Books to get the lit­tle crit­ters read­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - REVIEW -

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.

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