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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Come along to the Storylines Free Family Day

Storylines logoOn Sunday 15 August from 10am-3pm some of New Zealand’s best children’s authors and illustrators will be heading to the Christchurch Town Hall for the Storylines Free Family Day.  The whole day is FREE and it’s a chance for you to come and meet some of your favourite authors and illustrators, including Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley, Gavin Bishop, and the creators of the Wonky Donkey book, Craig Smith and Katz Cowley

As well as meeting all these cool people and maybe even getting your books signed, there are heaps of fun things for you to do, including face painting, creating your own bookmark or mask, and learning about the world around you in the Factopia zone.  Come dressed as your favourite book character and you might even score a spot prize.

To find out more about what’s happening on the day you can grab a programme from your local library or visit the Storylines website.

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Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen

Cover imageOMG!!!

I got this totally awesome book at the library last week. It’s called Brian’s Winter. It’s about a boy who is flying over a wintery landscape and the pilot of the helicopter just goes pflt….dead!!! The controls give way and the helicopter goes down and down. Luckily,the helicopter’s safety kit has all the stuff he needs to survive in the wintery woods. Eventually,he finds a small line on the hill not very far away and he gets back home!!! But,while he was living there,he had to eat rabbits, foolbirds, deer, and moose.He uses stones and sticks to make arrows,and he uses the hides of the animals as snowshoes, jumpers,and boots. Sure, they look dumb, but they sure keep him warm.

By Rachel. 😀

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Dreams of Warriors by Susan Brocker

Cover imageDreams of Warriors is about a girl called Bella whose dad is off fighting in the war and to make matters worse there’s a mad horse who’s got a problem but when help comes Bella needs to be wise.

I love it!  It’s a great book  and I hope you enjoy it.   Ages 10-14.

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A Pinch of Poetry – Grumpy Eyes by Michelle A. Taylor

I have grumpy eyes.
They should go back to sleep.
This morning woke up early
From all that counting sheep.

Night time is still dreaming
Somewhere in my bed.
And right behind my eyelids
Lies the day ahead…

By Michelle A. Taylor from her book If the World Belonged to Dogs.

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Horrible Histories come alive on DVD

Cover imageEverybody knows that the Horrible Histories series of books are the fun way to learn about history, with all the nasty bits left in.  You can learn about the Woeful World Wars, the Rotten Romans, Vicious Vikings and the Awful Egyptians, and they have lots of cool comic strips, quizzes and disgusting facts.

Now you can watch some of history’s most gruesome and funny moments take place in Series 1 of the Horrible Histories TV show.  There are 12 episodes of foul facts, rotten rulers, beastly battles and evil inventions, along with horribly hilarious sketches, songs, cartoons and quizzes.  Reserve a copy at the library today and prepare to be grossed out!

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The Karate Kid Movie

Dre Parker has just moved from Detroit to China with his mother. Though he isn’t very good at speaking Mandarin. When he arrives, he finds it very hard to settle in. To make it even harder, he finds a new enemy on the first day of school, Cheng. After a few minutes Dre and Cheng find themselves in a fight, and Dre soon realises that his opponent is no ordinary boy, but a professional at Kung Fu. After days of hiding from Cheng and even more days of getting beaten up, a maintenence man assists Dre and fought away the pack of bullies chasing the innocent boy. Finally he gets up the courage to ask the cleaner to teach him some moves. But then Dre finds himself in alot of trouble and danger. Will Dre become the ultimate “Karate Kid”?

I saw this movie today and its awesome! It keeps you on the edge of your seat and wondering what will happen next. Overall I think its a great movie and I’d give it 9/10 and its suitable for everyone 8 years or over.

By Henry

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A Politically Correct Christmas Story

 I think this poem is really funny and I hope everyone else does too.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”.
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.
And labour conditions at the North Pole
were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called “Unenlightened.”

And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorised use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she’d enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he’d never had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamoured or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls, or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacifistic.

No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.
For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football…someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, dishevelled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere…even you.
So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…
May you and your loved ones, enjoy peace on Earth.

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Spook’s Nightmare book trailer

The Spook’s Nightmare by Joseph Delaney is due out in August so reserve your copy now.  But BEWARE – they’re not to be read after dark!

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Writing Tip of the Week – Joseph Delaney

This week’s writing tip comes from Joseph Delaney, author of the spine-tingling Spook’s Apprentice and other books in the Wardstone Chronicles including his latest book, The Spook’s Nightmare.  Joseph tells us the inspirations for his books and where ideas come from.

The ideas for my books come from nightmares, dreams and day-dreams which I always jot down lest I forget them. Sometimes I’m inspired by the things that people say or do or a piece of town or countryside I see whilst out walking. I do more ‘writing’ in my head than I ever do on paper or type into my computer.

Check out Joseph Delaney’s creepy Spooks website to find out more about the author and his books.

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Funky Word Friday – dazzle

dazzle (verb)

Pronunciation: daz-el

What does it mean?:
1. to overpower with light
2. to impress greatly or confuse with brilliance

How do you use it?: We were dazzled as the fireworks suddenly exploded in the sky.

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Moshi Monsters

Have you heard of Moshi Monsters?

It’s a fun internet game you can make your own Moshi Monster any colour you want and you can name it any name … but keep your password a secret with parent’s permission.

The website is www.moshimonsters.com ( I think).

You can buy seeds and when they are fully grown you might get a moshling.  If you play lots of puzzles you will get more rox.

If you’re a member you can go to the port and gift shop where you can buy gifts for others.

By Maggie


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ClubPenguin

Have you of heard ClubPenguin?

Well it’s a fun game on the internet that you can play!

The website is www.clubpenguin.com (well that’s what I think)

You can make up your name and what colour you want your penguin to be (just remember you need a parent’s permission).

If you play lots of games you will have lots of money to buy stuff, BUT YOU HAVE TO BE A MEMBER IF YOU WANT TO BUY CLOTHES AND INSTRUMENTS!  If you are not allowed to be a member you can buy backgrounds and you can also collect pins!

(Keep your password a secret!)

By Shuying






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Oracle by Jackie French

Cover imageJackie French is a great Australian author who writes books for all age groups, and she particularly writes really good historical novels, like Hitler’s Daughter, The Night they Stormed Eureka, and A Rose for the ANZAC Boys.

Oracle is Jackie French’s latest novel and set in Ancient Greece.  Nikko and his sister Thetis live in a small village in the mountains, but one day they are taken from their hard life into a world of luxury.  They are trained as acrobats to perform for the King of Mycenae and soon forget their old life.  But Nikko’s sister is both cursed and blessed – if she speaks she must tell the truth.  When Thetis tells the King a truth about his future, their world comes crashing down around them.  Jackie’s historical detail is amazing and she paints a clear picture of what life was like in Ancient Greece.

If you like books with a bit of history woven into the story then try Oracle.   8 out of 10

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