Poetry Box review: from Gecko Press – Zanzibar and Monkey on the Run

With three books out in the world over a month I am getting lots of interviews. I get asked what I am reading and what I have loved reading and I always flag children’s books, especially children’s books published in Aotearoa.

Margaret Mahy showed how children’s books are magical, fun, challenging, imaginative, word soaring, rhythm gliding, absolute treasures whatever your age.

Gecko Press publish children’s books that make my skin tingle they are so good. Amazing illustrations, breathtaking writing and heart catching stories.


Here are two new treasures from Gecko Press!




Monkey on the Run by Leo Timmers is a story in pictures. NO words bar the title so you can make up your own story using the illustrations as clues. I would have loved performing this when I was young.

Each page is full to the brim with curious things, fascinating vehicles, animals doing a zillion things: follow the spiralling, filming, pan-sizzling, waiting, driving, juggling, tossing, towel-folding, straw-slurping, fish-reading, dog-bone-gathering, jewellery-displaying, tennis-playing, hospital-going, bird-singing, carrot-juicing, gelato-licking, giraffe-kissing, concrete-churning traffic jam all the way along the road as monkey runs and leaps and clambers on top of it ALL

to the END.

What a perfect ending that made me smile like the Great Wall of China!

And what a gorgeous curious fascinating UPLIFT of a book! I am still smiling from eyes to toes.

Gecko Press page


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Zanzibar by Catharina Valckx is a junior chapter book featuring a reporter called Achille LeBlab (a lizard) and a crow called Zanzibar.

Achille is keen to write an article about an exceptional character but wonders if Zanzibar is the right choice and the only exceptional thing about him is his name, especially when he FAILED the singing test (caw caw caw).

What a golden opportunity for an ordinary character to become EXTRAORDINARY!

Zanzibar could make a mean mushroom omelette but the reporter scoffed at that skill!

Maybe if he could lift a camel with one wing into the air the mean old reporter wouldn’t scoff (scoff scoff scoff). So the next day Zanzibar packs his knapsack and flies to a desert in search of a camel.

Hmmm! You will have to read the book to find out what happens to incredible Zanzibar BUT

this is a story of good friends and things both ordinary and extraordinary – oh and excellent mushroom omelettes.  A delicious read indeed.


Gecko Press author Q & A page






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