Author – Mary-anne Scott
Age – 10+
Wolf (Wolfgang – named after Amadeus by his musician mum) hasn’t been very focused lately. His marks at school have declined and he’s dropped out of his sports and activities. Wolf’s worried about his brother Davey. Davey has been diagnosed with the rare Addison’s disease, requiring injections, hospital visits and rest.
When Wolf gets the chance to go hunting with an experienced uncle, his parents are dubious, but with Davey’s help he soon earns the right (and fitness) to go.
Excited, Wolf can’t wait to get out there among the action of a pig-hunt. He’s not disappointed, but by the end of his adventure he’s been scared, exhausted, embarrassed, angry, thrilled, and just plain terrified. It wasn’t what he expected and just about everything that can go wrong – does.
I loved the character of Wolf. He was very believable as he tried to shake the ‘townie’ label, impress a girl and his uncle, all with the thought of Davey stuck at home and unable to experience what he was doing. This story had no ‘boring bits’ as Wolf came across one challenge after another. Great kiwi lingo and reluctant reader heaven.
(Hunting, Siblings, Brothers, Courage, Pig, Boar, Tramping, Family)
Author – Maria Gill
Illustrator – Marco Ivancic
Age – 7+
Hundreds of thousands of animals were part of WWI and WWII. Horses, dogs, cats, monkeys, a tortoise, donkeys and pigeons all helped with the war effort, either with carrying goods and the injured, sending messages, finding the injured, boosting morale or even saving thousands of lives.
Anzac Animals is a celebration of all those animals with 20 of them showcased and displayed under sections WWI and WWII. Helpful extras to aid understanding of the information include easy-to-read fact boxes on each page, timelines for both wars with the animals as their focus, maps of Europe showing the conflict directions and separate sections on veterinary care and animal welfare, awards, and a glossary to pull everything together.
Creative Non-Fiction. Stunning full colour illustrations and captivating text, not only animal lovers will enjoy this one!
Author – Dermot O’Leary
Illustrator – Nick East
Age – 6+
Toto and her brother Silver have just moved from Italy to London. When they hear something in their bins outside one night, they go to investigate.
Little did they know they would make a friend called Catface. Catface is keen to show them the wonders of London and before they know it they are caught up in an adventure to save the small creatures of the city from an escaped King Cobra!
Toto’s eyesight isn’t that good, but she has razor sharp reflexes and was trained by a Ninja Master in Italy when she was small. Her skills come in very handy along the way.
A fun adventure above and below the streets of London, to find a giant snake escapee from London Zoo. Toto and Silver are based on the illustrator’s own cats. His Toto couldn’t see very well either, but had the reflexes of a fully-sighted cat.
(Animals, Cat, Snake, Rat, London, Sewers, Humour, Funny, Adventure)
Author – Hayley Scott
Illustrator – Pippa Curnick
Age – 6+
Stevie isn’t happy about moving from the city to the country to be closer to her dad. She is a dreamer and loves watching the clouds from her 18th storey apartment window and thinking about stuff. Will she be able to do that in the country?
Her grandmother gives her a moving gift – a teacup that opens up into a dolls house. Stevie is also given 4 rabbit figures for the house, but she knows this is a plan between her mum and grandmother to try and make her feel better about the move.
When they arrive at their new cottage, Stevie carries the teacup house and rabbits carefully inside and sets them up in her new room. But one of the rabbits is missing! While she’s frantically searching, something magical happens!
The first story in a sweet new series. Think Toy Story inside a teacup house. With colour illustrations throughout this is an ideal early chapter book.
(Magic, Moving, Adventure, Danger, Garden, Series)
Author – Julian Gough
Illustrator – Jim Field
Age – 6+
Rabbit & Bear are swimming in a lake, enjoying the summer, when a THING whizzes past their heads. It screams, hits a tree and lands in the water.
What is it, they wonder as Bear plucks it from the lake. It’s unconscious. It’s small. Its face is flat. It has bird feet. Suddenly Rabbit recognises it. It’s a creature that he’s always been told to avoid. They are 6 ft tall and will terrorise you! They eat you alive and burp up your bones!
I don’t think so, says Bear having a closer look at the small, still, fuzzy bundle.
As always, Rabbit gets himself all worked up in a tizz, while Bear looks on figuring things out properly. Slowly but surely they work out the truth as the thing awakes, and Rabbit learns that he actually may have something (embarrasing) in common with it.
Just as good as the first two stories – Funny, thoughtful, and endearing, as these two friends learn about acceptance, no matter what they’ve always believed.
(Animals, Humour, Funny, Series, Acceptance, Prejudice)
Author – Julie Leung
Age – 8+
Two stories in one that entwine as the lives of two kingdoms are at stake.
Calib Christopher is a shy, quiet mouse – nothing like his father or grandfather who were brave mouse knights in battle, and strong rulers of their kingdom – under the floors of Camelot.
Calib wants nothing more to be a honoured knight and carry on the revered Christopher name, but courage is something he hasn’t found yet. When there is an attack on one of their leaders, their kingdom is quick to blame the Darklings – another band of animals they signed a truce with years before.
But the clues left by the assassin weren’t left by a Darkling. Calib tries to convince the knights, but no-one will listen. Can he stop a war with the wrong kind? Can he discover who the true assassin is?
Galahad is a young boy returning to Camelot without his famous father Sir Lancelot. He is scoffed at by the other pages and squires who know he has been living in a nunnery for protection. He is soon banished to the kitchens when unsuccessful at early knight training. When he discovers a mouse that seems to be trying to talk to him, he knows that something important is happening. Can they work together to save Camelot?
A fantastic story! A cross between Narnia and The Knights of the Round Table with a quest to achieve, courage to find and epic battle scenes. Loved it! 1st in a series.
(Series, Knights, Bravery, Magic, Courage, Camelot, Assassin, Revenge, War, Animals, Mice)
Author – Ella West
Age – 12+
Annie lives in a small town called Westport (west coast, Sth Island, NZ). Westport has endless rain, struggling coal mines and small town gossip. When Annie’s neighbour’s house is surrounded by armed defenders, it is the most exciting thing that’s happened for a while.
Annie doesn’t believe her neighbour Pete did any of the things they say he did. He’s always been friendly and quiet. But he’s gone missing and the longer he’s gone, the more suspicious he looks.
A police detective from the city arrives from Christchurch for the case, and his son Jack has come with him. Jack loves horses as much as Annie, and they meet by chance on the beach in the rain. More horse rides on the deserted beach build something between them. But surely it’s just for fun?
Annie’s comfortable life is turning on its head. There’s Jack and his smile, the local coalmine upsetting whole families by laying off staff, and Pete still on the run. Will things ever be back to normal?
I felt I was right there in Westport with the rain and the worries Annie and her family faced. I learnt about the dwindling coal mining industry and the upheaval it caused, and also a little about the mining disasters that have occurred there over the years. Rich with horse lore, animal lovers will enjoy this story. The mystery woven throughout the narrative will keep you guessing.
(Coalmine, Mystery, Romance, Fugitive, West Coast, Horses, Murder)