Showing posts from August, 2020

Review: I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me

How many of us grown-ups remember all the wonders we witnessed as a child? How is it that we learn so much as we mature but forget to how to see the little things, the things that matter more than making deadlines and ironing straight creases? I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me is a picture book that speaks directly to small people, the ones that are still able to see what we grown-ups are too busy to properly notice. One day in a rushing city on a crowded footpath a small boy notices a man and his dog. And they notice him. Pete’s world is a small square of cardboard and a grubby capful of hope. The boy stops to chat and is rewarded with a beautiful chalk drawing drawn just for him by Pete. The boy’s heart explodes with friendship but with the responsibility of new connections comes concern and the boy worries about Pete’s wellbeing. How does he endure stormy nights and cold days? How does he fill his tummy when he's hungry? Fortunately the local shop owners show Pete kindness and com

Review: Wonderscape

Arthur is a nimble-minded, science-loving thirteen-year-old living in your average housing estate. He is not high in the friend stakes but just he and his dad enjoy a peaceful enough life. Arthur's main priorities include keeping a low profile at school and avoiding confrontation at all costs, both of which are challenged when one morning on the way to school he witnesses a mysterious explosion. Arthur is not alone. Renegade bad girl, Ren and fashionista, Cecily also happen to be in front of number Twenty-seven when it implodes destroying the garden gnomes out front and potentially wounding a cute ball of canine fluff. Following the dog into the damaged house, the three unwittingly embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Somehow they and the dog, Cloud, are sucked into another dimension and…time. It is now the year 2473 and the trio are trapped in Wonderscape , a mega in-reality adventure game that is something altogether different from 21 st Century VR. To progress from realm

Book Bites: Cute Canines - Dogs in Picture Books

Change, albeit intense or imperceptible, is a part of the whole life deal. I think kids are in an interesting position, one full of challenges that promote a constant need for discussion. Thankfully, our bookshops are saturated with children’s titles promoting awareness, kindness, and global supplications for hope. Today, I want to visit a place in kids lit just as important but a little lighter. A place populated by…dogs. You either love ‘em or want to wipe the floor with them… on behalf of your cat, but whatever your persuasion, there is no denying animals, pets and in particular, dogs score high on the love-o-meter with kids. Dogs, whether in anthropomorphic roles or as themselves, relay stories with warmth and humour that is especially appealing for youngsters because they often draw no differences between themselves and their pets. It’s important to take advantage of this golden period of acceptance through story-telling to better instil understanding and caring in kids. Plus, h

Review: Taylor Before and After

‘There aren't just two kinds of people in the world! ’ Oh, gosh this couldn't ring more true. This phrase sounds inconsequential but like so many other lines from this story, it resounds with implication. Taylor Before and After is a novel that delivers exactly what the title proclaims: a look at one young girl's life before and after a life-altering event. The before and after are segmented into seasons that represent promise, Fall or Autumn - the before, and grimness and despair, Winter - the after. Towards the conclusion, Spring makes an appearance but more on that later. Taylor is a tween starting a new school in a new American state which happens to be the island of Hawaii. Nearly everything is exotic and evocative at first. She is intoxicated by the tropical perfumes of the island, its mesmerizing views and its addictive surfing culture. However not everything that sparkles are diamonds and soon the charms of an island lifestyle decay leaving Taylor feeling entrapp

Story Surprise! Fun 4 Kids

When I was much shorter and younger, I loved engaging TV shows that leapt from one activity to the next. Variety was indeed the spice of my young life. It still is. So when Lauren and Anthony, founders of The Side Show Factory - a place that houses their fantabulous entertainment shows for kids, wanted to involve a certain little pigeon as part of their engaging and stimulating program, how could I refuse. Story Surprise is about all the things that put the happy in glee: music, stories, art and craft; all tied together with nifty interactive song and dance routines that are guaranteed to get kids up and moving. There's a bear in there too; Mick the Teddy is cooler than icy poles and a hoot to watch.  The 15 minute or so high energy episodes more than satisfy the young at heart but are brilliantly tailored for the under sixes. Each themed  Story Surprise  video incorporates educational snippets, easy to make and do activities, craft, audience shoutouts and catchy original songs

Review: Tuck Everlasting

Tuck Everlasting is a curious tale about a disaffected ten-year-old who although supremely obedient, rebels inwardly against her family's strict disciplinary ways. Winnie Foster lives in a cottage on the fringe of a mysterious wood. She is forbidden to enter it although it has belonged in her family for years. In defiance, Winnie spends more of her days than she ought to sitting by the locked gate communing with a very non-communicative toad until one day she decides to run away. The woods seem the obvious choice to begin a new life free of restrictions but Winnie's conviction cracks as she considers all the dangers she's ever been warned about and how they might befall her. Disgusted with by her cowardice, Winnie makes a pact with herself to visit the wood for the day and if she should decide to stay forever, then she needn't ever return. The wood is cool and indifferent, not at all sinister and bleak as she'd imagined but when Winnie stumbles upon a clearing a