Tag Archives: Gavin Bishop

My Most Anticipated September Kids & YA Releases from Scholastic NZ

Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey

Hey there guys. Would you like a banana?
What’s wrong with you, Brian? You’re a piranha.

Brian is a piranha. He is also a vegetarian. But do you think he can convince the others to join him?

Quaky Cat Helps Out

Quakey Cat Helps Out by Diana Noonan and Gavin Bishop

Quaky Cat, five years on … It’s been five years since the first big Christchurch earthquake, but some of Tiger’s friends still have broken homes – or none at all. Kind-hearted Tiger rounds them all up for a gathering of friends.

300 Minutes of Danger

300 Minutes of Danger by Jack Heath

George is trapped in a falling aeroplane with no engine and no pilot. Milla is covered with radioactive waste and her hazard suit is running out of air. Otto is in the darkest depths of the ocean, where something hungry is circling . . . 10 dangerous situations. 10 brave kids. 30 minutes to escape.

Dragon Knight #4 Dragons!

Dragon Knight: Dragons! by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley

The terrifying cyclorgs want their gold back – NOW!

If Merek can’t outwit the evil Lord Crumble, the village is doomed.

Star Wars Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown

It’s hard to believe this is Roan’s last year at Jedi Academy. He’s been busier than ever learning to fly (and wash) starships, swimming in the Lake Country on Naboo, studying for the Jedi obstacle course exam, and tracking down dozens of vorpak clones (don’t ask). But now, someone is setting him up to get in trouble with everyone at school, including Yoda. If he doesn’t find out who it is, and fast, he may get kicked out of school! Why can’t middle school just be easy?…


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Win Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop

Mister Whistler is the wonderful new picture book by Margaret Mahy, with stunning illustrations by Gavin Bishop.  I absolutely love Mister Whistler and it’s my favourite New Zealand picture book of the year (you can read my review here).  Everyone should have this book on their bookshelf!

Thanks to everyone who entered.  This competition is now closed.

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Picture Book Nook: Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Earlier this year we lost one of our national treasures, Margaret Mahy.  Margaret wrote many wonderful stories in her time, from picture books to novels, that are treasured by children all over the world.  October sees the publication of two of Margaret’s last stories, including the wonderful Mister Whistler, featuring gorgeous illustrations by Gavin Bishop.

Absentminded Mister Whistler always has a song in his head and a dance in his feet.  In a rush to catch the train, he is so distracted he loses his ticket.

Is it in the bottom pockets of his big coat or the top pockets of his jacket?  Perhaps he slipped it into his waistcoat…

Where is Mister Whistler’s ticket?

Mister Whistler is an absolute treasure.  It’s Margaret and Gavin’s first collaboration and I couldn’t imagine a more perfect pairing for this story.  Margaret’s story is delightfully old-fashioned and Gavin matches this with the styles and fashions of another era.  Mister Whistler is a rather distracted fellow, one of those people who would forget his head if it wasn’t screwed on.  He gets carried away by the music in his head, that makes his twitching feet long to dance.  While he is looking for his ticket he’s dancing out of his coat and tap dancing impatiently.  Children will love that they know something that Mister Whistler doesn’t – where his ticket is – and they’ll want to yell it out and tell him.

Gavin Bishop’s illustrations for Mister Whistler are my favourite of all of his work.  There’s so much joy and energy in the illustrations and you can see it bursting out of Mister Whistler, who is always smiling.  I love the way that Gavin has made the story flow from one page to the next, both my Mister Whistler’s dancing body and the musical notes which follow him.  Mister Whistler himself is quite gangly and I love the way that Gavin has him throwing his long limbs all over the place as he dances.  Gavin’s use of colour is spectacular, from Mister Whistler’s blue, checked trousers and very loud wall-paper, to the flaming sunrise in the background.  Gavin has added a real spark to Mister Whistler’s character too by giving him a crazy dress sense.

Once again, Gecko Press have produced an absolutely beautiful book that will be treasured by children and adults alike.  Mister Whistler is my favourite New Zealand picture book of the year and my pick for the winner of next year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

5 out of 5 stars

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Fast Five with Gavin Bishop

1. Why did you want to be a writer?

So I could be in complete control of the picture books that I wanted to illustrate.

2. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Besides working at home in my own studio I enjoy talking to children and adults about my work.

3. What’s your favourite New Zealand book?

“The Three Legged Cat” by Margaret Mahy

4. What do you love most about New Zealand?

Feeling as if I belong here.

5. What book changed your life?

“The Hobbit” by J. R. Tolkein

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Filed under authors, books, children, New Zealand, NZ Book Month 2012

Picture Book Nook: The House That Jack Built by Gavin Bishop

If I had to pick one picture book that is quintessentially New Zealand, I would choose Gavin Bishop’s The House That Jack Built.  Gavin’s multi-layered story, based on the traditional rhyme, contains our history within it’s pages, told from both a Maori and a Pakeha perspective.  It is a picture book in which you discover something new or get a slightly different meaning from each time you read it.  Now, thanks to the wonderful Gecko Press who have reprinted the book in a stunning new format, a new generation of New Zealanders can enjoy this important book.

On the surface, it’s the story of Jack Bull, who travels to New Zealand from London as a new settler in 1798.   This is one of those brilliant picture books where the words tell a completely different story from the illustrations.  The end papers show us the reality of Jack’s life in London in 1798 and we see him with his cart of possessions and the red door that comes to symbolise Pakeha society.  In the next few pages we follow Jack’s ocean voyage on a map and see the list of goods that he has brought to trade with the natives.  Throughout the rest of the story Gavin portrays the effect that Pakeha colonisation had on the local Maori, from trading land and food for clothes and weapons, to the loss of culture and the deaths in the New Zealand Wars.

The House That Jack Built is a book that should be in every home, school, and library around New Zealand.  It’s an important book to help us remember who we are and where we’ve come from.  For those readers not in New Zealand the story will also be relevant as it applies to any colonial history.  Gavin Bishop is our master of the picture book and this is the best example of how he gets his message across visually.  He weaves the Maori and Pakeha strands of the story together and shows us through the illustrations, how Maori were assimilated into the Pakeha world.  The publisher, Gecko Press, deserves a huge amount of praise for, not only bringing this book back into print, but also for producing a gorgeous edition in a larger format than the original and printed on high quality paper.  Buying a copy of The House That Jack Built and sharing it with your family is the perfect way to celebrate Waitangi Day on 6 February.

5 out of 5 stars

The House That Jack Built is being published to coincide with Waitangi Day (6 February) and will be launched at the Porirua Festival of the Elements on Waitangi Day 2012 with author/illustrator Gavin Bishop.

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Picture Book Nook: Bruiser by Gavin Bishop

Christchurch kids have seen lots of diggers, dump trucks, and cranes lately with all the demolitions after our earthquakes so what better time for a book about a grumpy digger than now.  Bruiser is a grumpy digger on a mission.  He has to hurry up and plough the hillsides, crush rocks and tear up forests so that he can get the motorway built.  But one day he gets stuck in the mud and no matter what he does he can’t get out.  While he’s trying to get out, he knocks a magpie nest out of a tree and it’s up to Bruiser to get them to safety.

Bruiser has everything that a great picture book should.  The story is full of mischief and fun, and it’s perfect for reading aloud.  Gavin Bishop’s bright, bold illustrations bring his story to life and children (especially boys) will love this grumpy digger with a heart of gold.  Gavin has effectively used the days of the week and numbers in his story, in a similar way to Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, “On Monday he ploughed through five hills.  On Tuesday he crushed ten rocks,” and so on.  Children are always the best critics of picture books, and having read Bruiser aloud to a group of preschoolers, Bruiser gets the tick of approval.  Bruiser is certain to become a New Zealand classic.

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