Tag Archives: Lucia Masciullo

Win a copy of Olive of Groves

Olive of Groves by Katrina Nannestad and illustrated by Lucia Masciullo is an enchanting, entertaining and incredibly funny book, packed with imagination.  It is one of my favourite books of 2015 and you can find out why in my review here on the blog.

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Thanks to HarperCollins NZ I have a copy of Olive of Groves to give away.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Ange.

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Olive of Groves by Katrina Nannestad

There are only a handful of books each year that stand out and shine brighter than all the others.  Olive of Groves by Katrina Nannestad and illustrated by Lucia Masciullo is one of these books.  I want to shout about it from the rooftops and shove it into the hands of all the kids I meet.  It has shot to the top of the list of my favourite kids books of 2015.

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Olive has always dreamed of attending boarding school, but Mrs Groves’ Boarding School for Naughty Boys, Talking Animals and Circus Performers is not what she expected. To tell the truth, dear reader, it is not what anyone expected!

The headmistress is completely bonkers and Pig McKenzie, school bully and all-round nasty swine, is determined to make Olive’s life unbearable.

Olive, however, is clever, sweet and kind, and soon gains the loyalty and devotion of three rats, a short-sighted moose, a compulsive liar and a goose who faints at the sight of cherries.

But will friendship and wits be enough when Pig McKenzie puts his Truly Wicked Plan into gear? Or will Olive be cast out of Groves forever?

Olive of Groves is an enchanting, entertaining and incredibly funny book, packed with imagination.  I love everything about this book, from the crazy antics to the wonderful characters.  I picked it up thinking that the blurb sounded intriguing and I fell in love with it from the very first page.

It’s a story about doing the right thing and being the better person in the face of bullies, believing in yourself and being the best friend that you can be.  With a headmistress who is afraid of girls, Olive has to set out to prove that she is not a ‘simple, ordinary, everyday girl.’ Throughout the story we discover how extraordinary Olive is.  She is kind, sweet, brave and a very loyal friend.  Olive is the sort of girl that everyone would want to be friends with and I know that the kids reading this story will love her as much as I did.  Olives is certainly one of my favourite protagonists in any of the books I’ve read and I hope we get to read more of her adventures.

Olive is only one of the many wonderful characters that inhabit Mrs Groves Boarding School for Naughty Boys, Talking Animals and Circus Performers.  If you step through the doors you’ll meet Blimp (a rat with a large bottom), Wordsworth (a rat who loves words), Chester (a rat who loves buttons), Glenda the Goose (who faints at the thought of the nine times tables), Reuben the Rabbit (who loves nothing more than a good spin in the washing machine), Fumble (a shy talking moose), Mrs Groves (the ‘teeny-weeny bit odd’ headmistress), the villain of the story, Pig McKenzie, and many, many more.   I love all the characters, but my favourites are the three rats – Blimp, Wordsworth and Chester.

Katrina sweeps you up in the story with her lyrical writing and amusing dialogue.  She had me smiling all the way through the book and there were several parts where she had me laughing out loud.  I also Lucia’s illustrations.  They perfectly match this delightful story and bring Katrina’s characters to life.  My favourite illustration is on page 217, where we see Olive leading a whole bunch of the characters on a rescue mission.

I’m glad that Katrina has more adventures planned for Olive of Groves and I can’t wait to see what her and the gang get up to next.  Olive of Groves is the perfect present for 7-12 year olds so grab a copy for your children this Christmas.  I guarantee they will love it!

 

 

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Picture Book Nook: Queen Alice’s Palaces by Juliette MacIver and Lucia Masciullo

Do picture books about princesses and queens make you want to tear your hair out?  Your little girl may like to be endlessly read stories with sparkles on every page, but if you have to read it one more time will you go insane?  Well Juliette MacIver and Lucia Masciullo have just created a picture book about a queen that adults will enjoy just as much as children.  It’s called Queen Alice’s Palaces.

Queen Alice has a palace that’s ‘gilded and grand’ while poor, hard-done-by Sir Hugh has a castle that’s ‘crumbly and small.’  Dastardly Sir Hugh hatches a plan to get his own palace – he’ll get Queen Alice to build a palace of ‘stunning design,’ then he’ll steal it, ‘by means of a military coup.’  Queen Alice constructs a series of unique palaces, made from bamboo, ice, cheese and other strange building materials.  Can she outwit Sir Hugh or will he steal his own palace?

Queen Alice’s Palaces is a rollicking picture book filled with imagination, wonder and humour.  Juliette and Lucia have let their imaginations run wild and built all sorts of wonderful, if slightly impractical, palaces.  Juliette’s rhyming text bounces along, making it a joy to read aloud.  As with Juliette’s other books (Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam), you need to warm up your mouth because you find your mouth doing gymnastics and getting tongue-tied as you read.  Just the title alone gives your mouth a good work out.  I love Juliette’s use of language too, like ‘gilded and grand’ and ‘cunning, conniving and callous.’  I think it’s wonderful when you can read a picture book and learn new and interesting words.

Lucia Masciullo’s illustrations are the perfect match for Juliette’s text.  I really love the way that she has portrayed the characters, especially the ‘cunning, conniving and callous’ Sir Hugh.  He looks very villainous and his creepy little mustache makes me laugh every time (especially when he twirls it).  He will appeal to the boys, while the very glamourous Queen Alice will appeal to the girls.  Lucia clearly had a lot of fun creating the palaces, which all look spectacular.  There is certainly plenty to discover in the illustrations on each page.

Warm up your mouth, fire up your imagination and share Queen Alice’s Palaces with the children in your life.

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