Archive for Family

Little brothers

web cover low resI have two brothers, both younger than me, but only one that I think of as my ‘little brother’. He’s called Andy and he was born when I was six and going to Karori Normal School. My brother Pete is so close in age I can barely remember a time in my life without him (he was my first best friend), but I remember the day Andy was born. I drew a picture at school of what looked like a tadpole with a baby’s face – Andy in his white blanket. You couldn’t see his fuzz of red hair. I wrote underneath about ‘my baby’, and about how I liked bathing him and looking after him.

When he started walking I was Andy’s unpaid protector, dragging him from the edges of bush tracks and wharves, sure he’d die a terrible death (and convinced my mother wasn’t paying enough attention.) Later, I rolled my eyes when his little friends came over and played cars and Lego – brmmm, brmmm etc. Boys!

Andy liked collecting things, small things. He ate the cuffs of his jerseys. He was loud and sticky. His hair got redder and redder, and he got taller … and taller.

When I was writing Dappled Annie and the Tigrish, I gave Annie a little brother called Robbie. He’s six years younger than Annie – he’s 4 and Annie’s nearly 10 – and like my brother Andy, he’s loud and sticky, and likes collecting small things. He collects them in his pockets so that when he walks he rattles. His father calls them the shinies.

I hadn’t expected Robbie to be such an important character in the book. When I first wrote it, he stayed at home with his mum while Annie went on her adventure with the tigrish. But he didn’t like that. Neither did I. I kept feeling something was missing.

So I rewrote the book and found that (without being asked) Robbie charged off on the adventure too. Much to Annie’s annoyance at first – because he is loud and he is sticky and he is 4 … but, like all little brothers, she discovers he has his moments. When they’re stuck in the Giant Wood with all sorts of scary things going on, Robbie’s collection of shinies and ‘commando moves’ help save the day.

Robbie has a lot of my brother Andy in him, but he has other important little boys wrapped up in him too: especially my son Adam and godson Ned – who were/are both loud and sticky and smart and adventurous. There are glimpses too of my brother Pete and son Paul who did less of the loud, sticky, physical thing and more talking, and two little boys who came regularly to my house when I was writing: Lincoln and Carter.

Boys! Who’d be without them? As a big sister of two, and a mum of two (and a girl too, my youngest), I know I wouldn’t. Above all else these lovely boys have given me a lot to laugh about. Here’s a taste of Robbie in the book. He and Annie are visiting Mr and Mrs Hedge who are part of the hedge at the end of the garden. There’s a nest of baby fantails for Robbie to see, including Bud, the smallest …

Robbie climbed up so his blue shorts were level with Annie’s eyes. She could see his back pocket had bulgy bits where he’d put his little things, what he called his shinies: small stones and bottle tops and dice and Lego bricks and walnut shells. They weren’t all shiny, really, but their dad said Robbie was a magpie and magpies liked shiny things, so that’s how they came to be called that.

Annie could see the way Mrs. Hedge had cupped her branches around Robbie and was watching him closely. Just a glimpse of her eyes, and then they were gone.

“Bud’s the littlest one,” said Annie. “The one with the wobbly head.”

“Getting bigger,” said Mrs. Hedge, “and noisier—listen to that squeaking! They think you’ve brought worms, Robbie.”

“One, two, three, four, five,” said Robbie, counting. “There are five baby birds.”

“They’re hungry,” said Mr. Hedge. “Bud especially—he misses out. He’s small and the other babies push him aside.”

“Worms,” said Robbie, and he pushed one hand into his back pocket. Out came a broken rubber band. Robbie wiggled it in front of his nose, sniffed, then pushed it back where it had come from. He fiddled around some more. A cotton reel. String. Then a fat thing that was brown and pinkish. It wriggled.

“Here, Bud,” Robbie said, and dropped it into the nest.

All Annie could hear were the cicadas. Then:

“He did eat it!”

“Yes, he did,” said Mrs. Hedge. “Thank you, Robbie.” And the leaves parted, and there were the leafy eyes. Robbie didn’t see them—he was too busy watching the nest.

“In one gulp!” said Robbie.

“I would think so,” said Mr. Hedge. “That was a nice fat worm.”

“I’ve got my worm-hunting tee-shirt on,” said Robbie, “that’s why I found it,” and he waved towards the rose bush. “You know, Mrs. Hedge, birds are cute dinosaurs, too.”

That’s when the leaves around Robbie shivered and shivered. Then they shook and shook. And a sound like a huge wave rushed towards them. Annie tugged hard at one of Robbie’s back pockets.               “Let’s get down.”

Robbie stayed as he was.

Annie tugged again—sharper this time—and the pocket wriggled. A cute something was in there. She let go.

The wave of sound made her feel like she’d jumped into a pool of icy water—there were goosebumps all over her arms and neck. Whatever it was, it was coming closer, sweeping the wire fence and crashing across the lawn…

Wind. Sending the wire fence twanging, billowing the sheets on the line, pushing and shoving its way between Annie and Robbie and the Hedges, roaring in their faces. Mrs. Hedge’s mouth moved but didn’t make a sound as she struggled to keep a grip on the nest. Mr. Hedge gripped Mrs. Hedge.

“Robbie,” yelled Annie over the torrent of air, “get down!”

from Dappled Annie and the Tigrish (Gecko Press 2014)

Comments off

BARCALONA 2

Today is Monday and we realise that back in New Zealand  this is the last week of school before the holidays.

Today we went to Park Guell which was designed by Gaudi, who designed the Sagria Familia. This park construction began in 1900.  It was originally constructed as an estate for well-off families in a large property.  It was not until 1922 that it was gifted to the Barcelona city Council and four years later turned into this public park.  It was evident by the number of people visiting today that it is an attraction for visitors from all around the world.

While there four visitors, from South Korea, said Amelia was cute.  I think they asked why she was not in school and where we came from.  We said “Christchurch, New Zealand” and they said “Aahhh, Christchurch, New Zealand”.

Did you realise everywhere in the world attractions have a gift shop that you must exit through – Amelia is very good at saying “You don’t need that”.

Taxi to the older part of Barcelona where we saw momuments to the battle that took place back on 11 September 1714.

For the first time we have had rain today – on and off.  Its not been a problem and the street sellers have had a chance to sell the supply of umbrellas as they quickly got them out for the passing walkers today.

Amelia must have internal radar for ice cream shops.  Chocolate and white chocolate ice cream – seems to cover her face but she is happy!  Very happy as we let her go to a shop called “Happy Pills”.  Can you guess what kind of shop that is for children and adults?  Mainly for children.

After shared Tapas and Paella we went to the Sagrada Familia.  A very famous building In Barcalona.  The brochure actually says “The Church of La Sagrade Familia – a Barcelona landmark and an artistic and spirutal symbol of Catalonia.”  It was good advice to book the tickets on-line before the day and ask the hotel to print them out.

We sat in the Church in silence and reflection and also watched the thousands of people taking photos and some not showing any respect at all.  Who would enter a church with an umbrella up.  Yes it was raining but getting well inside and continuing to walk around with it seemed strange.

We will go out tonight for our final meal here in Barcelona as we fly to Greece in the morning.

Exciting another place to visit.

Note:  Yesterday was walking and visiting the sites closer to our hotel.  So many people, so much history and a lesson for Amelia on cost benefit analysis. She understands now the concept.

Julie, David and Amelia

Comments off

BARCELONA

“Sleep is the best meditation”  Dalai Lama – that is what we found on a little card on our pillows when we arrived at our hotel in Barcelona.

No sign of gangs of pick-pockets at the train station.   Lots of warnings to be very careful and consider security

of money and other valuables.  Even being told to report thefts to the police for insurance purposes as you

won’t get them back.

After settling in we went looking for the swimming pool.  Very disappointed as it is so tiny – about the size of

two double beds..  Then it was time to search  for lunch/dinner.

Getting with the Barcelona atmosphere we sat outside in the outdoor dining area on  Rambla  Catalunya  and dined.

Paella, garlic mushbrooms, pesto ravoli.  Such beautiful food.

We will enjoy our stay in Barcelona.

Comments off

PARIS 2

Bonjour, & merci.
We are again back in the hotel room with sore legs.
.
Yesterday, was the Louvre. In the queue early and then raced to see Mona Lisa before the hordes. Only about 20 in front of her when we got there. I hate to think what it was like when the Japanese & American tour groups arrived – we saw them heading there later.  Extremely impressive building.  I took so many photos my camera battery died and I felt lost.
We did the old Greek, Roman & Egyptian stuff which was our interest – way to much to look at, you would need several days.  Then on to Notre Dame then eventually to the metro station.
Today a bit slower start to the day and on the metro to experience the  real Paris. No one smiles – feeling sad!
Into the Pompidou Centre, visited a few shops, Amelia tried on some sneakers, looked at t-shirts – didn’t buy anything other than lunch.  For the first time a nice waiter asked us where we were from.  Coconut ice cream is very nice – Amelia thinks chocolate is the best
Sitting outside the French Cafe – Amelia and I watched the people of Paris and the tourists go by.  We all thought that Paris would have a high standard of dress.  As you can gather we saw it all.  It was very nice taking time out to do what you do in Paris – eat, drink and watch the people go past.
Packed, as in the morning we will be off to Barcelona by train.
Early start – departing 6.30am.
Note:  I plan to do a catch up post on London – as it will be good to keep a record.  Each day we do so much, that this will be a great place to look back at.
Julie, David and Amelia

Comments (1) »

Paris

My goodness, we are making the most of our time and we are already in Paris.

We arrived yesterday coming from London on the Eurostar. A great experience going under  the English Channel and through France to Paris.  It was good we had someone to meet us at the train station.

Speaking French is a challenge to us!!

We look for the items on the menu with words in English and know they will be friendly and understand our requests.  This was our first full day in Paris and we went on an organised bus trip. We had to go on the Metro and lucky for us we had someone help us buy our tickets yesterday.  So with a bus load of people we visited the Eiffel Tower and also a Seine River Cruise.

Wonderful trip and amazing transfer of knowledge of the  important parts of Paris.

We have plans for a visit to the Louvre tomorrow.

Watching French television is ffrustrating – can’t understand it at all.

You might have guessed that Amelia has struggled to do the blog as at the end of the day she is wiiped out  – lots of walking and seeing as much as we can.  Therefore, I will attempt to blog when I get a chance as we have some amazing experiences to have.  Internet is not at its best so hopefully more soon.

Comments off

How to edit a magazine (part 3)

Writing isn’t part of every editor’s job – but it’s part of mine. For each Wild Things magazine I write an episode of Owl Kids plus at least one article. I also write word puzzles and devise a board game.

Here’s how we make the game:

First, I think of an idea. Then I draw a rough draft and start testing it on my family. I test it over and over, each time making small changes to the rules until it all works. It’s fun at first, but after several days my kids are begging me please not to make them play the game again!

Once the game is devised, there’s still plenty to do. The game wouldn’t be the game without Rob Di Leva, the designer. So when I’ve settled on the final instructions for it and made a draft layout, I send it all to him. At this stage it doesn’t look much fun to play!

This was my draft layout for the September 2013 game:

Image

Rob spends a lot of time and imagination turning each game into something that people would actually enjoy.

Here’s what he did with the plan above.

Image

Notice that he’s not just a fantastic designer, but a wonderful illustrator.

In fact, if you think Wild Things looks interesting and fun in general – that’s all thanks to Rob. While I’m writing and editing, he’s spending hour after hour taking care of the visual side. Behind every good-looking magazine (or book) is a great designer!

Okay. Once everything is written, illustrated, edited, and designed, and the whole magazine is almost ready to be printed – one last task begins. Proofreading.

This takes ages, and involves the editor and several others going over and over every part of the magazine to try and make sure it’s absolutely, perfectly, incontrovertibly correct – while the designer fixes all the spotted errors.

Now, let me tell you a secret that all editors know. No matter how well you think you’ve done your proofreading, at least one mistake will somehow creep through and end up in the printed magazine.

You just have to hope it’s nothing serious …

For example, you wouldn’t want a single dot left out of an email address so that everyone sends competition entries to the wrong place, causing great panic and an urgent phone call to tech support, who have to drop everything to get all the emails redirected from the wrong email address to the right one …

You wouldn’t want that.

But that is just an example, of course.

Image

Comments off

How to edit a magazine (part 1)

Have you ever made a class magazine?

I love working on magazines, so I couldn’t believe my luck when I got a job editing Wild Things. That’s the magazine of KCC – the Kiwi Conservation Club. KCC has members all round the country – kids like you – who get together to have fun and help save the environment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So. What does the Wild Things editor do?

I start planning each issue about three months before it has to be printed.

First I talk to four important people:

  • Tiff, the manager of KCC
  • Rob, the graphic designer and art director of Wild Things
  • Marina, who edits the Forest & Bird magazine (the adult’s version of Wild Things), and
  •  Mandy who’s in charge of the KCC website.

These four are always having brilliant ideas, as well as hearing important news, so I have to figure out the best way to fit all their ideas and news into one issue.

I ask myself: What could we make a puzzle or game or skit out of? What should have an article written about it? How long should the article be? What might we have to leave out, or maybe put in a later issue?

I have to remember we have only 24 pages in an issue. Sometimes I wish I could cram in a bazillion and six things – but then the writing would be so tiny you’d barely read it.

After much scribbling and typing and deleting and retyping, I have a plan I’m happy with. Part of it looks like this. See what it shows? (Enlarge it by clicking on it.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes – you just got a sneak peek at what will be on each page in the next issue.

In publishing jargon, that’s called a ‘flat plan’. I’m not quite sure why, but I suppose it makes sense: it is a plan, and it is flat (usually … unless it’s spent too long in my messy bag, or our cat Smoofie has been sitting on it.)

The next step is to see what Tiff, Rob, Marina, and Mandy think of the flat plan.

Hmmm … I haven’t shown this one to them yet – you’re the first to see it!

I better go show them now. More about how to edit a magazine soon.

Comments (1) »

Michael Morpurgo Month – Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

November 2013 sees a month-long celebration of Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful stories, marking his 70th birthday this year.  We’re celebrating by highlighting some of our favourite Michael Morpurgo stories, including Shadow.

Life in Afghanistan is terrifying for Aman and his family and they want nothing more than to escape.  When a Springer Spaniel appears in the mouth of their cave, Aman nurses the dog back to health.  The dog is like a “friendly shadow” that stays with Aman and his family and so he decides to call her Shadow.  When life becomes more dangerous, Aman and his mother leave their home and escape, with Shadow leading the way.

One of the things I like about Michael Morpurgo’s books is that you often get two stories in one.  In Shadow you get the story of Aman and Shadow, but also the story of Matt and his grandfather who fight to free Aman from the refugee detention centre in England.  There are sad things that happen in the story but there are also plenty of good things that happen, like Aman finding Shadow.

This is the perfect book for anyone who likes animal stories, survival stories, and stories about people from other cultures.    Recommended for 9+         10 out of 10

Comments (8) »

Come to the Storylines Free Family Day

This Sunday (11 August), from 10am-3pm at South Library, you can come along to the Christchurch Storylines Free Family Day.  It’s your chance to meet your literary heroes – authors, illustrators, storytellers and book characters and it’s absolutely FREE!

This year you can meet:

As well as meeting some of our best authors and illustrators you can get your face painted and have a go at some of the fun activities, including create your own menu, draw a friendly monster and perform your very own poem.

See you there!

Comments off

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins.

Gregor the Overlander is about a boy named Gregor who lives in an apartment in New York with his mother, grandmother and two sisters. One day, he goes to the laundry room with his sister Boots, and they discover the Underland.  The Underland is a place hundreds of feet under New York filled with giant bats, cockroaches, rats, scorpions and strange people, who send Gregor and Boots on a quest searching for their missing father.

My favorite character is Luxa, the queen of the Underland.  She is a little arrogant but very brave.  Gregor the Overlander is the first in a five book series. I give it a 8 and a half out of 10. Gregor the Overlander is suitable for 9 to 13-year-olds; boys and girls alike.  Suzanne Collins is also the author of the best-selling trilogy The Hunger Games.

By Luka, age 11

Comments off

The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi.

If you are looking for a sensational book to read this summer, look no further. The ACB with Honora Lee is NZ author Kate De Goldi’s latest book, and tells the story of nine-year-old Perry.

Perry likes to ask questions, but she rarely gets answers. Her mother and father are very busy people, and are always working. She doesn’t have many children to play with, either; only her babysitter Nina’s son Claude. Perry is an only child, and her family is very small. There’s Perry, her mum and dad; and, of course, there’s Gran.

Gran lives at Santa Lucia, a home for the elderly. Perry and her father visit her there every Saturday. Santa Lucia is a chaotic place, full of mishaps, mysteries and peppermints. When one of Perry’s classes is cancelled, she decides to spend her Thursdays at Santa Lucia with her gran. The people at Santa Lucia are, to say the least, a wild bunch. Perry’s gran, for instance, has a habit of stealing Melvyn Broome’s peppermints. Melvyn Broome has a habit of hitting people who steal his peppermints with his walking cane. Gran, as well as most the people at Santa Lucia, has a weak memory, yet instead of being confused, she sticks to the few things she can remember about her past. Perry decides that what this unusual yet lovable family needs is something practical, reliable, and orderly; and what could be more reliable than an alphabet book?

As Perry works on her ABC book, she tries to stick to the rules, but as the people at Santa Lucia help her, the alphabet soon is an ACB; a jumbled, confused version of the alphabet. Nothing stays the same at Santa Lucia, but soon Perry begins to wonder: is it Gran, Doris and the others who don’t make sense, or is it the strict, “do-as-I-say” world outside Santa Lucia’s walls that doesn’t?

The ACB with Honora Lee is a simple yet powerful novel, and will be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It is tinged with subtle humour and written in an almost poetic way. You will never want to put it down!

Reviewed by Tierney.

Comments off

End of the alphabet by Fleur Beale

I love each and every one of NZ author Fleur Beale’s novels, but End of the Alphabet has to be my favourite.  It is the story of Ruby Yarrow; a fourteen-year-old girl who lives in the shadow of her younger brother Max.  Max is smart, talented and adored by everyone.  Ruby struggles at school and is always busy at home.  She cares for her little brothers, cooks the dinner and cleans up after Max.  One day her best friend Tia puts her foot down- she is sick of Ruby being a doormat.  Her outburst gets Ruby thinking…does she want to live her life being treated second best?  Of course not- so begins Ruby’s journey to find her backbone and start standing up to people.

This book is truly outstanding, one of my favourite of all time.  Ruby is one of those characters that you can instantly relate to.  If I could meet a character in one of my books I’d want to meet Ruby.  She’s just so likeable and so easy to understand.  As the book progresses it’s easy to see how Ruby has changed.

If you’re looking for a read that you won’t want to put down, choose End of the Alphabet!  It’s a book that you’ll want to read again and again.

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon.

Comments (2) »

My Christmas traditions – Zac’s Kiwi Christmas

Christmas in New Zealand is the complete opposite of traditional images of Christmas.  Movies, books and Christmas cards nearly always show Christmas as cold and snowy, with people wrapped up in their warm clothes and gathered around a crackling fire.  In New Zealand though, it’s warm and (if we’re lucky) sunny, with people in shorts, t-shirts and jandals.

One of my traditions that I start Christmas day with is getting up early to watch cartoons and What Now.  If there’s nothing much on TV I bring out my old favourite videos, Red Boots for Christmas and The Santa Bears.  When I was younger my family would go and have a picnic in Hagley Park for lunch where everyone would bring something different to share.  These days my family brings lunch to my parents’ house.

Christmas can be a really expensive time of the year, so we decided a few years ago to just have a present exchange.  You have to buy 1 present for 1 person and there is a limit to how much you can spend.  You might get a serious present or something silly, and there’s not so much mess to clean up afterwards.

At night after we’re all full of turkey, ham, new potatoes, ambrosia and Christmas Pudding, we sit down and watch the Royal Variety Concert on TV.

What are your Christmas traditions?

Comments (3) »

Dear Papa by Anne Ylvisaker

Dear Papa by Anne Ylvisaker is about a family who live during the Second World War. Isabelle Anderson is nine years old when she begins writing to her father, who died a year ago.

The Anderson family has changed since her father’s death; Isabelle’s two older sisters have got boyfriends, her little sister Ida doesn’t seem to remember their Papa, and her Mama has sold Papa’s gas station to the next-door-neighbours. Everyone is beginning to move on after the tragedy, but Isabelle is confused. Why are her family trying to forget Papa? She writes to her father constantly, keeping him up to date with the changes that are occurring.

As the months go by, the family starts to be dragged apart even more. Mama insists on sending Isabelle to her religious aunt and uncle in the country. Isabelle yearns for her family, and writes to Papa for comfort, plotting to escape from her prison and find her way home.

The war has altered Mama to the point that she is unrecognisable. She has got a job, has moved into the home of a man called Frank, and gets cross with Isabelle if she mentions Papa. Will Isabelle ever be able to say goodbye to Papa and accept her new life?

Dear Papa is a wonderful book. Something that I found interesting was how it was written in the form of a collection of letters from Isabelle to her mother, siblings, aunt, and of course Papa. I think this was a fantastic way to write the book, because by reading the letters you learn about various characters from Isabelle’s point of view.

When Isabelle moves to live with her aunt and uncle, I almost feel sorry for Aunt Jaye and Uncle Bernard when Isabelle decides that if she misbehaves, she will be sent back home. She then misbehaves as much as she can, while her aunt and uncle despair. It’s interesting reading a story from a nine-year-old’s point of view; everything seems so bizarre to her.

This book is an awesome historical fiction novel. I give it a 9 out of 10. It’s funny, fascinating, happy and sad at the same time; a curious mix that means you have no idea what will happen next. I loved Dear Papa, I know that you will too!

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon.

Comments (5) »

A Medal for Leroy by Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo has written some of my favourite stories – Private Peaceful, Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea, and Shadow.  He one of the best storytellers around.  Michael’s latest book, A Medal for Leroy, is inspired by the life of Walter Tull, the only black officer to serve in the British Army in the First World War.

Michael doesn’t remember his father, who died in a Spitfire over the English Channel. And his mother, heartbroken and passionate, doesn’t like to talk about him. But then Michael’s aunt gives him a medal and a photograph, which begin to reveal a hidden story.

A story of love, loss and secrets.

A story that will change everything – and reveal to Michael who he really is…

A Medal for Leroy is a story of war, love and family secrets.  Like many of Michael’s other stories, it’s told from the point of view of someone who is old (in this case Michael) looking back at his life and telling the reader the story of what happened.  I really like this style of storytelling because it makes you feel like you are just sitting down for a cup of tea with the main character while they tell you the story.  Michael tells us that he never knew his father because he died during the war, but his mother and his aunties love him very much.  When one of his aunties dies, she leaves a special package for Michael, full of family secrets.  In this package, Michael learns about his auntie’s life and about the father he never knew.  Her story is heart-breaking, but with moments of happiness and hope.

Once again, Michael Morpurgo has written an emotional story that you get caught up in.  Even though the war is happening, you hope that everything is going to be fine, that Martha will meet Leroy again, and her father will welcome her home.  As always, Michael presents the realities of war to portray what life was like during this horrible time.  Even though Michael has returned to a topic that he has written about many times before, A Medal for Leroy, is a different story and just as wonderful as his other war stories, like Private Peaceful, War Horse, and An Elephant in the GardenYou can read more about the person who inspired this story, Walter Tull, at the back of the book too.

4 out of 5 stars

Comments off

Four Children and It Book Trailer

Four Children and It is Jacqueline Wilson’s brand new book.  It’s due out this month and you can reserve your copy at the library now.

Comments off

Meet Christopher Paolini in Christchurch

If you’re a huge fan of the Eragon series you’ll probably be jumping up and down with excitement right now. Christopher Paolini, author of the Eragon series, is touring New Zealand in June.  Christopher will be in Christchurch on Saturday 30 June and you can meet him in person at the Armageddon Expo at Addington Raceway. 

If you’ve never been to the Armageddon Expo before it’s two days of  movie screenings, animation screenings, eating challenges, Dragonball Z contests, autograph signings and much more.  For more information check out the Armageddon Expo website – http://www.armageddonexpo.com/nz/

Comments off

Iris’s Ukulele by Kathy Taylor

Read me for NZ Book Month!

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a superstar?  Iris and her friend Sidney have.  Iris wants to be the best rapper and ukulele player in the whole of the entire universe.  Preferably with her best friend ever, and fellow Master of the Musical Universe, Sidney by her side.  Iris and Sidney have been working on their masterpiece, a rap musical about werewolves and vampires, and when they hear about the talent contest at their mall they know this is their big chance at stardom.  Then everything starts going wrong – Sidney decides he wants to write his own song, Iris doesn’t stand up for her best friend when he’s in trouble, and her mum starts ‘not exactly’ dating her ukulele teacher.  Will Iris ever become the Master of the Musical Universe?

Iris’s Ukulele is a story about friendship and reaching for your goals.  Both Iris and Sidney are unique and have their own sense of style that makes them stand out from the crowd.  Iris gets into some tricky situations but her Mum and her Gran help her out and point her in the right direction.  Her Gran is a pretty cool character and has a unique personality like Iris.  This is Kathy Taylor’s first book (she won the Tom Fitzgibbon Award for a previously unpublished writer) and sometimes I thought she was trying too hard to make Iris’s voice sound right, but overall the story was interesting.  Iris’s Ukulele is a great book for anyone who likes stories about friends and family.

Recommended for 9+        3 out of 5 stars 

Comments off

Adventures of Tintin movie review

I’ve been looking forward to seeing The Adventures of Tintin since I heard the movie was being made, so I went to the very first screening on Boxing Day.  All of the pictures and movie trailers I’ve seen for the film made it look amazing and I wasn’t disappointed. 

The Adventures of Tintin is a mish-mash of three different Tintin stories, Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham’s Treasure and The Crab with the Golden Claws, so there are locations and characters from each of these books (minus Professor Calculus).  The opening credits really set the scene with an endless action sequence that highlights lots of different Tintin stories.  The movie opens with Tintin’s creator, Herge, making a guest appearance in the market where Tintin discovers the model of the Unicorn.  The story rockets along like all good Tintin adventures and you meet some of your favourite Tintin characters, including Captain Haddock and Thompson and Thomson.

The motion capture animation is amazing, making the characters look real while still looking like Herge’s illustrations.  The characters use their catch-phrases, including my favourite ‘Billions of blue, blistering barnacles!’  There are some brilliant action sequences throughout the movie, especially in Bagghar (this part made me crack up laughing as well).  I saw the movie in 3D but I’m sure it’s just as great in 2D.  Whether or not you’re a fan of Tintin you should go and see The Adventures of Tintin for your dose of action, adventure, and laughs.   It’s perfect for anyone from 7-107.   10 out of 10 – my favourite movie of the year!

Comments (2) »

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever

Hi Guys.  I have just finished the brand spanking new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever book.  This book is about Greg Heffley wanting to get money to play net kritterz, but along the way he gets into all sorts of mischief.  Now the police are looking for him and then it starts to snow.  The snow gets up to 2-3 feet high and Greg decides to make a new paper for the holiday bazaar while there is no power all because of Manny!!!!

Highly recommended A++++++++++++.  I was glued to this book. It has 217 pages with awesome pictures.  It took me a day and a half-2 days to read  this awesome book.  Recommended for ages 8- any age.  Now I am so sad the book is finished=( !

By Erin

Comments (3) »

%d bloggers like this: