Archive for July, 2010

Winners of our Poetry Competition

Congratulations to Henry and Maggie from our St Michael’s Star Bloggers for winning our poetry competition that we were running to celebrate NZ Poetry Month.  You can read A Politically Correct Christmas Story posted by Henry and My Pig Won’t Let Me Watch TV posted by Maggie.  Both Henry and Maggie have won a Smiggle prize pack for their efforts.

You too could have a chance of winning a prize here on the blog, just for telling us what you think.  Keep your eyes peeled for more competitions soon!

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Interview with Gary Paulsen

Here’s a short interview with Gary Paulsen, author of Hatchet, Lawn Boy and Notes from the Dog.

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Writing Tip of the Week – Margaret Mahy

This week’s writing tip comes from one of New Zealand’s greatest writers, Margaret Mahy, who will be appearing at the Storylines Free Family Day in Christchurch on Sunday 15 August.  Margaret Mahy has written so many books that it’s impossible to name them all.  She writes picture books, like Down the Back of the Chair, as well as novels, like Kaitangata Twitch, Maddigan’s Fantasia, Memory, and Portable Ghosts.   We’ll be posting some other great writing tips from Margaret Mahy over the next couple of weeks in the lead-up to Storylines.  This week, she talks about the story ideas that come to her.

“My ideas mostly come from things that happen to me, but of course they are changed a great deal by the time the story is finished. The ideas begin with real things but I invent all sorts of things to add to them, or I change them in some way before the story is finished.”

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What’s your favourite graphic novel?

Cover imageThere are so many different types of graphic novel (or comics) that we have in the library and everyone has their favourites.  My favourite graphic novels are the Tintin series by HergeTintin is one of my favourite book characters and I love the stories because they’ve got lots of action and adventure as well as interesting characters, like Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus.  A new graphic novel series that has just come out, called The Rainbow Orchid, is also really cool (you can read my review of it here on the blog).  The Asterix series has been really popular ever since it was written and I’m sure your parents read them when they were kids.

Some of the most popular graphic novels in the library are:

Do you like graphic novels or do you find them confusing?  What’s your favourite graphic novel?

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What might you find down the back of a chair?

Cover imageYou can find all sorts of interesting things down the back of a chair.  It’s the best place to find loose change because it always falls out of people’s pockets and seems to roll there.  Sometimes you  find old bits of food that have gone all crusty or have been mushed into the chair cushions.  Have you ever fallen down the back of the chair?  Some chairs are so soft and spongy that you can almost disappear into them.

There is a special writing and illustrating competition that you can enter if you go to the Storylines Free Family Day at the Christchurch Town Hall on Sunday 15 August.  All you have to do is write a one page story about what you might find down the back of a chair, or you could design a book cover for Margaret Mahy’s book, Down the Back of the Chair.  You can write it on the day or write it beforehand and bring it along.  There are prizes for the best writing and illustrations in each age group: Age 4-8 and 9-12 years and winning entries will be posted on the Storylines website.

Get writing or illustrating and you might win a cool prize.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane – it’s Boy Zero!

Cover imageBoys and girls, I present to you, the galaxy’s most exciting new superhero – Charlie Applejack (AKA Hero Boy), the star of Peter Millet’s new series, Boy Zero Wannabe Hero.  He can fly, turn invisible and he’s super strong (well, sort of).  He has all these abilities, but he’s also super clumsy, so he fails his superhero test and gets rejected from the Super School. 

However, the world’s newest supervillain, General Pandemonium, is hatching his evil plans to take over the world.  He plans to capture all of the superheroes in the world and zap their power so that they can’t stop him unleashing his super weapon, the Undie-taker-downer.  Will there be an outbreak of bare bottoms all over the world or will Charlie save the day?

Boy Zero Wannabe Hero is perfect for those of you who love Captain Underpants or just want something fun to read.  This book has everything, from an evil villain who wants to be rock star, deadly machines that keep breaking down,  a famous superhero that can’t stop farting and one who still has a lot to learn.   9 out of 10.

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My new favourite graphic novel – The Rainbow Orchid

Cover imageI have just discovered my new favourite graphic novel – The Rainbow Orchid by Garen Ewing.   It’s an old-style graphic novel, similar in style to the Tintin comics by Herge, with loads of action and adventure, and that’s the reason I love them. 

Set in Britain in the 1920s, The Rainbow Orchid is the story of the search for a mythical flower that was last mentioned by an ancient Greek philosopher hundreds of years ago.  There is a huge cast of quirky and sinister characters but the main story centers around Julius Chancer, the assistant to the great historical researcher, Sir Alfred Catesby-Grey, who sets off on a quest to find the Rainbow Orchid which lies somewhere in the mysterious sub-continent of  India.  However, there are others willing to stop at nothing to make sure Julius doesn’t get his hands on the orchid, including the slimy Urkaz Grope and his sinister personal assistant, Evelyn Crow.   Their journey starts in Volume 1 and continues in Volume 2 with Julius and his companions in India, with Volume 3 is due out next year.

If you love old-school adventure stories, with detailed illustrations, quirky characters, narrow escapes and car chases, then you should try The Rainbow Orchid.  Garen Ewing also has a fantastic website where you can learn more about the characters and find out what it takes to create a graphic novel.

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