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Attention Rick Riordan Fans – Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is coming!

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarök, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . .

Rick Riordan fans the world over (including me) will be jumping up and down with this exciting news – Rick Riordan has a brand new series coming out in October, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.  This new series focuses on Norse mythology.  Here’s what Rick Riordan says about the series:

‘I’ve always wanted to do something based on Norse mythology, but Percy Jackson happened to be the story that sprang to life first because my son was interested in Greek mythology at the time. Still, the idea for Magnus Chase has been with me for years. I have outlines of the general premise going back to at least 2007. In a very satisfying way, this series is coming full circle for me. Norse mythology turned me into a reader. Now, at last, I get to do my own take on it as a novelist.’

I love Norse mythology so I will be eagerly awaiting this new series.  I can’t wait to see Rick Riordan’s take on Odin, Loki and the other Norse gods!

The Sword of Summer is released in New Zealand by Penguin Random House on 7 October 2015.

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My Most Anticipated Kids and YA July Releases from Text Publishing

Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray

Molly has a strange life. Her mama collects herbs at dawn and makes potions, her father and brothers have gone away, and her house feels like a gyspy caravan.

Molly doesn’t want to know anything about herbs and potions. She wishes she could be more like her best friend, Ellen, who has a normal family and a normal house. But she is also secretly interested in Pim, who is inquisitive and odd and a little bit frightening.

When Molly’s mama makes a potion that has a wild and shocking effect, Molly and Pim look for a way to make things right, and Molly discovers the magic and value of her own unusual life.

Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars

Afterlife by Rebecca Lim

From the acclaimed author of the Mercy series and The Astrologer’s Daughter.

Since her parents died in a freak motorbike accident, Sophie Teague’s life has fallen apart.

But she’s just enrolled at a new high school, hoping for a fresh start.

That’s until Eve, a beautiful ghost in black, starts making terrifying nightly appearances, wanting Sophie to be her hands, eyes and go-to girl.

There are loose ends that Eve needs Sophie to tie up. But dealing with the dead might just involve the greatest sacrifice of all.

Afterlight

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Chris Riddell – Children’s Laureate 2015-2017

It was fantastic to wake up to the news that Chris Riddell has been named the UK Children’s Laureate for 2015-2017.  Chris is the nineth laureate and follows in the footsteps of such giants of the children’s literature world as Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Brown and Anne Fine. Chris Riddell is a fantastic illustrator who has worked with Neil Gaiman, Russell Brand, Martin Jenkins, and most notably with Paul Stewart on their Edge Chronicles series. Has also written and illustrated his own books, including the Ottoline series, the Goth Girl series, and the picture books The Emperor of Absurdia and Wendel’s Workshop.

His plan for his two-year post as Children’s Laureate is to encourage people to draw every day, he’ll post a daily illustration on his online ‘laureate log,’ and he wants to “to celebrate librarians at the heart of our schools.”

If you don’t follow Chris Riddell online you really should.  He posts some of his wonderful illustrations to his Facebook and Twiiter pages.  Follow him or http://www.facebook.com/chris.riddell2.

Check out the Love Reading 4 Kids UK Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lovereading4kids) as Chris has illustrated each of the previous Children’s Laureates .  They are absolutely wonderful illustrations!

Here is my virtual book display of some great books by Chris Riddell.

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The Deadly Seven by Garth Jennings

What would life be like if you were followed around by seven noisy, smelly, rude monsters? And not just any monsters, but seven monsters who represent the seven deadly sins.  Garth Jennings shows us just how weird, silly and embarrassing it would be in his book The Deadly 7.

The Deadly 7When eleven year-old Nelson’s beloved big sister goes missing on a school trip, he is devastated – he’s not that good at making friends and his sister is the only person he can talk to. In the dark catacombs of St Paul’s cathedral Nelson stumbles across a strange and ancient machine, designed to extract the seven deadly sins and Nelson accidentally extracts seven deadly monsters from his own little soul. Nelson and the Deadly 7 set out on a quest across the globe to find and rescue his big sister and on the way they have an adventure beyond Nelson’s wildest dreams, and he learns that good friends come in all shapes and sizes.

The Deadly Seven is a funny adventure story, with a bunch of funny monsters that you’ll love.  The action is fast-paced and makes you want to keep reading.  The first chapter totally grabbed me as it’s really mysterious and features a rather odd character who we see more of throughout the book.  The Deadly 7 are made up of Stan (the angry one), Nosh (the hungry one), Crush (the cuddly one), Hoot (the vain one), Miser (the greedy one), Puff (the lazy one), and Spike (the jealous one).  No one can see them but Nelson so that makes for some very funny situations (at airport security and inside a plane just to name a couple).  The scene in the airport was my favourite part and I always read it to school groups as it has them laughing out loud.  My favourite of the monsters was Nosh as he’s always hungry and it’s amazing what he can fit in his mouth.

It’s perfect for fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce and Cressida Cowell and any readers that a dash of humour and adventure in their books.

Recommended for 9+

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I Can’t Wait For…Soon by Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman’s Once , and the sequels Then, Now and After, are some of my favourite books.  As soon as I started reading Felix’s story I felt like he was my best friend and I wanted everything to work out for him.  If you haven’t read this brilliant series yet (you really should) it’s about Felix, a boy growing up in Poland during World War Two.  His story is heartbreaking and harrowing and Morris Gleitzman really tugs on your heartstrings.  I wrote a post back in 2013 about the books that hold a special place in my heart and these books certainly do.

I heard Morris Gleitzman talk at the Auckland Writers Festival about Felix and his story.  Morris told us that he’s not ready to let Felix go yet (which I can totally understand) and that he has 7 books planned in this sequence.  That means we still have 3 books to look forward to about Felix.  The next book in the sequence is Soon, coming this month from Penguin Random House.  Here is the blurb:

I hoped the Nazis would be defeated.
And they were.

I hoped the war would be over.
And it was.

I hoped we would be safe.
But we aren’t.

Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two.

I can’t wait to read Soon to find out what happens to Felix next!

What are your thoughts on the series?  Have you read them?

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My Most Anticipated October New Releases

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back. Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

Spirit Animals: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts – a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children – and the world – have been changed forever.
Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers . . . and on you.

The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth

Some mysteries are too dangerous to leave alone. Nate’s not happy about his family moving to a new house in a new town. After all, nobody asked him if he wanted to move in the first place. But when he discovers a tape recorder and note addressed to him under the floorboards of his bedroom, he’s thrust into a dark mystery about a boy who went missing many, many years ago. Now, as strange happenings and weird creatures begin to track Nate, he must partner with Tabitha, a local girl, to find out what they want with him. But time is running out, for a powerful force is gathering strength in the woods at the edge of town, and before long Nate and Tabitha will be forced to confront a terrifying foe and uncover the truth about the Lost Boy.

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne

The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight – but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name – on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by – a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry – and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.

Demon Dentist by David Walliams

The new jaw-achingly funny novel from David Walliams, the number one bestselling author! Make your appointment if you dare…Darkness had come to the town. Strange things were happening in the dead of night. Children would put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they would wake up to find…a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil was at work. But who or what was behind it…? Read this book and find out!

Pinocchio, retold by Michael Morpurgo

Pinocchio as you’ve never seen him before: telling his own story through the master storyteller and award-winning author of WAR HORSE. “Now – there’s no point in pretending here – I was, and still am deep down, a puppet. Everyone knows Pinocchio is a puppet. I reckon I must be just about the most famous puppet the world has ever known. But the truth is I’m not just a puppet, I’m more than just bits of wood and string. I’m me. So I thought it was about time that I, Pinocchio, told you my story…” So begins this stunningly beautiful interpretation of the classic story. Michael Morpurgo channels Pinocchio‘s words to tell the famous puppet’s story in his own inimitable, cheeky and always funny way. Lavishly illustrated throughout in full colour by the acclaimed Emma Chichester-Clark, this is a must-have gift for all book lovers, and an utterly charming and surprising adaptation of a much-loved tale.

All the Wrong Questions: When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket

I should have asked the question ‘How could someone who was missing be in two places at once?’ Instead, I asked the wrong question — four wrong questions, more or less. This is the account of the second.

In the fading town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea, young apprentice Lemony Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl. Is the girl a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? Was she seen last at the grocery store? Or could she have stopped at the diner? Is it really any of your business? These are All The Wrong Questions.

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Barcelona, 1980. Óscar Drai finds himself drawn to an old dilapidated mansion where he meets the captivating and elusive Marina. She leads him to the cemetery to witness a mysterious ritual: on the fourth Sunday of every month, a veiled woman alights from a carriage and lays a single rose on an unmarked grave.

Óscar and Marina are swept on a journey into the city’s dark underground of labyrinthine sewers, corrupt policemen, ageing aristocrats, forgotten societies and criminal depravity…to a sinister tale of love, ambition and jealousy that will hold Óscar’s heart forever.

Arclight by Josin L. Mcquein

Marina can’t remember anything about her life before she stumbled out of the Dark and into the Arclight. Where has she come from? How has she survived? Any why do the rulers of the Dark seem determined to destroy her? To find out, she will have to venture back into the Dark.

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My Most Anticipated July New Releases

Project Huia by Des Hunt

As children, Logan’s grandfather and his sister Mavis spotted a beautiful and unusual bird in the kowhai tree outside their house: it was a huia, which was believed to be extinct. In an attempt to photograph it they tracked it deep into the Manawatu Gorge. This was a dangerous journey, made even more so when the Carson boys got wind of their mission and decided to try and find the bird first so they could shoot it and sell its highly valuable feathers. More than 60 years later, 11-year-old Logan has returned to the Manawatu with Grandpop and a scientist to try to solve the mystery of what happened to the huia all those years ago. Can the group rely on Grandpop’s version of events, and find the huia’s final resting place? Will the huia still be there, and will its DNA still be valuable for scientific research into NZ’s native fauna? Not if the Carsons have anything to do with it.

Jamie Reign: The Last Spirit Warrior by P.J. Tierney

Jamie Reign was born twelve years ago, on the first day of the Chinese Year of the Dragon. This supposedly auspicious start in life hasn’t been much use to him, living a loveless existence with his abusive father, Hector, on a salvage boat. Jamie’s mother Mayling died on the day he was born. When Jamie inadvertently summons some fiery orbs from the air to tackle some local bullies, he doesn’t understand that he has tapped into The Way, the universal energy source, and in doing so he sets off a chain of events with unforeseen consequences. Whisked away by the mysterious Mr Fan to the Chia Wu, a school for students with special abilities, Jamie is taken under the wing of the legendary Kung Fu Master Wu. It is believed by Master Wu and his staff that Jamie is the Last Spirit Warrior, and as such his life’s purpose is to right the dreadful wrongs (climatic and political) taking place in the world. But not everyone believes so – and Jamie himself has doubts. What use is a Spirit Warrior who is hopeless at Kung Fu?

The Bully Chip by Glenn Wood

Callum thought things would be better after he and his friends defeated the evil Lester Smythe, but his world has just begun to crumble

A year after they defeated Lester Smythe, the evil mastermind, Callum, Sophie and Jinx are having problems with the new kids at Thanxton High. The bullies seem to be targeting them. And the friends soon discover they re in the middle of a dangerous plot for revenge. Who s behind it? And what is the bully chip?

Monkey Wars by Richard Kurti

When the Langur monkey troop rises to power on the dusty streets of Calcutta, it is at a price. A brutal massacre drives the Rhesus troop out of the place they called home and forces them to embark on a dangerous journey. But one Langur monkey, Mico, is prepared to stand up to the tyrannical Langur regime and fight for truth, friendship and love. As Mico uncovers the secrets and lies at the heart of the corrupt Langur leadership, he quickly realizes he is playing a dangerous game. And when monkeys turn on each other, there can be no survivors

Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman

Years after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony.
But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels are plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up to the Guardians – an elite peacekeeping force – to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy. When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel – a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories – memories that could only belong to Rhea – he realises he hasn’t been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he’s really ghting for.
Grinny by Nicholas Fisk
Tim’s diary charts the arrival of his mysterious Great Aunt Emma, an old lady who appears grinning on his doorstep and decides to stay. Nicknamed ‘Grinny’ for her constant eerie smile and mindless chatter, at first their aunt seems to be strange but harmless. But when Tim and his sister Beth make a horrifying discovery about their visitor, they realise that the safety of the entire planet is in jeopardy, and the silent invasion has already started.

First published in 1973, GRINNY is a forgotten favourite, brought back to life by Hot Key Books and introduced by Malorie Blackman. A classic sci-fi story filled with suspense, danger and adventure, this is a special bind up-edition including both the original story, and the powerful sequel that continues Tim and Beth’s encounter with Grinny in YOU REMEMBER ME!

Zom-B Angels by Darren Shan

Where can you find shelter in a city of the damned?
How can you build a new life if you’re undead?
Who can you trust in a world gone mad?
B Smith has come to a crossroads.

 

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My Most Anticipated May New Releases

Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe

When David’s uncle comes to visit he sets off a bizarre series of events. Things become complicated when the pet rats turn bright red.David senses that somehow the red rats are connected to the story he is reading, and he becomes more convinced when the colour red becomes contagious.

The parallel story sees Felix and his friend Bella inadvertently shifted into a strange land where they must solve a riddle. But this puts them into great danger. How will they escape and find their way home?

The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A mysterious toymaker, Lazarus, lives as a recluse in a crumbling mansion by the sea, surrounded by the mechanical beings he has created. Strange lights seem to shine through the mists that envelop the small island where the old lighthouse stands, and somewhere in the woods nearby lurks a shadowy creature.

When her mother takes a job as a housekeeper for the toymaker, fourteen-year-old Irene meets Hannah and her alluring sailor cousin Ismael, and what seems like a dream summer begins. But Lazarus’s house contains dark secrets and before long Irene and Ismael find themselves entwined in the mystery of the September lights.

Sinking by David Hill

A grim secret. A life in danger.

When a crazy old man leaps out of the bushes at Conrad on his way to swimming training, he gets the fright of his life. And when he discovers the man’s granddaughter is that weird horse-riding girl from school, he decides to steer clear of them.

But fate has other ideas … and he is drawn into a grim secret. What’s the old man’s connection to a death from long ago? And whose life is in danger now?

The Subterranean Stratagem by Michael Pryor

Kingsley Ward and Evadne Stephens are the Extraordinaires and they should be the toast of the town – but their juggling and escapology act is failing, and Kingsley is to blame. His wolfish side is breaking free, ruining performances and endangering those around him. The secret to controlling this wildness lies in his mysterious past. Was he really raised by wolves? Who were his parents? What happened to them?

The discovery of Kingsley’s father’s journal promises answers, but when it is stolen the Extraordinaires uncover ancient magic, a malign conspiracy, and a macabre plot to enslave all humanity. What begins as a quest to restore Kingsley’s past becomes an adventure that pits the Extraordinaires against forces that could shatter the minds and souls of millions.

The Originals by Cat Patrick

To the outside world, Elizabeth Best is a model student. She’s a cheerleader, gets straight As and holds down an after-school job. But what the outside world doesn’t know is that Elizabeth Best is actually three girls. Lizzie, Betsey and Ella are no ordinary triplets. Born as part of an illegal cloning program, the girls were forced into hiding when the program was uncovered. To avoid being taken away, the girls have lived as one girl ever since. Living a third of a life can suck. Imagine having to consult your sisters before choosing your clothes, or hairstyle, or boyfriend. So when Lizzie is forbidden from seeing Sean, the amazing guy from her English class, she and her sisters decide they’ve had enough. But for a chance at a full life, they’ll have to risk everything they know.

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Twelve-year-old Zach is too old to play with toys. Or at least, that’s what his father thinks. But even though he stops hanging out with Poppy and Alice, stops playing with his action figures, it’s no good. There’s one toy that still wants to play with him. A doll that’s made from the bones of a dead girl. The only way to end the game is to lay the doll to rest forever. It’s time for a journey to Spring Grove cemetery. It’s time to grow up.

The Trouble with Mummies by Fleur Hitchcock

Sam comes home one day to find his family turning a little bit loopy – his mum is redecorating using hieroglyphics and his dad is building a pyramid in the back garden. He hopes it’s just a weird new fashion …but then the strangeness starts to spread. With the help of his friends Ursula, Henry and Lucy the Goat, Sam must save his town from rampaging Roman rugby players, hairdressers turned cavewomen, and a teacher who used to be a ‘basket of kittens’ but now wants to sacrifice the Year Ones to the Aztec sun god. As history invades Sam’s world, will he be able to keep the Greeks away from the Egyptians and discover the cause of the Mummy madness?

Death and Co. by D.J. McCune

Adam is a Luman, and it runs in the family. Escorting the dead from life into light, Adam must act as guide to those taken before their time. As his older brothers fall into their fate however, Adam clings to his life as a normal kid – one who likes girls, hates the Head and has a pile of homework to get through by Monday morning. When Adam gets a terrible premonition he realises that he must make a devastating choice, risking his life, his family and his destiny.

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

High school is hard when you’re invisible. Fiona McClean hates her family, has had to move to a new school and seems to be completely invisible to the boy she likes. So far so normal, right? But Fiona really is invisible. She doesn’t even know what colour her own hair is. Born into a world where Cold War anti-radiation pills have caused genetic mutations, Fiona is forced to work for her mind-controlling mobster father as the world’s most effective thief. When her father announces she must become a murdering assassin, Fiona and her telekinetic mother make a break for freedom. Running to a small Arizonian town, Fiona finds that playing at ‘normal life’ with a mother on the edge, a brother she can’t trust, and a boy who drives her crazy is as impossible as escaping her father.

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Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

When you are sent a mysterious package that is clearly the property of one L. Snicket, you clearly should not open it.  I, however, did the opposite.  Inside was a book and a letter from a Lemony Snicket, informing me that the enclosed information was best kept secret from the general public and that I should help him keep this book invisible.  I did no such thing and proceeded to read the book, with a sense of dread.  I feel that I can no longer keep the contents of this book to myself, as it contained an incredible story that I still cannot believe.  This book was Who Could That Be at This Hour? Read on at your own peril.

Before you consider reading “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you curious about what is happening in a seaside town that is no longer by the sea?
  2. Do you want to know about a stolen item that wasn’t stolen at all?
  3. Do you really think that’s any of your business? Why? What kind of a person are you? Really?
  4. Who is standing behind you?

Who Could That Be at This Hour? is uncanny, peculiar and outlandish, all words which here mean ‘quite strange.’  It’s the first book in Lemony Snicket’s new series, in which he gives an account of his apprenticeship in a secret organisation, ‘in a town overshadowed by a sinister conspiracy, culminating in some unnerving and troublesome truths that lay buried for a number of years, while people were busy doing somthing else.’  The story is addictive and once you start, it’s very hard to put down.  It’s set in a strange little town, containing ‘a sea without water and a forest without trees,’ and it’s full of bizarre events and curious characters.

Nobody in this story is quite who they first appear to be.  There is Lemony’s chaperone, S. Theodora Markson (don’t ask what the S stands for) who is not as competent or highly skilled as she portrays, the mysterious, coffee-drinking Ellington Feint, the shadowy Hangfire, and even Lemony Snicket himself.  I love the way that Lemony Snicket describes some of the weird people he meets, like Stew,

He looked like the child of a man and a log, with a big, thick neck and hair that looked like a bowl turned upside down.  He had a slingshot tucked into his pocket and a nasty look tucked into his eyes.

My favourite characters in the story are Pip and Squeak, the two brothers who drive the Bellerophon Taxi.  They are supposedly filling in for their father, but they’re so short that one steers while the other sits on the floor and pushes the pedals.

If you love mystery and adventure stories, but also want a bit of a laugh, Who Could Be at This Hour? is the perfect book for you.  Grab your copy now from your library or bookshop.

5 out of 5 stars

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The Looky Book by Donovan Bixley

All kids love a good puzzle book.  When I was a kid I loved Where’s Wally, I-Spy and those pick-a-path maze books.  There have never been any great New Zealand themed puzzle books, until now.  New Zealand author and illustrator, Donovan Bixley, has just published his awesome puzzle book, The Looky Book.  Donovan is my favourite New Zealand illustrator and his illustrations for The Looky Book are wonderful.

The Looky Book is a puzzle book with 11 different puzzles, all with colourful New Zealand landscapes, birds and animals.  There are heaps of things to find in each picture, like find the numbers with the crazy All Black lambs, spot the difference with the mischievous keas, find the animals hidden deep in the bush, and match the farmers to their animals.  My favourite pictures are the ones where you have to spot what’s wrong in the scene.  In the beach scene on the first page, you can find a shark in a paddling pool and a man watching TV in the bath.  There are hours of fun for kids and adults, and when you’ve solved all the puzzles, you can go back and find the tui and the grumpy garden gnome on each page.

I love Donovan’s illustrations and The Looky Book just shows how versatile he is.  Not only does he give each human or animal it’s own personality, but he can make these a small part of a large scene.  He makes every little detail count, and these little details are hilarious (sheep holding up a ‘Lamb Carter’ banner or a penguin wearing a tie).  The reason I love Donovan’s illustrations is because they are always so colourful and they seem to glow.  He seems to use this effect that makes certain objects or characters shine.  Just look at the front cover and you’ll see what I mean (the eyes, the telescope and the kea’s beak).  I would love to know how long it took Donovan to create each spread.

There is an incredible amount to see on each page, and some things you won’t see the first time. Donovan his given the book a real Kiwi feel too, with lots of local wildlife and some Kiwi icons like Hokey Pokey ice cream.  If you have a very keen eye you might even spot a reference to one of Margaret Mahy’s stories on the first page.

Christmas is only weeks away and The Looky Book will make a perfect present for kids young and old.

5 out of 5 stars

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