Books to get the little critters reading
Here’s a round-up of the children’s books we intended to review in late 2012 but never happened.
Released mid-year, Colour the Stars (Scholastic ) is a touch- ing tale from Dawn McMillan about two friends, one blind, teaching each other what colour means to them. Keinyo White’s painted art is quite striking. Recommended for kids 3- plus, I’d push it a little older due to the plaintive tone – there are few laughs to be had. Save it for when the kids are in a ‘‘thinking’’ mood.
Manukura –The White Kiwi (Random House ) tells the true story of Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre’s rare critter. Sweet and informative, it offers a few Maori words for families to add to their vocab, but Joy Cowley’s words and artwork are pretty mawkish.
Few kids’ books flew higher in 2012 than Madison Moon and the Hot Air Balloon ( Scholastic
). Madison Moon takes to the skies, so fed up is she with traffic jams, but soon the entire town is getting on on the trend, filling the big blue with all sorts of crazy shaped air balloons. While Catherine Foreman’s vibrant images are what initially enchants young eyes, Chris Gurney’s kooky, tongue-twisting rhyming tale as an absolute delight. It wasn’t until about the 20th read that I picked up on some of the little visual gags - such as the shark balloon chasing the fish balloon. Instant classic.
Keri’s Party and Piri’s Picnic (Lighthouse Media ) were the first two books in Donna Blaber’s Kiwi Critters series. The simple, straight-forward ‘‘quickfix’’ nature of these pocket-sized reads make them useful for bringing out at a cafe or in the car in moments of need. And Rupert Shaw’s thick- outlined illustrations do the trick.
Irish author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers has created his share of treasured reads and This Moose Belongs to Me ( Harper Collins
) is right up there. Though visually a departure from his minimalistic style – in which Jeffers’ scrawls are mingled with dreamy landscape prints – the usual level of cheek and wit remains.