News and Reviews from The Children's Bookshop
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News and Reviews from The Children's Bookshop
March 2017

Tēnā koutou katoa,
Welcome to the second e-newsletter from The Children's Bookshop - and a special welcome to all the new librarians who have signed up. If this message is clipped by your email program, please expand it...there's a lot in here!

The Sapling, a brand new NZ website dedicated entirely to celebrating children's books, went live on Monday March 6th. We expect great things from the editors Sarah Forster and Jane Arthur. Both have been involved in the New Zealand book industry for years so really know their stuff. There are great feature articles by Kyle Mewburn, Kate De Goldi and Chris Szekely, excellent interviews with David Elliot and Juliette MacIver and reviews of New Zealand much more!

There has been some fantastic news about a brand new trilogy from Philip Pullman, The Book of Dust, which will follow Lyra's journey from before her birth to her adulthood. With no name for the first book and a due date of October, some may think it is a little too early to get excited but they would be wrong. We are taking pre-orders now so get your name on the list.

Also available to pre-order is the brand new Alex Rider due in June! In this new story, Alex Rider is now 15 and living in San Francisco. He is trying to get his life back on track after the traumatic death of his closest friend, Jack Starbright. But then he receives an email which contains just three words, setting Alex up on a dangerous quest to find Jack, who he thinks is still alive. You can see the cover below.

In one last bit of booky news, the CBCA (The Children's Book Council of Australia) have just released their list of notable Australian books for 2017. There are some fantastic reads.

As always we welcome any comments or feedback you have. Feel free to email us at 

Happy Reading,
John, Ruth, Lucy, Sasha, Adrienne, Tiffany, Briana and Ruby
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In this email:
Pirate Spotted in Kilbirnie
Beware Landlubbers!

The notorious pirate Pink Dog has escaped from Treasure Island and was last seen lurking about Kilbirnie Plaza. This predatory privateer is known throughout the seven seas and is wanted for the sinking of the Mossack Fonseca off the coast of Panama last month. The ship is believed to be have been carrying the entire fortune of the former leader of a small, as-yet-unnamed, island nation in the South Pacific.

Born into an infamous and disreputable pirate family, Pink Dog was originally known as Felicity. Discarding this pathetic name at age 5, along with her left eye, Pink Dog and her equally shifty siblings mutinied against their perfidious parents and guileful grandparents, stole the family ship and marooned the adults on a tiny rock in the middle of the ocean. This alliance was not to last long. Terrible fights ensued (hair was pulled, names were called, and someone was bitten) and Pink Dog was found drifting weeks later in a lifeboat full of books. The Navy Captain who found her was soon to regret his kindness as she swiftly swayed his crew and took over his ship, The Viper.

She has spent the decades since raiding ships across the seven seas and seeking revenge upon her siblings, gathering more and more treasure.
Sightings of Pink Dog's ship The Viper have been reported in Evan's Bay and she is possibly scouting a suitable location to bury her treasure. Scufflings in the asphalt around the X's at the exits from carparks in Kilbirnie are a sure sign she's in the area.

If you find yourself in danger and unable to contact the authorities, the pirate has one weakness - books. Specifically, picture books. When asked to read aloud, especially by a child under the age of 5,
Pink Dog is unable to resist. Once she is seized by the story, you can make your escape - unfortunately, all children must be abandoned. The public are advised to carry a picture book on their person at all times until the inevitable capture of this belligerent buccaneer.

The authorities are asking members of the public to report any disturbances or sightings of 
Pink Dog or The Viper to The Children's Bookshop at 10:30am on a Friday. They are offering a reward of a free entry into the Storytime Book Draw, drawn every Friday at the end of the session, and a voucher for a discounted coffee at Plaza Pizzeria.
Book Reviews
(books we love)
What not to do if you turn Invisible
What not to do if you turn Invisible (Ross Welford)
$17 PB

This is such an awesome book, that I kept selling my copy before I could read it! Having spent many years relieving in Intermediates, I totally buy these characters as real 12/13 year-olds; not kids any more, independent but definitely not teenagers, this can be a hard age to write, to write for and to be. And definitely a difficult age to find books for.

Twelve year-old Ethel Leatherhead (known as 'pizza-face') is covered in acne - not just a few spots but pustules all over her face, neck, back...all the way down to her legs. Her old friends have found new friends, and the only person who wants to know her is Elliot "Smelliot" Boyd who is possibly more unpopular than she is. In a last-ditch attempt to cure herself, Ethel combines 'Dr Chang his-skin-so-clear' herbal treatment with a dodgy sunbed she got for free and ends up invisible.

Being invisible is not quite as much fun as you might imagine (although still often hilarious to read) and Welford shows the real consequences of this happening to a real girl, in a real town in the north of England. Ethel's strong voice and matter-of-fact way of describing her situation and her plans are both laugh-out-loud funny and extremely relatable as she deals with bullies, finds lost dogs and lost parents, and discovers new friends - and herself.

Invisibility here is not so much about not being seen as not being able to see yourself. This is a book about finding out who you are by losing who you are - quite literally.

Perfect for anyone hitting puberty (regardless of age) but suitable for 10+

From the author of Time Travelling with a Hamster

- Lucy
Buy Now
Terror At Bottle Creek
Terror at Bottle Creek (Watt Key)
$18 PB

An adrenaline-pumping story of life-threatening danger, an epic fight for survival, and the heroism of a 13-year-old boy caught out in the middle of the Alabama swamp lands in the middle of a Katrina-strength hurricane.

With his mother long departed, Cort and his father live on a houseboat on the banks of the bayou and after school he helps his father with his fishing guiding business. It has made Cort handy around boats and familiar with the dangers of the swamp but, when a series of catastrophes leaves him and two of his neighbour's daughters out in the storm alone, he needs all his skills to survive...

Washed up on the shores of a small mound in the river (their only hope of survival), they find they must share it with a horror cast of local wildlife facing the same plight - bears, cottonmouth snakes, ants, and a particularly enraged boar with a pathological desire to rip the three apart.  And whilst dry land has its perils, the alligators waiting in the shallows for passing corpses are unlikely to pass up the opportunity to feast on a stray human.

Cort is a lovely character - kind, thoughtful and brave - and his friend Liza is a resilient and resourceful companion. Their major concern is Francie, Liza's younger sister, whom they need to care for and continually reassure - not an easy task when you are scared rigid yourself.

Punchy writing makes this an accessible read for the less-confident reader but appealing to adventure junkies of any ability.

"Hatchet for the post-Katrina generation" Booklist

- John
Buy Now
Lucy's Book
Lucy's Book (Natalie Jane Prior)
Illustrated by Cheryl Orsini
$20 PB

Lovers of libraries, lovers of books and especially lovers of sharing books, will love this book! And people called Lucy will really love this book. And librarians...especially if they are librarians who just happen to be called Lucy.

The titular Lucy loves to read; she has one special library book that she reads everywhere, even in the bath. The book is borrowed and shared so much that it's worn out. Will Lucy ever find her book again?

We never find out what the book is so it can lead to some great discussions - leading kids to look for clues in the illustrations, discuss their own favourite books, consider what books other people might like and which books they'd like to share. The illustrations are delicious with a cornucopia of book covers on the endpapers and throughout the story.

From the creators of the equally lovely The Tales of Mrs Mancini and The Fairy Dancers
- Lucy
Buy Now
Exploring Space
Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond (Martin Jenkins)
Illustrated by Stephen Biesty
$38 HB

Stephen Biesty is the maestro of blowing things up - expanding our view of them rather than destroying them of course. Famous for his "Incredible Cross-Sections” (books which had full page visuals of the minutiae of pirate ships and castles, often with a man on the toilet), the illustrations in this book are less detailed and more designed to complement the text.

This is great non-fiction - written for an age of 10+ in accessible language without condescending to the reader. It expects them to stretch themselves to discover really fascinating information about one of the most popular subjects we cover.

Much of the content deals with man's attempts to understand and conquer space, from early telescopes through to moon landings, space stations to the habitation of Mars in the future perhaps.

Fascinating family reading for intermediate age and up.
- John
Buy Now
See You in the Cosmos
See You in the Cosmos (Jack Cheng)
$21 PB

Told entirely through a series of recordings, podcast-style, Alex is compiling a complete record of the sounds of life on earth for intergalactic posterity. Inspired by the Voyager probes and rocket entrepreneur Lander Civet (basically Elon Musk by another name), Alex is going to use the Southwest High Altitude Rocket Festival in Arizona to send his iPod into space, if he can make it there from his home in Colorado.

Along the way, he hopes to visit the man he found on who (weirdly) has the same name as his deceased father in Vegas, while making sure there are enough frozen dinners in the freezer for his silent mother to survive on. At only 11 years old, accompanied by golden retriever Carl Sagan, Alex is undaunted by the more than 800 kilometre distance, but the longest journey he may find himself undertaking is within.

- Sasha
Buy Now
Bad Girls Throughout History
Bad Girls Throughout History (Ann Shen)
$40 HB

This book is a collection of one hundred women who challenged socially accepted rules and did amazing things even though they faced fears, flaws and obstacles along the way. Ann Shen is using bad "in the best sense of the word".

With double-page spreads devoted to each female, luscious illustrations, and a few paragraphs describing the life and doings of each of these women, Bad Girls Throughout History is informative and eye-catching. There is a broad spread of both familiar and lesser-known women with titles such as the "pioneer of birth control", "mother of modern dance", "first female self-made millionaire", "peppermint entrepreneur", "pirate captain" and "enchantress of numbers".

This lavishly designed compendium is packed full of inspiration, perfect for girls and women dreaming about bringing their own spark into the world. Or just those who want to know a little more about what fascinating things women have achieved.

- Briana
Buy Now
The Edge of Everything
The Edge of Everything (Jeff Giles)
$19 PB
A mysterious boy, sent from a "hell" called the Lowlands to claim a soul, saves 17-year-old Zoe and her young brother from a brutal murderer. Zoe names her rescuer X but is he her avenging angel or a devil? X is programmed to obey without question and has only ever seen hatred, but Zoe awakens feelings within him and he starts to disregard his orders. Zoe, grieving for her missing father, falls in love, but surely this paranormal romance can only be doomed...
Star authors Cassandra Clare and James Dashner have endorsed Giles' edgy series debut and there is a filmic quality to his bleak winter scenes and the characters' snappy dialogue. Perhaps there will be a movie - Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson has described this novel as "managing to capture all of the joy and the pain, the light and the darkness of growing up".
Recommended for age 13 plus.

- Ruth
Buy Now
The Hypnotist
The Hypnotist (Laurence Anholt)
$23 PB

In the south of the United States, the colour of your skin dictates your present and your future. And this is the 1960s.

Fourteen year-old black Pip is sold by his orphanage to a white farmer who takes bewildered Pip miles from home to act as a carer to his invalid wife. On the farm, Pip meets Irishman Jack, a hypnotist and neurology professor.  Jack offers to home-school Pip and Hannah, a mute Native American girl, the farm cook. Jack uses his hypnotism to attempt to unravel the mystery of Hannah's lost voice. Through their shared love of stories, notably Dickens' Great Expectations, Pip and the farmer’s wife develop a relationship of mutual respect and tenderness. But outside of these growing friendships and the budding romance between Pip and Hannah, racial tensions are simmering close to boiling point. The farmer’s son, Erwin, an angry Vietnam veteran and white supremacist, looms large over the farm.
The book’s narration switches between Pip, Jack, and Hannah, giving their unique perspectives on a troubled time in American history. The tension grows with the arrival in the area of the Ku Klux Klan and its special breed of hatred. This is a remarkable and extremely moving story of friendship, respect, and courage, made all the more timely by recent events in the United States and Europe. This is Laurence Anholt’s first novel for YA readers but his name may be familiar from his many younger children’s books co-written with his wife Catherine (for example, Chimp and Zee, Camille and the Sunflowers, and the Seriously Silly Stories series).

This book is highly recommended for readers 12+.

- Tiffany
Buy Now
Our Chemical Hearts
Our Chemical Hearts (Krystal Sutherland)
$24 PB

First love - that heady, intense time when promises are forever and nothing can stand in the way. Henry has never been in love like that. Not since he kissed his first girlfriend and she promptly came out. Disheartened, he's poured all of his energy into a promising writing career and is a shoo-in for school paper editor this year.

Enter Grace Town, new to the school. Unkempt and abrasive, Henry's not worried until she is assigned co-editorship beside him. What starts out as a tug of war soon blossoms into an intense but furtive relationship and Henry is soon using all of his investigative powers to unlock the secrets Grace guards as jealously as her scarred and damaged leg.

Young love is powerful, but can it overcome pain, lies and guilt? Or is it a flame that will burn up all Henry holds dear?

Recommended for ages 14+

- Sasha
Buy Now
Traitor to the Throne
Traitor to the Throne (Alwyn Hamilton)
(Rebel of the Sands #2)
$19 PB

A worthy sequel to Rebel of the Sands, Amani has been trapped by the Sultan and is being kept in luxury as a prisoner. Negotiating politics and jealousies, she is fighting to keep her identities as both the infamous Blue-Eyed Bandit and a half-caste Djinni secret while searching for information to help the insurgents - her new family - back in the desert. But unexpected reunions threaten to expose her secrets. The Palace is a world away from the simple life Amani knew, and no-one is entirely what they seem - not even the tyrannical Sultan. Can she go back to her friends the same person who left? The world is a larger, more dangerous place than she could have imagined, and suddenly the answers aren't so simple.

Another gripping instalment in the war-torn land of Miraji for ages 13+

- Sasha
Buy Now
Illustrious Illustrators
Triangle (Mac Barnett)
Illustrated by Jon Klassen

$28 HB

Another beautiful and playful collaboration between Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. Perhaps the most confidently refined illustrations by Klassen yet, Triangle is crisply bound and is a treat to even pick up and open on to the endpapers. In a world of triangles, squares and "shapes with no names", we follow Triangle as he travels through a geometrical landscape to go play a "sneaky trick" on Square. Full of subtle humour that has you smiling as you read, Triangle is a great gift book that will entertain both adults and children from age 3 up.

From the team behind Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, this is the first in a new trilogy about the adventures of Triangle and Square.

- Briana
Buy Now
The Land of Nod
The Land of Nod (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Illustrated by Robert Hunter
$28 HB
From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s much-loved children’s poem is given new life in this visually stunning adaption from illustrator Robert Hunter.
Hunter depicts a boy who is confined to his room by day with only his toys to keep him company. At night, however, he travels to a magical make-believe land. The talented illustrator transports us from a bright daylight scheme to a dreamy night-time realm illuminated by vibrant shades of pink and blue. The boy’s daytime companions (toys and other objects from his room) are transformed into giant creatures who now join him in this fantasy world.
Like all the best picture books, the details in Hunter’s illustrations invite further inspection, provoking curiosity and adding an entirely new dimension to Stevenson’s words. This luxurious hardback will enchant long-time fans of Robert Louis Stevenson and introduce a new generation of children to the classic poem. Age 3+
- Adrienne
Buy Now
Nanette's Baguette
Nanette's Baguette (Mo Willems)
$19 PB
Mo Willems is back with another picture book utilising an art style more reminiscent of That is NOT a Good Idea! and Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs than that of the more familiar Elephant and Piggie or Pigeon books but still with his trademark humour.

Nanette must go to the baker in her 3D paper cut-out town (in which toilet roll chimneys, trees and a fountain are clearly visible) to buy the morning baguette...but can she resist its warmth and wonderful smell? KRACK! No.

A great book for learning about responsibility (or irresponsibility), this will appeal most to ages 3-6.

- Lucy
Buy Now
The Everywhere Bear
The Everywhere Bear (Julia Donaldson)
Illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
$30 HB
"The Everywhere Bear has a home on a shelf
But he doesn't spend very much time by himself,
For each boy and girl in the class is a friend
And he goes home with one of them every weekend."

The Everywhere Bear has a wonderful time with the children in Class One, but one day he falls unnoticed from a backpack and embarks on a BIG adventure. EB is washed down a drain and out to sea, rescued by a fishing boat, loaded onto a truck and carried off by a seagull. But will he ever make it back to Class One?

This is a warm and engaging story for ages 4 to 7 from the creators of The Paper Dolls.
Order Now
The Night Gardener
The Night Gardener (The Fan Brothers)
$28 HB

In the spirit of 'Goodnight Moon' and 'The Curious Garden' comes a stunning debut picture book filled with whimsy and creativity from brothers Terry and Eric Fan.

One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William's grey little town is full of colour and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William and his town are changed forever.

With breathtaking illustrations and spare, sweet text, this masterpiece about enjoying the beauty of nature is sure to become an instant classic.
Order Now
Busting! (Aaron Blabey)
$17 HB

Another hilarious outing from Aaron Blabey of Pig the Pug and The Bad Guys fame. Lou is desperate for the loo...but there's a queue! What will Lou do? He really needs to...go.
Buy Now
New Releases
Great Series for Girls
(and boys who understand how awesome girls are)

There are new adventures for Judy Moody and Alice-Miranda, new mysteries to solve for Friday Barnes, Scarlet & Ivy, and for Daisy and Hazel in the next Murder Most Unladylike. And in the very last Geek Girl, Forever Geek, Harriet Manners faces the future. Click on the links to order your copy.
Great Series for Girls
The Great Egg Stink
Dinosaur Trouble #1
(Kyle Mewburn)
Illustrated by Donovan Bixley
$6 PB

Arg discovers a surprise inside his dinosaur egg. It's too cute to eat and saving his new friend gets extremely messy.

Aimed at 4+, this new series from the creators of Dinosaur Rescue is perfect for those transitioning from picture to chapter books.
Order Now
Torty and the Soldier
Torty and the Soldier: A Story of a True WWI Survivor
(Jennifer Beck)
Illustrated by Fifi Colston
$20 PB, $28 HB

Torty was probably already about 100 years old when WWI began. In spite of being run over by a gun carriage in Greece and losing a few toes, this tough little tortoise was rescued by a Kiwi stretcher bearer called Stewart Little who smuggled her home - and she is still surviving 100 years later.

This plucky little tortoise's heart-warming story is brought to life by award-winning Jennifer Beck, complete with Fifi Colston's beautiful illustrations.
Order Now
Frog Kisser (Garth Nix)
$23 PB

Talking dogs, mischievous wizards, an evil stepstepfather ...and loads and loads of toads.

Nix mixes fairytale and fantasy in this exciting and irreverent romp through the Kingdom of Trallonia. Fans of The Princess Bride (William Goldman), Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett will be charmed by this YA romance. For 13+.
Buy Now
Life as an Animal....

Thanks to HarperCollins, we have a hardback edition of AniMalcolm signed by David Baddiel himself to give away. All you need to do to enter is tell us what animal you would like to turn into and why...entries by children are welcome (entries by animals who used to be children are also welcome but do need to be in a language we can understand). Send your answers to: AniMalcolm Competition by 31 March and you'll be in the draw.
Competition Winners
Frankie Potts series
Frankie Potts Winner

Carol Brieseman is the winner of all four books in the Frankie Potts series. Have fun reading! Thanks to all the people who entered - and to everyone who bought the books. And special thanks to Juliet Jacka and her publisher Penguin Random NZ for organising the prize.
Marge in Charge Winner

Congratulations to Wendy Miller, winner of last month's Marge in Charge competition. Unfortunately, we misplaced the signed copy of Marge (!) but luckily we were able to offer Wendy a choice of other special editions. Thanks for being such a good sport Wendy!

Thanks to everyone who let us know that Isla Fisher starred in Home and Away back in the mid 90s. And thanks also to Isla Fisher's publisher, Allen & Unwin, for providing the prize...we're sure it will eventually end up in a good home.
Edited for you by our senior bookseller and all-around best staff member ever, Lucy Ira Bailey.
Copyright © 2017 The Children's Bookshop, All rights reserved.

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