beautifully presented volume, the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm is wonderfully evoked by Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures.

Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.

The Singing Bones is published by Allen and Unwin in October.  You won’t want to miss this incredible book!

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Thunderbirds Are Go!

Are you a Thunderbirds fan?  Whether you love the original TV show or the reboot you’ll love these fantastic new books from Hachette New Zealand.

Official Guide Book

This official guide to Thunderbirds Are Go has all the information a new recruit needs.  Learn all about the history, vehicles and daring rescues in this definitive guide to International Rescue.

Sticker Activity Book

Are you ready to test your knowledge in this Thunderbirds Are Go Sticker Activity Book? From Sudoku and logic puzzles to a giant wordsearch and poster spread, this activity book is perfect for any International Rescue recruit.  Intelligence and reasoning are at the centre of every rescue and this book will test yours with these brain-bending activities.  So, if you think you have the skills to join the Tracy brothers then get your pens ready!

Crosscut Book

High radiation levels have been detected over Southern Africa – and are rising dangerously fast.  Can International Rescue find a way to stop the radiation leak and not get trapped in the treacherous mine? Find out in Crosscut, the first thrilling adventure – with free removable pop-up Thunderbird 1.

I love both the original series and the new CGI reboot so I was very excited to see these books.  They’re perfect for kids of all ages who enjoy the show.  The Official Guide Book is my favourite of these new books and it’s chock full of information about the characters and the vehicles.  There are profiles of each of the Tracy brothers, including info about their personalities and their responsibilities, and there are also profiles of new characters and vehicles.  I gave this book to my 11 year old sons and they were occupied for ages, poring over all the details and imagining their own adventures as the Tracy brothers. The sticker book is full of fun activities to keep kids entertained.  It contains over 50 awesome stickers (that I’m going to stick all over my notebook).  The Crosscut book is a great storybook for young Thunderbirds fans. It’s one of the stories from the TV series, but in book form.  The thing I love most about this book is the free 3D model of Thunderbird 1 that comes with the book and is super easy to assemble.

I hope there are plenty more Thunderbirds books to come (with other 3D models to collect).  Grab these fantastic books for the Thunderbirds fans in your life.

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Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman

You know sometimes when you see a book and instantly fall in love?  I had one of those moments recently when I laid my eyes on Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman.  I first saw this book on one of my favourite book websites, Love Reading 4 Kids and the cover really caught my eye.  When I finally got my hands on a copy of the book from my library I fell in love.  Excuse me while I gush over this book.

Creaturepedia is a visually stunning book about creatures from all over the world.  The book’s by-line is ‘Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth,’ and it’s not wrong.  Adrienne Barman introduces us to creatures great and small, huge and miniscule. Adrienne has split the book up into different sections, with names like ‘The Champion Breath-Holders,’ ‘The Masters of Camoflage,’ and The Show-Offs.’  The beauty of this book though is that it is perfect for dipping in and out of.  You could pick any page at random and it would make you go ‘Wow!’  Curious children could flick to ‘The Lilliputians’ and discover that the Bee Hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird at 5.7cm long or that the Dwarf Gecko is the world’s smallest reptile at 1.6cm long.

The text in the book is sparse, letting the reader focus on the gorgeous illustrations that portray these creatures.  Children will discover creatures that they never knew existed and will want to find out more about them.  Adrienne’s illustrations are vibrant, quirky and fun.  Each of the creatures has its own unique personality.  Take a look at just a couple of the page spreads from the book:

Artwork credit: This is an excerpt from Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman, published by Wide Eyed Editions.

Artwork credit: This is an excerpt from Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman, published by Wide Eyed Editions.

Before you even open the book you can tell you’re holding a work of art in your hands.  The publisher of Creaturepedia, Wide Eyed Editions, clearly knows what makes a great book.  The love that went into producing this book is evident, from the hardcover to the binding and the vibrant colours to the high-quality paper.

Get your hands on a copy of Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman and fall in love with this stunning book!

Creaturepedia is just one of the gorgeous books published by Wide Eyed Editions (distributed in Aus/NZ by Allen and Unwin).  Check out their website now.

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Filed under animals, children, children's nonfiction