FOOTSTEPS THROUGH THE FOG
Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop
This story was produced so readers could gain an insight into
what it is like when sight is not your key sense. A mother
sends her five young children down to the beach to get some
exercise before the rain arrives, but while they are playing
on the sand a thick fog rolls in from the ocean and they lose
their sight. It is now up to Anthea, their blind sister, to
lead them back home safely. She tells them that when you
can't see, listening and smelling tell you what's going on.
All the royalties from the sale of this story are being
donated to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind. The
book contains a braille alphabet inside the back cover.
Suitable age: 2-7 years.
Melanie Drewery and Trevor Pye
David Ling Publishing
A clever father goes along with his daughter's make-believe
game in which she dresses up as different characters as an
avoidance technique for putting off bath time. Among some of
the animals he meets are a cute puppy with a black shiny
nose, a fierce lion with a moppy mane, a snake with slithery
skin, and a camel with knobbly knees. This charming bath-time
story with a difference contains very appealing illustrations
which young children will love. Suitable age: 2-4 years.
MY DAD'S A DRAGON CATCHER
Tanya Batt and Helen Bacon
Clean Slate Press
Toby and his friends sit under a tree and share their
father's careers with each other. Toby announces that his
father is a dragon catcher, and he tells an elaborate story
of what this means. But he sets himself up for a lot of
trouble because his teacher then announces that all the
fathers are invited to come to school to give a talk. What
will poor Toby do now? This is a very likeable story that
shares the loving relationship between a father and son. The
fun illustrations, along with the great balance of both
illustrations and text, mean that this story will appeal
equally to boys and girls. Available in hardcover and
paperback. Suitable age: 2-7 years.
BIG BAD BILL ON THE NAUGHTY STEP
Mark Sperring and Tom McLaughlin
This is a quaint story for preschoolers about the importance
of saying sorry - and hopefully learning to change bad
habits. Big Bad Bill ends up on the naughty step, which is a
place you are sent to when you have done something that you
know you really shouldn't have. But Big Bad Bill is not alone
- Sam and Captain Buckleboots are there too. Will they all be
able to learn to say sorry? If you can ignore the naughty
step bit, then this is a truly delightful story with amusing
illustrations. A bit of silliness and fun for all. Suitable
age: 2-5 years.
THE MAGICAL LIFE OF MR. RENNY
Mr Renny is such a good painter that whatever he paints looks
exactly like the real thing, but no-one wants to buy his work
and he becomes hungry. Then one day a strange man offers to
make all Mr Renny's paintings come to life and he suddenly
finds he has an endless supply of food and goods. But when
his friend Rose comes to ask if she could buy a painting Mr
Renny doesn't have any real paintings left, and the spell
must be broken so Mr Renny can paint ordinary pictures once
more. This is a really fun book with clever and amusing
illustrations that contain subtle references to the work of
Belgian surrealist René Magritte. Suitable age: 2-7.
IN THE LION
This is a highly entertaining and extremely cute take-off of
the popular song There was an old lady who swallowed a
In this version, which is definitely a story, it's a lion in
a zoo who is doing the swallowing. The lion starts off by
swallowing a dentist, a hairdresser, a chef, and a zookeeper
and then he moves on to various animals as he breaks loose
and walks around the zoo. Eventually a boy, who has the
bravery of a lion, saves the day. This is a hard-covered
picture book. Suitable age: 2-6 years.
Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop
Absentminded Mr Whistler always has a song in his head and a
dance in his feet. In a rush to catch the train he is so
distracted that he loses his ticket. Is it in the bottom
pockets of his big coat or the top pockets of his jacket?
Perhaps he slipped it into his waistcoat? He starts to
undress as he tries to find it, and everyone around him
starts throwing down money because they think he's dancing.
This is one of Margaret Mahy's final books before she died
this year. It is a striking illustrated hardcover picture
book, and a wonderful partnership of two highly talented
people. Suitable age: 3-7 years.
Melanie Drewery and John Bennett
Max and his friend Dan are desperate to get their name on the
fishing fame board. They are both good fishermen but neither
of their families owns a boat and they know that people with
boats are the ones who always catch the biggest fish. So they
end up borrowing Uncle Dave's paddle-boat without his
knowledge, and they get into a bit of strife - but they do
manage to catch a shark! This is one of those great books for
encouraging emergent readers (particularly emergent readers
who are adventurous young boys), and children who don't like
to read, to enjoy the wonders of getting lost in a great
story. The chapters are short, the story is fast paced, and
different fonts are used to add emphasis and humour. Suitable
age: 5-9 years.
MY HAPPY LIFE
Rose Lagercrantz and Eva Eriksson
This is a very fast-paced story, with very short chapters and
lots of simple but engaging illustrations. Another great book
for encouraging emergent readers - but particularly girl
readers this time. Dani is usually a very optimistic girl, no
matter what happens, but she is about to encounter some new
situations that make it hard to be happy. After a sleepless
night Dani is finally on her way to school for the first
time. She wonders what will happen and if she will make
friends. Will she be able to cope with the new complexities
that are about to enter her life? This is a sweet and really
fun book for girls. Suitable age: 4-7 years.
By Paula Benson-Gamble.