Archive for July, 2011

Announcing the winner: Make a monster competition

Takeshita_Demons_coverHi! I’m Cristy Burne, author of the Takeshita Demons books and Star Author for July.

July is almost over, so it’s time to announce the winner of our Make a Monster competition! We had some incredibly creative and spooky and funny entries, so THANK YOU!

Our winners will recieve…

…a copy of Takeshita Demons, the first book in my series of spooky adventures featuring Japanese demons.

What is Takeshita Demons about?

Miku Takeshita knows she’s in trouble when her relief teacher turns out to be a nukekubi cut-throat demon – a bloodthirsty creature who can turn into a flying head and whose favourite snack is children.

That night, in a raging snowstorm, Miku’s little brother Kazu is kidnapped by the demons, and then it’s up to Miku and her friend Cait to get him back.

The friends must break into their snow-locked school, confront the dragon-like Woman of the Wet, and outwit the faceless Noppera-bo. At last, they come face to face with the Nukekubi itself – but will they be in time to save Kazu?

And so who won????

Well, the competition was a really close one. Everyone’s entry was creative and funny and many were incredibly gross as well (thanks!). You all produced demons to be proud of: what crazy, wonderful creatures! I hope you can use your creations in your own spooky stories and I look forward to reading your stories one day…perhaps on this blog?

But, in the end, we had to choose just one winner (well, in fact we could choose two winners)…

…and strangely, both of our winners are called Sophie!

So congratulations to Sophie (and the HobbleGobble demon), and to Sophie Yeoman (and the Oglesmock demon). Your demons were terrifically funny and scary at the same time: we loved them! Zac from the blog will get in touch with you about your prize very soon.

So that’s it from me and the month of July. WELL DONE to everyone who entered the make-a-monster competition… Your demons ROCKED and you do too!

Happy writing and reading!

Cristy


Cristy Burne
Author of the Takeshita Demons series

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Nanny Piggins by R. A. Spratt

Mr. Green desperately needs to find a new nanny for his children. In the four weeks  since their last nanny left, he has found himself actually having to talk to them, provide  them with meals and pay attention to them himself!! And all this has to stop.

Nanny  Piggins is a most unusual nanny. She is a pig. … Not just any ordinary pig though, Nanny  Piggins has run away from the circus, where she was the circus’ famous flying pig! Mr  Green’s three children Derrick, Samantha and Michael think they are incredibly lucky to have her.

Join Nanny Piggins on a series of wonderful adventures, read them all! There are 3 or 4 books in the series so far. (Is that right Zac?)

My favourite chapter was Nanny Piggins and the ‘sherbet lemon that saved the day’, because it seemed that Nanny Piggins had no idea whatsoever that the man who had got in the car was the one of the town’s most wanted criminals.

This book was recommended to me by my best friend Grace and also by my sister Eibhlin, so I would recommend this to ages 7+ because Eibhlin read it when she was 7.

I rate The Adventures of Nanny Piggins 10/10 because it was very funny; there is a one page disclaimer at the front of Nanny Piggins warning that Nanny Piggins’ diet (which consists of chocolate, cake, lollies, icecream and more) is not one to be followed unless you are a pig.

🙂 🙂

Saoirse,11

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The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker

This book is about Emma (Emeralda) and she is a princess. But this princess is not ordinary – she doesn’t like the boring princes her mother likes, she is very clumsy and she has a laugh like a donkey braying! Emma finds her mother annoying and thinks she doesn’t understand her. Emma has an Aunt Grisena who is a witch who does magic and she loves her very much.

Emma loves her castle, in particular the swamp where she goes to get away from her mother. When we first meet Emma she is on her way to the swamp to get away from her mother AND the yucky Prince Jorje.  When she arrives she meets [you guessed it!] … a frog! Is the frog really a prince in disguise? Will a kiss solve this spell? This is a very unexpected story so fasten your seatbelt!!!

I give this book a 10 out of  10 and this is a wonderful book. It is for reading age 10 and up but I had it read to me so I was fine.

READ IT!!!

Eibhlin, age 8

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret movie trailer

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is a very special book that is told through both words and pictures.  It’s just been made into a movie, called Hugo, that looks fantastic and it will be coming out in New Zealand later this year.  While you wait for the movie you can borrow The Invention of Hugo Cabret from your library.

What did Saoirse think of the book? Find out in her review here on the blog.

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New Zealand’s ‘devils of the night’ – the giant weta

cristy burne and headsHi! I’m Cristy Burne, author of the Takeshita Demons books and Star Author for July.

July is nearly over, so don’t forget to enter our Make a Monster competition and win a copy of Takeshita Demons! We’ve had some awesome entries so far!

As some of you already know, I love writing about monsters and crazy, spooky things.

Well, some of the craziest, spookiest things are not imagined in books or stories. They’re real!

A great example — and a spooky creature I  love — is New Zealand’s giant weta.

What a weta!

Giant weta have been around for about 190 million years, and they look like it too. The giant weta on Little Barrier Island, off the coast of New Zealand, are known as ‘devils of the night’.

Their Maori name, ‘Wetapunga’, translates to ‘god of ugly things’.

Here are some cool facts about weta:

– Giant weta are orthopteran insects of the family Anostostomatidae. They look like wingless, leggy grasshoppers, and their bodies alone can reach around 8cm in length.

– They can weigh more than 70 grams, or about three times the weight of a house mouse.

– Many giant weta are not really so giant, and smaller species such as the Nelson Alpine Weta tip the scales at a not-very-scary average of 7 grams.

– Wetas are more likely to dine on treetop leaves than small children. They’re too heavy to jump, have no wings, and are slow to get around, making vegetarian cuisine the more affordable menu option.

– In a fight, wetas are sadly ill equipped, with only their spiky back legs and devastating bad looks for defence. Some will even roll over and play dead in an attempt to trick would-be predators.

– New Zealand’s new predators — the rats, cats, stoats and hedgehogs — often find that giant wetas make a decent-sized snack. This means giant weta populations are dwindling, and where Wetapunga were once common in the north of the North Island, they are now found only on Little Barrier Island, off the coast of Auckland.

– One weta species, the Mahoenui, returned from mainland extinction when it was discovered in 1962 hiding out in some gorse bushes in the North Island; the spikes of the introduced gorse had kept hungry hunters at bay. This weta weed patch has since been declared a protected area, and more than 200 endangered weta have been relocated to Mahurangi Island, in the hope of baby wetas on the way.



Aren’t weta awesome?

I find when I am having trouble thinking of something to write about, I can find inspiration in real life and amazing science. There are always strange things happening in the real world.

Where do you get your writing inspiration?

Anyone ever written a story about a giant weta?

If you want extra weta inspiration, you can get more weta-riffic facts from NZ’s Department of Conservation.

Happy writing and reading!

Cristy


Cristy Burne
Author of the Takeshita Demons series

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Who is the best movie villain?

Winter is the best time of year to sit inside and watch movies.  We have heaps of different types of movie in the library for you to borrow, from fantasy to adventure, and science fiction to western.  Every movie or TV show that you watch has a villain – they could be a witch, a pirate, an evil step-mother or a sinister uncle who is trying to steal his niece and nephew’s inheritance.

Here are my top 5 movie villains:

  1. The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  2. The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  3. The Fratelli family from The Goonies
  4. Darth Vader from Star Wars
  5. Magneto from X-Men

Who are your favourite movie villains?

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The Phoenix Files: Contact by Chris Morphew

Contact jumps straight back into the story of Jordan, Luke and Peter, three of the inhabitants (or prisoners) of the town of Phoenix.  It starts off right where the first book, Arrival ended with Luke, Peter and Jordan hearing the ring of a phone and running off to find out who the phone belongs to.  You learn in the first book that the phones and internet don’t work in Phoenix so it’s strange to hear a phone ringing.  This mysterious phone sets off a string of events that Luke, Peter and Jordan get caught up in.  The people who are in charge of Phoenix discover that the three of them are snooping around, so their principal gives them tasks to keep them busy.  This doesn’t stop them investigating the plans of the Shackleton Cooperative to bring about the end of the world, and as they uncover more secrets they find themselves fighting to save themselves and the ones they love.

Contact is fast-paced and so suspenseful that I found I was racing to finish the book.  Luke, Peter and Jordan get themselves into some really tight situations in this book and you wonder if they are going to get out of them alive.  The part when they are in Ketterley’s office really had me on the edge of my seat, hoping that they didn’t get caught.  One of the things I liked best about Contact is that Chris Morphew told the story from a different character’s perspective.  We see things from Peter’s point of view, which is quite different from Luke’s in the first book.  Hopefully the third book, Mutation will be told from Jordan’s perspective.  I’m going to get started on Mutation straight away because I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Recommended for 12+.   10 out of 10

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