Thursday, May 20, 2010

NZ Post Children's Book Awards

Congratulations to all the winners.
Of the short listed books my favourites were E3 Call Home,(non fiction) Banquo's Son and The Crossing.(young adult fiction) I would have been hard pressed to choose between the two young adult books if I had been a judge so as only one could win  I was happy with the judges decision.

The Crossing by Mandy Hager is set in an apocalyptic world where the elite set up a cult that  systematically abuses the followers.  Not for the faint-hearted, definitely a fourteen plus read.
However if you enjoy a novel with an historical theme then try TK Roxborough's Banquo's Son.

E3 Call Home, by Janet Hunt ticks all the boxes for a non--fiction picture book.  It tells a true story about two bar-tailed godwits, with beautiful photography, diagrams and accessible text.

As a minority of one I did not like "The Wonky Donkey," based as it was on an old drinking song, and a poor handicapped donkey that everyone can laugh at.  Unfortunately this did win children's choice, so check it out, you might love it! Just like Richard and Rhyna and not Alicia.

The overall winner Old Huhu is a beautifully presented book with charming pictures (except for the huhu beetles eyes) and was a popular choice. Click on To check out all the awards and runners up.

Review by Joanna Ponder

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White - Happy Birthday 40 years strong

You might wonder why I'm reviewing a book that's forty years old.  Mostly it's because, (for some reason probably the rather ho hum cover,) the Trumpet of the Swan has never received the recognition it deserved.

Sam Beaver discovers a swan's nest and has the opportunity to protect it from predators.  The swans trust him, and he gets to see the eggs hatching.  The last cygnet, Louie is born without a voice. This lack is sorely felt by his parents, but he goes to school with Sam to learn how to read and write.  This seems to work very well until Louie realizes it hasn't worked at all because unfortunately all the other swans don't know how to read and write...

The swamplands are well gorgeous, the school scenes are just delightful and so are the characters.  The book, with its sense of wilderness and wonder is a must for any child who loves nature, or any child you want to cultivate a love of nature in.  And as with, "Charlotte's Web"  and "Stewart Little,"  E.B. White's almost laconic style is a pleasure to read aloud.

I would mention some of the delightful touches of humour, but I wouldn't do them justice.  It's just brilliant.  My children and I believe this to be his best children's book, saving his best for last.  So all you E.B. White fans out there, now that you know this book exists it's time to make your collection complete.

Review by Alicia Ponder


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