Tag Archives: Book Island

Sir Mouse to the Rescue by Dirk Nielandt, illustrated by Marjolein Pottie

Mouse has a sword. She wears a suit of armour. She is a knight. She is bold Sir Mouse.

Dragon does not have a sword. She does not wear a suit of armour. She is just Dragon.

Knights fight dragons. But Mouse and Dragon never fight each other. Mouse and Dragon are best friends.

Join Mouse and Dragon as they rescue Prince, outwit Cat, have a fancy dress party and find out all about friendship, knighthood and the true meaning of happy every after.

Sir Mouse to the Rescue is my favourite of new local publisher Book Island’s launch titles.  It’s a collection of five funny tales about an unusual friendship between a mouse (who is also a knight) and a dragon.  The wit and humour of Dirk Nielandt’s stories will appeal just as much (if not more) to adults as children.  The conversations between these two wonderful characters will have you and your children laughing out loud.

“Maybe I can rescue Prince,” says Dragon.
Mouse bursts out laughing.  “Don’t be so silly,” she says.
“You are Dragon, not a knight.  You you ever read books?”
“No,” Dragon admits.
“Exactly,” says Mouse.  “Who rescues the prince in books?”
“Um…” Dragon says.
“It’s always the knight, never the dragon,” says Mouse.

Apart from the conversations between Mouse and Dragon, the thing I like the most about this book is that roles are reversed.  Sir Mouse is a girl, it’s the prince stuck in the tower not the princess, and a knight and a dragon are friends not enemies.  I especially like the last story in which Prince asks Sir Mouse to marry him.  Sir Mouse puts on a dress and considers living happily ever after, but she decides,

“I want to live happily ever after.
But I don’t want to be a Princess.
I wear a suit of armour. I have a sword.
I am a knight. I am bold Sir Mouse.”

Marjolein Pottie’s illustrations, which were created by a combination of collage and paper-cutting technique, are absolutely stunning.  I love the different patterns that Marjolein has used for Dragon’s scales and the paper-cut illustrations are a very effective way of telling the story.  This beautifully produced book is finished off nicely with the patterned end-papers.

Sir Mouse to the Rescue is perfect for reading aloud or for newly independent readers to read by themselves.  The stories are short and funny, and the text is broken up into blocks to make it easier for children to read.  This is the first of a series of stories about Mouse and Dragon so I hope we’ll get to read more soon.  Get a copy of Sir Mouse to the Rescue from www.bookisland.co.nz from 11 November.

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Picture Book Nook: Bernie and Flora by Annemie Berebrouckx

Bernie the bear and Flora the duck have been best friends for a long, long time. They enjoy the same things and love to work together in Bernie’s garden, where he grows the most beautiful flowers.

But one day, Flora arrives at Bernie’s house to find that his flowers have all disappeared! And there’s no sign of Bernie either.

Who has taken the flowers? And why? Flora turns detective and questions Bernie’s friends. What she eventually discovers is even more beautiful than Bernie’s garden …

Bernie and Flora, always and forever.

Bernie and Flora is a sweet story about love and friendship.  It’s a story that makes you smile from ear to ear, not only because it’s a very happy story, but because of the feelings that Annemie captures so perfectly.  Her text is wonderful and she uses some beautiful language, like when Bear breathes in the scent of the flowers and ‘feels the joys of spring tickling inside his tummy.’  I love the way that Annemie describes their relationship,

‘They share their little secrets, and their big ones, too.
They love to talk, but being quiet together can be fun as well.’

Annemie’s illustrations are quite simple but she makes good use of the white space and the flowers in Bearnie and Flora’s gardens add splashes of colour.  I like the way that she has given each of the animals a personality, no matter how small a part they may have in the story.  I love Annabel the sheep in her colourful dressing gown and Mo the crow in his paper hat.

There are some quirky wee details at the end of the story too, that make the book extra special.  There is an explanation of Bernie and Flora’s names and a list of different flowers explaining what each of them means.  The book also comes with a colouring page so you can create your own Bernie and Flora masterpiece.

Bernie and Flora is one of those picture books (similar to the wonderful Donkeys from Gecko Press) that I can see adults buying as presents for loved ones.  Although children will enjoy the story, adults will appreciate the message of the story more.

You can get your copy from www.bookisland.co.nz from 11 November.

4 out of 5 stars

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Picture Book Nook: Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich by Lorraine Francis

Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich is one of the first three titles from new local publisher, Book Island.  The books will be launched on Sunday 11 November at Raumati South Memorial Hall on the Kapiti Coast.

Sammy is a little boy with a huge appetite. The enterprising toddler feels like eating the biggest, tallest sandwich in the world, so he pulls out all the stops. The sandwich soon grows taller than he is, but fortunately there’s a ladder. Sammy saws holes through the ceilings and carries on stacking his sandwich. He can make it even higher by going through the skylight, and with the help of a crane he’s able to top off this creation with an olive and a sprig of parsley. And then … Sammy feels like having a banana.

Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich is a picture book bursting with imagination (and sandwich ingredients).  Lorraine Francis’ story is simple and one that kids can relate to, but it also fires their imagination.  It gets you thinking about what ingredients you would use if you were making the world’s biggest sandwich and how tall you would be able to make it without it falling down. You could have a great discussion about whether or not the different ingredients in Sammy’s sandwich would go together well.

Pieter Gaudesaboos’ illustrations are a visual delight.  There is so much to look at on each page, from different types of food to the weird and wonderful objects in Sammy’s attic. The page where Sammy lays out all the ingredients for his sandwich makes my mouth water so you probably shouldn’t read this book when you’re hungry.  I really like all the contraptions that Pieter has created for Sammy to help him build his monstrous sandwich, like his remote control aeroplane for spreading the bread, the fishing line for adding sprinkles to the top, and his crane to help him finish it all off.  My favourite illustration is right at the end when we see the sandwich from bottom to top, and I’m sure children will gaze at it in wonder.  I love the design of the book too, because it’s big and has sturdy cardboard pages.  It isn’t really a board book though (in the traditional sense) because the story is aimed at preschoolers.

Both parents and children will love the ending and will want to go and help Sammy build another skyscraper sandwich.  Grab a copy of Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich from your library or bookshop.

 

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Introducing new local publisher – Book Island

When I was contacted recently by Greet Pauwelijn introducing me to her new local publishing company, Book Island, I was very excited.  Apart from the fact that her company has a FANTASTIC name, I was excited because she told me that they will be publishing the very best Dutch children’s books in English.  I absolutely love the first three books that they will be publishing and you will love sharing them with the children in your life.  You can read more about Book Island’s first books and Greet’s journey to realising her dream below.
Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich, Sir Mouse to the Rescue and Bernie and Flora are three stunning picture books soon to be released by Book Island, an up-and-coming children’s book publisher located in the Kapiti Coast.
Owner and publisher Greet Pauwelijn’s goal is not only to publish outstanding children’s books in English and Dutch, but also to add an extra dimension to the stories by organising activities inspired by them – enabling children’s enjoyment of each book to extend far beyond its pages.
In Book Island’s first title, Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich, a small boy builds the biggest sandwich in the world. Following in his footsteps, we invite you to come and help us build our own gigantic sandwich at the book’s launch on 11 November using recyclable materials – bring your own recyclables and see how high we can get!  There will also be exciting activities based on Sir Mouse to the Rescue, which chronicles the adventures of Mouse, a stubborn knight and her long-suffering friend Dragon, and Bernie and Flora, a heart-warming tale of friendship and flowers.
The publication of these three titles will fittingly mark the three-year anniversary of Greet and her family’s move to New Zealand – a country, she says, that has been incredibly supportive of her endeavour to become a children’s publisher.
The inspiration for this career move came as Greet was translating New Zealand author Barbara Else’s The Travelling Restaurant (Gecko Press, 2011) for a Belgian publishing house. “While translating this book – my first from English to Dutch – I suddenly realised that, instead of telling other publishers about possible bestsellers, I might as well translate and publish these books myself.”
Publishers, editors and translators were all fortuitously present in Greet’s social circle – “Even our accountant had been working in publishing for years!” she laughs. “I also met a publishing consultant while waiting at the traffic lights in Wellington, and my son’s friend’s parents turned out to be well-known book designers here…”
Greet says it felt “like lucky stars were falling from the sky”, and knew that she’d made the right move. She welcomes you and your family to join her on 11 November to celebrate both the release of these books and the beginning of a new chapter in the Book Island journey.

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