Book Review: Bee & Me, by Alison Jay

Another favourite NZ Reviewer…

Available now at bookshops nationwide.

cv_bee_and_meCan a picture book without words still tell a story? Absolutely it can! Bee & Me tells a heart-warming and positive tale of an unusual friendship, with an environmental message for us all. The joy of stories related only in pictures is the freedom it opens up for each reader to fill in the details, both large and small, from the starting point that the illustrations provide. As no two readers are alike, the book then becomes unique to each person who discovers it; we each bring our own voice to the story. Giving the reader freedom to add their own depth and experience offers a wonderful opportunity for ‘big readers’ (parents, grandparents etc) to introduce ‘little readers’ to talking about a story and asking questions about what they see. Without text there is plenty of scope for their imaginations to fill in what is…

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TAKA KIRO WAI –He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho by Keri KAA

He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho

Author Keri KAA

Artist Martin D PAGE
This Māori language, 59 page picture book is an amazing compilation of story, artwork and photography, decorated and enhanced with examples of Māori weaving and carving patterns.
Publisher Tania was kind enough to relate the story to me in English (I am not bilingual) which I can summarise for you. As a Māori reader, you will get more out of the book than I can, so bear with me.
It is the true story of a rural home, surrounded by farmland, in the area of Ngati Porou, on which after an extremely rainy stormy night, the woman of the house looking out her window realises her mare is in difficulties. On closer investigation, she sees the mare has foaled overnight. The foal is still trapped in the birth sac, and in such deep water the mare cannot assist it to break free.
Friends come to help; they drag the foal onto higher ground, wrap it in a blanket with the hopes of saving the exhausted foal, who is very cold after being submerged in water. The mare is incapable of anything, so exhausted is she after birthing in the night and struggling in the flooded paddock. 
The mare has shared her paddock with a pig, and is used to its smell. The pig comes to the foal, and tears open the birth sac. It licks then rubs against the foal, for so long it tires and drops to rest in exhaustion. It returns to the foal and now starts treading with its forelegs on its back, until finally the foal comes alive. The mare returns, and coaxes the foal to stand and feed.
This book is a strong mixture of the expertise of the story teller and of the illustrator. Every page has its own significance to te tikanga Māori, to rural communities, and to – especially – spell-bound children.
The publishers have assured me there is a solid intention to produce an English language version in the future. I will happily announce that here when it happens.

Translations of the front cover (thanks to publisher Tania)…
Main Title – Taka Kiro Wai = Fell in the water
Sub-title – He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho = A story about a horse

(Yellow circle sub-subtitle – He Kōrero Pūrākau Tūturu Tēnei = This is a true story

ISBN  978-0-473-18406-3 paperback
Publication 2013 by Tania&Martin, Rotorua NZ.
Book is to be launched 22nd November,
and can be purchased via

Illustrations here are photographs I took of the review copy I read,
and in no way do justice to the book’s Real art.

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DREAMTIME – pt 1 of Guardians of the Shimmer by Garth LAWLESS

From the moment I realized the fantasy is set in New Zealand, is well written, and its antagonists are a family of parents and teenagers, I knew the author is on a winner.
His descriptive passages are vivid; we See the green bush, the space between the shimmer curtain, the safe haven, the dream worlds … in efficient writing which drew me on, reading until ungodly hours of the morning. 
His characterization is realistic. 13 year old Cole and sister 17 year old Lily are astonished to discover their parents are part of a fantastic “other world” in parallel to ours. In Gap-Space – between the Shimmer and Dream-Time – they quickly become enmeshed in the world of the Guardians, acquiring skills and powers to help the Guardians keep back the VELI, who are able to absorb innocents, change them to Veli, use them. 
Cole and Lucy become part of the Guardians’ quest to discover and return keys to the Shelter, and find they can move to other Shelters around the world. The chase and fight scenes are full of action, described in a way that will appeal to the young adult or adolescent reader. Finishing with an unresolved dilemma, Lawless leaves us demanding “where’s the next in the series?”
Intended for the ten to thirteen year old boy, it is proving popular with older age groups and with girls and women as well. Heck, I’m sixty-two and I want to read the sequel!
Dreamtime“, part one of the series Guardians of the Shimmer
Author: Garth Lawless
Illustrator: Joyce van der Lely
Publisher: OceanBooks,
PO Box 4075, Mount Maunganui South, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand 3149
ISBN: 978-1-937215-38-8 (paperback)
          978-1-937215-39-5 ( ePub)
          978-1-937215-40-1 (Mobi)
Available from …
·        Oceanbooks:

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The Wonderful Wizard of OZ by Lyman Frank BAUM

This Kindle collection of 15 of Lyman Franl’s OZ books comes with added content: essays on its Influence, Television Adaptations, Theatre adaptations, Literary Adaptations, Comics, Favourite BAUM quotations, free access to an Audiobook, and publisher’s notes.
To find this treasury – I’m rapt! It’s all here – except for mention of the many other books about the world of OZ written by other writers contracted by BAUM’s original publishers – one being Lyman Frank’s own son.
NZ’s English Curriculum included for students in Years 7 & 8 (Levels 3 & 4) to study literature compared to visual media. I had chanced across a book (non-fiction) describing how the series of books became so popular, at $1 each and bought six copies; I’d get NZ’s National Library service to send copies of books by L F BAUM; I had the Angela LANSBURY television documentary of the 50th anniversary, and bought a class set of The Wizard of Oz itself. When I left that school, I left behind all those resource. I promised my classes I’d have “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” played at my funeral. (I’m still of that mind-set.)
For families, and educators, get this for your own delight and for the new generation of Oz fans which will always arise once introduced to the books.
Will post a pic of the cover soon.
What is your favourite Baum book or character? Do Comment about this entry or about the author, or the book.
If you have read the book itself, then Rate the Book (not this post, please). Thank you