Archive for January, 2011

The Peco Incident by Des Hunt

CoverTake two cousins Danny and Nick, eco tourists Brio and Roost, Harriet the Parriet, Albatross and Penguins colonies and what do you have?  The latest page turner by Des Hunt – The Peco Incident.

Danny lives on the Otago Peninsula and is dreading his cousin Nick coming to stay.  He’s ok if he takes his Ritalin but guess what he forgot to pack.  The boys become involved with an outbreak of bird flu which threatens the birds of Taiaroa Head.  Did the outbreak come from the Peco chicken farm or are Brio and Roost more sinister than they seem?

Des has written a great read.  As you’re reading you can imagine the wild rugged landscape of the Peninsula.  The relationship between the boys allows for some wonderful humour throughout the book.  There is also plenty of  adventure as it becomes a race against time among the cliff tops of Taiaroa Heads to save the rare birds.

‘Maybe we should check her out on the web,’ suggested Nick. ‘She might be one of those eco-terrorists.’

It was a good suggestion.  That was the thing about Nick.  He could be real dumb at times, but he was actually quite intelligent.  The problem was recognizing the clever bits in amongst all the rubbish.

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Best Mate by Michael Morpurgo

Best Mate (also published as Born to Run) is a book about a greyhound dog called Best Mate who starts a journey of a lifetime when he is abandoned as a puppy and rescued by a boy named Patrick. He loves his life with Patrick until two animals smugglers come and capture Best Mate and take him away to be raced against other greyhounds. The racer’s daughter Becky soon learns ugly truth and runs away with Best Mate, whom she calls Brighteyes. But life in the streets is a horrible nightmare. Brighteyes and Becky have some trouble (I won’t spoil it with details) and Brighteyes must start yet another life …

Great book! My favourite part was when Patrick risked his own safety rescuing Best Mate and his siblings from the disgusting canal water. It was very heroic! The best thing about this book is the satisfying, but unsatisfying, ending. And the ending made me think about things from each of the main characters’ point of view: Patrick’s, Joe’s, and Best Mate’s etc..

I also liked that every few chapters we got to hear the thoughts and feelings of Best Mate himself and this added an extra element to the story to be able to see what both the person and the dog were thinking about the same situation. I thought that the way Michael Morpurgo writes his words make you feel like he is bursting with ideas and words and ways to describe things. He uses great language and clear uncluttered ideas.

This book is for animal lovers and kids who like a bit of adventure. It would be best for kids 8+. I give it a 11 out of 10.

Best Mate proves that it is not just cats that can have more than one life.

Saoirse, 10

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Faith Hope and Ivy June

Ivy June Mosley lives with her Grandparents in the rural townof  Thunder Creek where Ivy June’s family don’t have an indoor bathroom or electricity.  When Ivy June gets chosen to go  on a student exchange program with a girl from Lexington called Catherine she starts to worry what her simple life will look like from a rich girl’s view. On the program both girls learn not to judge people by stereotypes. Even though Catherine is rich she and Ivy June become good friends.  I found this book very interesting. I would rate this book 9 out of 10

By Emma age 11

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Just disgusting by Andy Griffiths

This book, Just Disgusting,  is really funny and really DISGUSTING!!!!

My favourite character was Andy (of course!). My favourite part of the book was when the two brown blobs  were chasing him round the bath – he didn’t know what they were … but I did!!!

I recommend this book to people who like funny books and I give it a 10 out of 10.

Eibhlin, 8

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Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

Ramona  is a very cute girl with straight  brown hair c ut in a bob.  She can be naughty, but not on purpose.  This book is about Ramona’s year kindergarten.  She wants to be loved  by her teacher Miss Binney, who she has a crush on, but she sometimes feels the teacher does not love her.    Ramona gets into trouble, because she longs to boing Susan’s curls, chases Davy around the playground trying to kiss him, and wants to be the naptime fairy. 

One day she gets her new shiny red gumboots stuck in a mud puddle.  Miss Binney has to ask Henry Huggins to pull her out of the mud and to go back for her new red boots. She decides she wants to marry him.                                                                         

I think this book is extremely funny; the things Ramona do make me laugh my head off.  I rate it 10 out of 10

by Sophie  Age 8

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The Undrowned Child book trailer

If you like your fantasy with a touch of history, you’ll love The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric, and the sequel, The Mourning Emporium.

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A Long Walk To Water

Linda Sue Park has weaved two stories into one in this great book.  Nya has to walk for two hours each way to get water for her family.  She does this twice a day every day.  Eight hours a day!

Salva is also walking.  Away from his war torn homeland.  His journey across Africa from his homeland Sudan to Ethiopia and Kenya is a journey that will take many years.  Along the way he encounters many dangers.

This book is a novel but it is based on a true story.  It is based around the Second Sudanese Civil War which started in 1983.  Millions of people were displaced often unable to return to their homes.  Among the displaced there were large groups of boys who becam known as the Lost Boys.  This is the story of one of those boys.

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Boy Zero trivia update

Hi all

Here are the answers:

1.  Go to page 16. There is an odd web page address there. Does it work?

Yes it does. Click it and see.

2.  Go to page 116. The director of the super school is my grandfather. (Just his name that is.)

3. Go to page 68. The call sign of the police car is Red Five. Which famous movie character also goes by this call sign when he’s flying his spaceship?

Luke Skywalker from Star Wars is Red Five in his X-Wing spaceship.

4. Go to page 108. The chapter heading is a huge clue to the answer of question 3.

Use the ‘shorts’ Luke. Isn’t that what Obi Wan Kenobi said?

5. I had to change the name of the character that eventually became Charlie Applejack. Can anyone guess what the original name of Boy Zero was? It was one of the following names:  Zac Applejack,  Wonder Wally, Casey Applejack or The Superzero. I’ll give you a clue – we have a famous sportsperson with a similar first name. (This is bit of a trick question by the way.)

The answer is Casey Applejack. In NZ and USA Casey is a boys or a girls name. However in the UK it is a girls name only. So a change had to be  made. Interesting note – Wonder Wally returns in Book Two as  Char;ie’s superhero grandfather.

Bye for now.


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And the Summertime Reading Club winners are …


After a busy summer of reading where 576 children completed 779 reading logs and read a whopping 4674 books, the winners of book prize packs from Barrington Paper Plus can be announced. The winners are:

  • Julia Greenslade, 12, Burnside
  • Carlos Aso, 7, Northwood
  • Joshua James, 9, Spreydon

And the iPod Touch?

Victoria Dodge was the lucky winner of this prize, as well as a book prize pack.

Thanks for entering

Well done to all our keen readers. Now you’re in the reading habit you can prepare for the Reading Crusade — coming your way in April.

Download a Summertime Reading Club bookmark [158 kb PDF]

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39 Clues Book 11: Vespers Rising – coming soon

Did you finish the 39 Clues series and still have unanswered questions?  Never fear because you only have to wait until April for Book 11 in the series, called Vespers Rising.

“In Vespers Rising take a whirlwind trip through Cahill history and uncover secrets too explosive to reveal during the Clue hunt.

  • Travel back to the days of Gideon Cahill and Damien Vesper to read about the rivalry that shattered the Cahill family . . . and changed the fate of the world.
  • Learn about Madeleine Cahill’s first chilling encounter with Damien and how it inspired her to form the Madrigal branch.
  • Follow thirteen-year-old Grace Cahill as she embarks on her very first mission during one of the most dangerous moments of the 20th century.
  • Finally, flash forward to the present to join Amy and Dan as they prepare to fight their new enemy—the Cahills’ historic rivals—the Vespers.”

Check out the 39 Clues website for more information about the book and watch the book trailer.

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Midnight by Jacqueline Wilson

This book is about this girl named Violet. She has a brother named Will. Will is adopted, and  he only found out lately.

Violet is inspired by Casper Dream because he writes and draws about fairies. She once wrote to Casper Dream and he replied. But when she wrote to him again it said there is no such address. So she wrote to him every day and kept in a silver box hidden in the back of the cupboard.

Violet has no proper friends at all. At the moment she is friends with two bossy know-it-all-Marnie and Terry. But one day at school a new girl named Jasmin joined the school. Can Violet be friends with this new kid?


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Amazing author secrets revealed

I bet that got your attention! Well, I’m not sure if I’m revealing an amazing secret here –  it’s probably more likely an interesting fact actually.

Ever wondered how books are made? Ever wondered what genius minds meet together in locked rooms with secret handshakes and talk to each other in cryptic code words to shield the prying eyes of the public from discovering their latest masterpieces about to be released? Shock, horror, book publishing is nothing like this at all. (There are absolutely no secret handshakes that I am aware of – and I have never been invited to a meeting in a locked room yet either.)

To prove how simple things are –  a humble author like myself was invited to suggest some ideas for the book cover of my third Boy Zero book. I have attached my original concept version created in Powerpoint using clip art,  and the finished version created by Faber & Faber. The only genius work involved in this project was by the amazing illustrators and design team involved. (Perhaps they share a secret handshake.)

So maybe some readers out there have the potential to create their own book covers too! If you can use Powerpoint and clip art, then you’re half way there already! I would expect you could probably do an even better job than I did. (I’m just a mere butterfingers adult computer user.)

See you for now


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Silly Sons and Dozy Daughters by Rose Impey

This book has stories about silly sons and dozy daughters.

My favourite story was a story is about a very silly boy. An example of his silliness is that his payment for working at the bakery is a CAT! He is carrying home the cat and it scratches him and runs away. His mum thinks this isn’t a great way to carry a cat and tells him to tie it to string and pull it along. The problem is that the next day he gets a ham for his wages and he ties it on string and drags it home! Silly! Read the book to see what his wages are next …!

I liked this book because it was cool and funny, and I give it about an 8 out of 10.

Eibhlin, 8

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Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

I had this book recommended to me by a friend and picked it up rather uncertainly! It was huge! Then I looked inside and discovered some great artwork that made up quite a large part of the book.

I really liked this story. It was about a young boy named Hugo Cabret who loves to fix things, especially clocks. The museum burns down and Hugo’s father is killed. Hugo goes to live with his Uncle and meets a girl named Isabelle. He befriends her and starts out on a magical sequence of events …

My favourite character was Hugo because he was very brave and yet a little mischievous. He has a main purpose in life, which is to fix his father’s Automan, which was very precious to his father.

I rate this book a 10 out of 10 because there were very clever drawings telling you every detail of what was going on, which really added something to the story.

Who would enjoy it? Children aged 9 upwards would really understand this book and how wonderful it is to read.

I think it is being made into a film. Does anyone know? Leave a comment if you do know please.

Saoirse, 10

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January Star Author Competition

The winner of the January Star Author Competition is Billy Weed.  The Boy Zero books are coming your way.

Our January Star Author, Peter Millett, has written a series for younger readers called Boy Zero: Wannabe Hero.  In the series the main character, Charlie Applejack, is a boy with superpowers who really wants to be a superhero.  The only problem is that the Super School has rejected him because his superpowers aren’t super enough.  However, when the galaxy’s most sensational new super villain hatches a dastardly plot to take over the world, it’s up to Charlie to save the day – and that’s only in the first book!

To go into the draw to win a copy of Book 1 and 2 of the Boy Zero series we want you to tell us what superpower you would like to have and how you would use your power.   Just add a comment on this post with your name and email address (so we can contact you if you win).

This competition has now closed.  Thanks to everyone who entered.

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The Seekers The Quest Begins by Erin Hunter

This is the story of three young bears, struggling to survive in the wild as they follow the Pathway Star, hoping that it will lead them to a safe home. Kallik is a young polar bear, who is separated from her mother and brother as the ice begins to melt. Toklo is a brown grizzly bear, who is abandoned by his mother, and must learn to survive alone. Lusa is a black bear cub, who escapes the zoo in which she lives in, leaving all she loves behind her. They face many dangers: older, hungry bears, starvation, and hunters, as they follow their only hope: a star, said to lead one to what they need the most, spoken about only in myths. Will the bears find a safe home? Or is it their destiny to stay alone and unloved? I liked how this book had one chapter for Lusa, then one for Toklo, and so on. I thought that most of it was very sad, but I enjoyed the description. This is only the first in I don’t know how many other books in the Seekers series. It is a very exciting book, probably meant for 10 to 12- year-olds. I give it an 7 out of 10.

By Tierney.

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Harry Potter Film Wizardry

Harry Potter Film Wizardy is a guide to the harry potter movies including the  dealthly hallows.  It shows you how everything is film.  Hey here’s a fact in the movie 5th movie – when Draco got bitten by the Hippogriff  and Hagrid carried him that was a platic model of him!  That was the most saddest part of the story!  I cried a bit though (everybody at my school would know why and some of the librarians).  Anyways there are loads of facts such as interviewing the  actors!

Thanks Cammrar

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Postcards From Around The World

From October to December 2010 Caledon Public Library in Ontario, Canada, ran a postcard exchange programme with libraries from other countries to celebrate different cultures from around the world.

Click here to find out

Where in the world has your postcard ended?

The New Brighton Library joined the programme and we had local children and young adults writing and sending postcards representing Christchurch, New Zealand. We also had the special participation of Nova Montessori and Central New Brighton Schools, the kids did a fantastic job!

Christchurch City Libraries provided blank postcards for the patrons involved to draw and write on. They have mostly written about themselves and their favourite books and hobbies. You can have a peek at some of the ones we have sent here.

The postcards we received are on display at the New Brighton Library from 15 Jan-15 Feb 2011 but feel free to check out the webpage that Caledon Public Library has set up for the kids to find out where in the world their postcards have ended.

Click here to see more
Display at the New Brighton Library

It has been great to participate in such an inspiring Project!

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My Sister the Vampire!

Warning! This book has ROMANCE! – Just kidding!

Olivia is just a new girl ar school who tries to fit in with everybody else. Then she meets this girl named Ivy Vega. She was a goth – seriously. Ivy and Olivia had something in common and do you know what that is? They’re twins! But then Ivy told Olivia about how she was a vampire and this was one of the  “vampire breaking rules” so she felt all guilty.  How can she keep this as a secret? I’ll give you some advice – read the book.

Caution= this book would be better for girls. Trust me boys!

thanks Cammrar

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A Waltz for Matilda

Jackie French has written alot of novels on the history of Australia but this is one of her best.  Matilda’s mum dies so she heads out to the bush to find her dad.  She finds him but tragedy strikes.  What follows is an amazing yarn about how 12 year old Matilda takes on one struggle after another to become an independent woman.

It is also the story of a new country developing.  There strikes by workers, bushfire, war, and drought.  There are new inventions like the car and radio.  There is woman fight to be aloud to vote.  The book also contains alot of rasist comments we wouldn’t use now but Jackie wanted to keep the book as true to how life was then as possible.

The story is loosly based around that annoying Aussie song Waltzing Matilda but is still a good read.  The book is from the Young Adult section but doesn’t contain anything that would upset the parents.  It is a long slog at 478 pages so it is really only an option for those of you who are really good readers.

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong…………………

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