Tag Archives: Scholastic NZ

My Most Anticipated August Kids New Releases from Scholastic NZ

The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey

They sound like the Bad Guys, they look like the Bad Guys . . . and they even smell like the Bad Guys. But Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark are about to change all of that! Mr Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. The gang are going to break 200 dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad
Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr Snake please spit out Mr Piranha?

Dragon Knight: Witch by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley (Book 3)

A witch’s curse and brussel sprouts are bad enough. But will Percy’s revenge be the end for Merek? From the creators of Dinosaur Rescue comes an outrageous and revoltingly funny medieval adventure series that’ll set you on fire!


Stan the Van Man by Emma Vere-Jones and illustrated by Philip Webb

Sometimes, being helpful is not enough . . .

When the mail van driver walks out, Miss Mickle from the Post Office store is left in a right pickle.  Enter Stan, a helpful chap who offers to drive the delivery van. Unfortunately Miss Mickle doesn’t give him the chance to explain that he actually can’t read … and parcel pandemonium ensues!  When the angry recipients storm the Post Office and find out the reason for the misdeliveries, they decide to band together to help Stan learn to read.


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My Most Anticipated Kids and YA July Releases from Scholastic NZ

The Bloodtree Chronicles: Sanspell by Elizabeth Pulford

When the Bloodtree loses its last leaf, there will be no more stories in the Silvering Kingdom . . .

The Silvering Kingdom is the home of fairy tales but the kingdom and all those within are in danger of vanishing because the Bloodtree – the source of all stories – has been poisoned.

‘Sanspell’ is a story that has been cursed. It is up to Abigail to enter the fairy-tale world, where she is known as Spindale, and save the story tree. Together with Flint, whose mother Trinket is being held captive by the evil Rackenard, they set off on a journey: three drops of Trinket’s blood is what is required to save the tree. The race is on . . . but can they survive the wicked Zezmena’s spells?

Tyranno-sort-of-Rex by Christopher Llewelyn and Scott Tulloch

Everyone’s heard of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Diplodocus a Tyranno-Sort-of Rex and a Bit-odd-ocus?

When the ship carrying boxes of dinosaur bones to a dreadful storm, the boxes are broken and the bones museum curator is tasked with the job of putting them the next day’s exhibition – with curious results!

Tyranno-Sort-of Rex by Christopher Llewelyn

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Win a picture book pack from Scholastic NZ

Scholastic New Zealand are publishing some wonderful new picture books in July, including books about birds, dinosaur dads, and a retelling of a piggy tale.  The best part is that they’re all by New Zealand authors and illustrators!  I’ll be reviewing them here on the blog throughout the month, but here’s your chance to get your hands on them.

Thanks to Scholastic NZ I have a pack of their wonderful new picture books to give away. The pack includes a copy of One Little Fantail by Anne Hunter and Dave Gunson, My Dinosaur Dad by Ruth Paul, and The Three Little Pigs retold and illustrated by Gavin Bishop.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Debbe.



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Picture Book Nook: If You’re a Kiwi and You Know It! sung by Pio Terei, illustrations by Stevie Mahardhika

Children love singing and dancing to songs like ‘The Wheels on the Bus,’ ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm,’ and ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It.’  In the last few years there have been a number of books, based on these action songs, that have been given a Kiwi twist.  Donovan Bixley’s The Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald’s Farm, and Do Your Ears Hang Low by The Topp Twins and Jenny Cooper, are recent favourites of mine.  Scholastic New Zealand, along with Kiwi entertainer Pio Terei and illustrator Stevie Mahardhika, have just released a Kiwi version of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It,’ called If You’re a Kiwi and You Know It!

They have taken the original action song and given it a Kiwi twist by adding in some of our wonderful wildlife.  Kids can join in the song and dig for worms like a kiwi, dive and play like a dolphin, strut around like a pukeko, slither away like an eel, and many more.  The actions are easy to do and you can have a lot of fun pretending to be different creatures.  Stevie Mahardhika’s illustrations are beautiful and they get funnier as you go through the book.  I love how each of the animals pretends to be a different animal (the kiwi and pukeko trying to dive like a dolphin and flap their flippers like a seal are absolutely hilarious!).

The book comes with a great CD of Pio Terei singing the song (and just the guitar accompaniment), as well as a Te Reo Maori version of the song.  Thank you so much Scholastic New Zealand for including the Te Reo version of the song on the CD and for including the Te Reo lyrics in the back of the book (rather than as a separate book).  This is a godsend for librarians like myself who will use this book and CD in their preschool sessions in the library, and for parents all over the country.  We certainly need more bilingual books of this quality.  Get a copy of If You’re a Kiwi and You Know It! from your library or bookshop now, and sing and dance along with our wonderful wildlife.

4 out of 5 stars

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Nic’s Cookbook by Nicholas Brockelbank

Is there a kid in your life who loves cooking or would love to learn how to cook?  You have to get them Nic’s Cookbook, by an inspirational young New Zealander called Nicholas Brockelbank.

Nic lives with muscular dystrophy and was the 2012 ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). He started cooking when one of his teachers suggested it might help with his schoolwork, and has since shown significant improvements in reading, spelling and maths. He put together his first ‘cookbook’ when he was eight years old, as a Christmas present for family and friends. This photocopied booklet of recipes was so popular he wrote another one and set up a website (www.nicocool.com) to sell the recipe books and artwork to raise money for the MDA, the Christchurch Earthquake Relief Fund and the True Colours Charitable Trust. The website also describes aspects of Nic’s life with muscular dystrophy from his point of view, like having a wheelchair and undertaking lots of hospital appointments and tests.

Nic, with the help of his mum and the wonderful people at Scholastic New Zealand, has produced his own cookbook, that contains some very yummy, easy-to-make recipes.  They’re perfect for kids who want to learn how to cook and it’s all food that kids will love, from savouries and rice paper rolls to chocolate slice and lamingtons.  There are heaps of photos to show you the delicious food and to help kids with the trickier parts of the recipes.  The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and Nic gives you lots of handy hints throughout the book.  There’s a very handy page at the start of the book which helps kids to understand the different terms used in the recipes and what each of the measurement abbreviations mean.  The things I really like about the book are that Nic lists the equipment needed for each recipe and he tells you how many people each recipe should serve.

Not only is Nic’s Cookbook full of great recipes, it’s also great value.  It’s only $10 and 50% of the royalties from the book are going to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  At that price you can grab one for every kid you know!

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Picture Book Nook: Clumsy giraffes and mid-air mayhem

The latest bunch of picture books from Scholastic New Zealand feature a clumsy giraffe and mid-air mayhem in hot-air balloons.

Great Galloping Galoot is the first picture book by New Zealand author and illustrator, Stephanie Thatcher.  It’s about a clumsy giraffe, called Galoot, who is always tripping over things and bumping into things.  Whenever he does something silly, the other animals call out, ‘You great galoot!’  His parents always say to him, ‘when walking, walk tall. When running, run fast.  Galoot, always be your best.’  When he comes across some other animals who can’t cross the river , he offers to help, but they tell him he can’t because he’s a great galoot.  But Galoot remembers his parents’ words and knows just what to do.  Great Galloping Galoot is a cute story about being different, with a character that children will love.  I must admit, I got a bit confused when I first read the story (Why are they calling him a great galoot when he’s called Galoot?), but when I read it again I realised that children wouldn’t pick up on that.  Galoot’s parents’ words of advice are repeated throughout the story, so children will be able to join in.  Stephanie’s illustrations are quite cute, especially her googly-eyed Galoot, and I love the determination on his face as he rushes down the hill to save the day.

3 out of 5 stars

Madison Moon and the Hot-Air Balloon by Chris Gurney and illustrated by Catherine Foreman, is the story of Madison Moon who has a great idea.  Madison is sick and tired of being stuck in traffic in her little red car, so she decides to buy a hot-air balloon.  She soars up, up and away, ‘high in the cottonwood clouds,’ while everyone else battles the traffic.  Soon everybody wants to go for a ride in her balloon, including the butcher, the baker and the lollipop maker, and they all decide they want their own hot-air balloon.  As everyone starts to use their balloon instead of their car, the sky becomes very crowded, and suddenly Madison doesn’t find it fun anymore to be up in the sky.  Chris Gurney’s text is fun to read, with lots of whooshing, swooshing and blabbety-blabbing.  You get caught up in the rhythm as you read and get taken on a wild ride through the air.  Catherine Foreman’s illustrations are bright and colourful, and filled with lots of different patterns and shapes, especially the balloons.  Madison Moon and the Hot-Air Balloon will really appeal to children, because it’s taking something ordinary (traveling from one place to another) and making it extraordinary.  They’re sure to enjoy the cyclic ending, and could imagine what might happen after you close the book (Will everyone else join Madison?  Will she get sick and tired of the traffic and try something else?  What might she try next?).

4 out of 5 stars

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Win The Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time

To celebrate the release of Scholastic’s new interactive series, The Infinity Ring, I’m giving away 2 copies of the first book, A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner.  It’s a very cool new time travel adventure series, perfect for fans of The 39 Clues.  To learn more about the series you can read my post here on the blog.

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

Scholastic NZ are also running a really cool competition on their website to celebrate the release of the series.  All you have to do is register and play the Infinity Ring game on http://www.scholastic.co.nz/assets/pdf/tileE.pdf and you go in the draw to win iPods and iPads.


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Win Blue Gnu by Kyle Mewburn

Blue Gnu is a delightful, tongue-twister of a book about friendship and being different, written by one of our best children’s writers, Kyle Mewburn and illustrated by new talent Daron Parton.  If you’re not already hooked on Kyle Mewburn’s books, you will be once you read Blue Gnu.

Thanks to Scholastic NZ I have 2 copies of Blue Gnu to give away.  All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below.  Competition closes Wednesday 15 August (NZ only)

This competition is now closed.  Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winners are Christine and Gabrielle.

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Picture Book Nook: Blue Gnu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Daron Parton

You can always rely on Kyle Mewburn to write a book that will make kids laugh and keep them entertained from start to finish.  Kyle’s latest book, illustrated by new talent Daron Parton, features a silly animal who likes being different.

Boo is the one and only blue gnu.  Well he thinks he is, until he meets Hoo.  Hoo tries to convince Boo that it’s more fun with two, but Boo likes being unique.  So Boo tries to make himself look different by adding touches of colour.  Boo has to decide whether it’s better to be the one and only striped or spotted blue gnu or whether things really are better with two.

Blue Gnu is a delightful, tongue-twister of a book about friendship and being different.  You can tell that Kyle has had so much fun writing this book!  You can get tripped up very easily with his wonderful, rhyming text.  Kyle always uses lots of ‘noisy’ words and Blue Gnu is no exception.  Sentences like “What a splotchy, spotty, dotty gnu!” and “What a hoopy, loopy, stripey gnu!” are fun to get your mouth around and it would be great to get the children saying it with you (try saying those sentences quickly three times!).  I love Daron Parton’s illustrations, which seem to fit the story perfectly.  He has brought Kyle’s silly gnu’s to life and made Boo and Hoo stand out from the herd.  His style is really unique and his bright, bold illustrations make the book great to share with a large group of children. I’ll look forward to seeing more of his illustrations in future books.  Book Design have also done a great job of positioning the text so that it doesn’t get in the way of these wonderful illustrations.

If you’re not already hooked on Kyle Mewburn’s books, you will be once you read Blue Gnu.  Grab a copy from your library or bookshop now.

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Books with bite from Scholastic NZ

Scholastic NZ has just released two great books for younger readers with some real bite – Fishing Fame by Melanie Drewery and Dinosaur Rescue: Spino-rottysaurus by Kyle Mewburn.

Fishing Fame by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by John Bennett

Mark and Dan are desperate to get their names onto the fishing fame board.  But when they start breaking the rules they catch much more than they bargained for.

Fishing Fame is a short, illustrated chapter book perfect for boys.  Kids will love the crazy antics that Mark and Dan get up to and will want to keep reading to find out how they get out of their awkward situation.  John Bennett’s illustrations break up the text into small chunks for easy reading, and the cover will appeal to boys.


Dinosaur Rescue: Spino-rottysaurus by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley

How do you stop a rampaging sinosaurus from eating the last dracorex?  Arg has to get help fast or he’ll be extinct too!  A spino-rotty-trocious Stone Age adventure that’ll make your teeth tremble.

Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley are back with their 5th Dinosaur Rescue book.  This series just keeps getting better and better (not to mention more disgusting!).  In this book you can learn why prehistoric insects didn’t make good pets, how to train your giant dragonfly, how to hunt with Arg’s dad, and some interesting facts about dinosaurs.  Get this book for your children and they’ll be rolling around on the floor laughing (or possibly looking very green).  They’re perfect for fans of Captain Underpants. 

Scholastic NZ are publishing some really good books for early readers (7-9 years), like those mentioned above.  Check out Diary of a Pukeko by Sally Sutton and Do Not Push by Kyle Mewburn.  These books are the short, with lots of adventure and laughs, so they’re perfect for this age group.

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