Win a New Zealand Kids Book Pack

It’s the last week of NZ Book Month for 2013.  I always enjoy NZ Book Month because I love reading books by our wonderful New Zealand authors and illustrators.  I hope you’ve read some great NZ books this month and enjoyed my Fast Five Questions with NZ authors and illustrators.

To finish NZ Book Month I’m giving away a New Zealand Kids Book Pack, thanks to Scholastic New Zealand.  The pack includes:

  • The Silly Goat Gruff by Scott Tulloch
  • A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik
  • Dinosaur Rescue: Salto-scaredypus by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley
  • Ransomwood by Sheryl Jordan
  • Scrap: Tale of a Blond Puppy by Vince Ford
  • Scrap: Oh My Dog! by Vince Ford

To get in the draw just leave a comment (with your name and email address) telling me about a New Zealand book you’ve read and loved this NZ Book Month.  Competition closes Sunday 31 March (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is the Rodgers-Foran family.  I hope you enjoy your books!

The Amazing Trace n’ Race Little Yellow Digger

Scholastic New Zealand have released this very special (and totally awesome) Little Yellow Digger box set, which includes a mini edition of the book and a toy digger.  This is no ordinary digger though.  Check out the video to see this cool Little Yellow Digger in action.

The Little Yellow Digger by Betty & Alan Gilderdale is celebrating 20 years in print this year, so what better way to celebrate than grabbing a copy of this wonderful book.

Kiwi Corkers – traditional tales with a Kiwi twist

Scholastic New Zealand Publishing Manager Diana Murray shares the story behind the stories.

The Kiwi Corkers series hatched from the idea of taking well-known tales and retelling them with a New Zealand flavour. The concept of reworking fairy tales is not revolutionary; however the idea of bringing them into our familiar, uniquely Kiwi environment has made them popular stories that our children can relate to.

Every aspect of the series has been carefully considered. We decided to publish them with bright, fun and durable hardcovers, but sell them at lower than paperback prices to make collecting the full series affordable. We identified the traditional tales children are still growing up with. Initially we asked New Zealand authors to write stories for us, but after a time the series took on a life of its own and we have received a high volume of manuscripts for it.

Sounds straightforward? Well – not always!

Take The Elves and the Cloakmaker, written by Chris Gurney and illustrated by John Bennett (October 2011). There were twists and turns in bringing this book to publication, as we had to consider things such as whether men can weave cloaks (yes, our research tells us, they can) and what patupaiarehe might look like (bright red hair, pale skin). At one stage, the title was going to be The Patupaiarehe and the Cloakmaker , but we were concerned that such a complicated looking word in the title might be off-putting to non-Maori speakers and changed it to The Elves and the Cloakmaker – which begged the question whether patupaiarehe are elves? After research and consultation, we decided yes, that would be fine.

And it took a long time to come up with the Kiwi wolf for Little Red and the Cunning Kuri, also written by Chris Gurney, with illustrations by Sarah N Anderson (October 2010). What nasty New Zealand creatures do we have that could fit this character? We thought of a katipo – but it wouldn’t have been the right size in relation to Little Red, and not the right shape either. A kahu (harrier hawk)? No, still not right. It was a light-bulb moment when the author came up with the kuri, a Maori dog.

Scholastic New Zealand has now published 12 books in the series, and have another two in the pipeline for 2012 – both of which promise to uphold the ‘high standards’ of ‘this series of poetic parodies’ (Trevor Agnew The Source, 6 July 2011).

Picture Book Nook: There’s a Hole in my Bucket, illustrated by Jenny Cooper

When Kiwi legends, the Topp Twins get together with one of New Zealand’s best illustrators, Jenny Cooper, you know you’re in for a treat.  Scholastic New Zealand have teamed-up these two fantastic talents to bring new life to a classic song, There’s a Hole in my Bucket.

Jenny Cooper has transformed the Topp Twins into a goat and a duck full of personality.  Henry the goat has a problem – there’s a hole in his bucket and he needs his duck friend Liza’s advice to help him fix it.  Liza makes some helpful suggestions, but she gets increasingly angry when Henry keeps asking questions.  Will they ever be able to fix their bucket?

There’s a Hole in my Bucket is a perfect combination of music, lyrics and illustrations from an outstanding team.  The Topp Twins have made the song their own and it will be enjoyed by both children and adults.  Jenny Cooper’s Henry and Liza are full of personality and you can see the Topp Twins shining through.  I love Jenny’s illustrations because of the way she shows emotions in her characters.  Liza the duck is a really good example of this, especially when she gets annoyed at Henry’s constant questions (I’m sure we’ve all felt like this at different times).  There’s a Hole in My Bucket is a perfect gift book for Christmas, but parents be warned – you and your children will be singing this song for days.