Category Archives: NZ Author

Poetry Box review: I Would Dangle the Moon by Amber Moffat

I_Would_Dangle_the_Moon_cover-768x724.jpeg

 

 

I would Dangle the Moon, Amber Moffat, MidnightSun Publishing, 2019

 

 

Ah I love moon poems and I love moon picture books. Amber Moffat’s debut picture book is a little gem. I adore the illustrations – my favourite so far in 2019. The colours are exquisite – a mix of pitch black night and sumptuous blues, purples and greens. I love the way the drawings are dreamlike yet real. they really are something quite special.

And now for the terrific story. The opening painting shows a mother telling her daughter a  bedtime story – this story! – and the listening girl becomes part of it.

The moon story builds along a refrain (a repeated start to the idea on each part):

 

If I were a farmer, I would plant the moon

in the middle of my field so you could watch

it crack the earth as it grew.

 

Turn the page and the farmer becomes a snail who carries the glowing moon on her back and takes the girl flying. All the house rooftops look like a patchwork quilt. It is utterly gorgeous.

You will find out what a jeweller, mountain, mother hen, baker, tree, ice cream maker,  dog and wave will do with the moon. And then you will reach the end of the story and find out what the mother and her daughter do.

 

It    is         m o o  n    s h i n e     g l o r i o u s!

 

Amber’s imagination leaps and drifts.

The writing is simply beautiful and beautifully simple.

The ideas make shiny pictures glow like the moon in your head.

 

If I was an ice cream maker

I would scoop up the moon,

put it in a cone for you,

and sprinkle stars on top.

 

I love this book so much I am going to make my August poem challenge a moon poem challenge.

Find a copy of this beautiful, heart-warming book; then find a cosy cosy chair and lose yourself in the gleaming pages. Exquisite. Let me know what you think of it! (paulajoygreen@gmail.com)

 

Amber Moffat is a writer and visual artist living in Western Australia but Dunedin is her hometown. She was awarded a Paper Bird Fellowship in 2018 and completed the art work for I would Dangle the Moon (her debut picture book) during her residency at Freemantle’s Paper Bird Books and Arts.

 

MidnightSun Publishing author page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box review: Song of the River by Joy Cowley & Kimberly Andrews

 

My Groovy Fish poem challenge

My Groovy Fish holiday event invitations

 

9781776572533_big__20515.1557278076.jpg

 

Song of the River  by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Kimberley Andrews

Gecko Press, July 2019

 

 

Joy Cowley’s delightful story Song of the River was originally published 25 years ago but Gecko Press have published a new edition with gorgeous artwork by Kimberley Andrews.

Reading Joy’s story filled me with a warm hum that I carried with me all day.

Cam lives in the mountains and he tells his grandfather he wishes he could see the sea. One day a trickle of water – running through the trees and the snow – calls out to the boy:

‘Come with me. Come with me. I will take you to the sea.’

Joy writes like a poet as she tells her story; the words ripple and chatter over the stones of its telling. I am carried along by the voice of the water. I am enchanted by the sound as the water moves down the mountain. First it sounds like snow, then like a creek, then like a waterfall, and then like leaping trout. On and on it goes with Cam running along, the view changing, the river sounds changing, and always there is the pull of the sea.

Cam might wonder what the sea looks like but what will it sound like? You will find out!

This a story about a boy wanting to see the sea. It is about imagining. It is about beginnings and endings. It is about paying attention with ears and eyes. And it is absolute treat to read – you might fill with a warm hum too.

 

Reading the book made me want to write a poem!

 

Kimberley’s illustrations fill the landscapes with life and mood. She is a trained biologist who grew up in the Canadian Rockies  and now lives in  a shipping container tiny house in Wellington. In 2018 she illustrated Explore Aotearoa (shortlisted for NZ  Book Awards for Children and Young Adults). She also wrote and illustrated Puffin the Architect published last year.

Joy Cowley is one of our most beloved children’s authors. She has won many awards and honours including the Prime Minister’s Award for Contribution to Literature (Fiction). In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

My new book – Groovy Fish celebration 2: an invitation to NZ children use one of my titles to write a poem

Groovy-front-cover

Groovy Fish and other poems  The Cuba Press, out early July

 

 

When I did my Hot Spot Tour of NZ in 2014 I collected amazing titles for poems from children. It was such fun I am tempted to write another book getting titles from children! Oh and I LOVED doing the drawings.

I thought it would be cool to get YOU to write a poem using one of my TITLES from the book. So I am sending them back to you! See the contents pages below.

I will pick one poem per title to post at the end of JULY.

I will give away 2 of my drawings and 2 copies of the books – lucky dip style!

 

Deadline: July 26th

Include: your name, age, year, name of school

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Don’t forget to put GROOVY FISH CHALLENGE in the subject line so I don’t miss your email.

 

 

Groovy-Fish-text-contents1

 

Groovy-Fish-text-contents2

h a v   f u n

h a v e   e x t r a    s p e c i a l   p o e t r y   f u n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! Some favourite poems from the Margaret Mahy challenge

9781869713904.jpg

 

What a special treat to have my email box fill to the brim with poems inspired by Margaret Mahy books. It was extra hard picking poems to post as this is the LAST challenge of the year. There were so many TREMENDOUS poems!

 

I loved the way Gemma used titles of Margaret’s books to make a poem.

I loved the way Daniel made an acrostic poem to sing the praises of Margaret.

I loved the way you all got your imaginations bouncing and your words leaping.

 

And I loved the Tom was so inspired he wrote 5 poems- I can tell he loves playing with words and making poems.

Because I love sharing poetry books around, I am sending Chloe a copy of The Treasury of NZ Poems for Children.

It was a treat to read all the poems you sent – thank you so much! I will do a few more posts this year before I put Poetry Box to sleep for the holidays.

 

It  was a big LOVELY coincidence but The NZ Herald is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Margaret Mahy’s The Lion in the Meadow and invited me to write a wee story about what the boy was doing now he had grown up. It will be in the Herald’s Christmas Books feature on Saturday 8th December.

 

 t h e     p o e m s

 

Margaret Mahy

M aster of writing, you were

A lways entertaining us with such

R idiculous words from a remarkably

G ifted author

A ll ages adored your books and

R aucous rumbustifications as you

E encouraged us all

T o keep reading

 

M agical imaginator, you were

A ddicted to creating, and it will always be

H ard not to love your stories, as

Y ou were one of the greatest writers of all time

Daniel L Age 10, Year 5, Adventure School

 

 

Discombobulated

Aunt Nasty…

There’s a King in the Cupboard

And a Lion in the Meadow!

 

Dashing Dogs!

It sounds like a Villain’s Night out…

The Tricksters!

 

The Seven Chinese Brothers

Can take the Underrunners

To the Green Bath

 

But what about the Witch in The Cherry Tree

The Three Legged cat

And the Great White Man Eating Shark?

 

The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate

Can take them to the Door in the Air

So they can start Making Friends

 

I think they are planning The Great Millionaire Kidnap

With the Pirate Uncle

And the Word witch!

 

Then we shall hide Down the Back of the Chair

And listen for Footsteps in the Fog

Until A Summery Saturday morning

 

And we will use the Dragon’s Telephone

To call the Good Fortunes Gang

To rescue us from this Horrendous Hullabaloo!

Gemma, Y8  Adventure School

 

 

Saturday Morning

On a Saturday morning I lay in bed, not wanting to get up
On a Saturday morning I read a book in bed, not wanting to get up
On a Saturday morning my Mum comes in, telling me to get up
On a Saturday morning I have Weetbix and toast, wishing that I hadn’t got up
On a Saturday morning I get dressed in my rugby clothes, reminding me why I got up
On a Saturday morning I get in the car with my Dad, who also had to get up
On a Saturday morning I arrive at my rugby game and see my friends, which is one of the reasons I got up
On a Saturday morning I score a try in rugby
I’m really happy I got up.

William F, age 11, Year 6, Ilam School, Christchurch.
Mother Pirate

My mother pirate
sleeps all day
wearing black boots
I call her queenfisher
She doesn’t like it
so she says to me
“you quacky duck”
and that’s my mum

Chloe W Age: 7  Ilam School

 

BLACKBERRY JAM

My Mother was a wonderful baker
She could bake all sorts of stuff
Biscuits, cakes, breads, slices
She was a master
But my favourite was her jam
Blackberry Jam
Sweet, syrupy stuff
Bread’s best friend.

Lachlan F age 11, Year 6, Ilam School, Christchurch.

 

Down the Back of the Chair

The chair, the chair,

Held riches and wealth

For many a year,

Without a person finding out.

He let them suffer,

He let them weep

He let them have nights with no sleep.

The poor family were at their end,

The father was driven round the bend.

Just as they were about to give up,

The chair erupted with all sorts of stuff.

Finally, the family could breathe again.

The chair had saved their lives.

By Eva M Karaka Room Royal Oak Primary School

 

The Bubble in the Wind
The bubble in the wind
flies gently by.
Over the trees
and into the sky.
Inside the clouds
the bubbles flies.
Into the wind
the bubble cries.
Next to a bird
who nips it flat,
and flies to the ground
with a great big SPLAT!

Christina S Age 6  Ilam School

 

Fruit Salad Flying
(After Margaret Mahy’s Down the Dragon’s Tongue)

Swizz, swoosh
Higher and higher
Whizz, whoosh
Warm and slippery
Thud
Fruit salad flying

Olivia L Age: 12 Year: 7 Selwyn House School

 

The Boy With Two Shadows
Footsteps rattling the sides of the concrete
Cracks splitting in the light
The delicate patter of a toddler’s step
A little boy’s walking alone

Swollen misshapen, two shadow swerve
Extraterrestrial shape
Two shadows based exactly the same
Sucked in by a little boy’s foot

The boy’s shadows dance and sway in the light
Both ugly, dark and small
The boy’s timid expression remains frozen
But the shadows duck and hide with a grin

The boy causes a stir as he walks down the lane,
Avoiding cracks at all costs
His two followers melt behind him softly,
Until all is left is a boy who once had two shadows

Sylvie King Age: 12 Selwyn House School

 

My Nan Sells Jam
Every morning she walks outside to smell the country air, she feeds the chickens then the horses and the spring lambs
Then she walks to her most treasured living creature
Her plum tree
She walks over and studies the condition of the plums then picks them
And puts then in her best woven basket
She walks back inside and mashes them together
and puts them in a jars.
Nan then will walk out onto the road with a table her jam and a country mag and set up a stand with her jam
Sometimes her stand with jam is busy sometimes it’s not
But my nan will always tell you one thing “I will never lose my love for plum jam”

Phoebe James 10 years old Year 5  Selwyn House School
The Santa Snail – After Margaret Mahy
Santa Snail walking running, you never know
Santa Snail curled up tight in his shell
Warm and cosy in his shell buried in the snow
A Santa Snail works all night long
Pulling his sleigh
With presents for other snails.

Mia D Age: 10 Year: 5 Selwyn House School

 

Mother Pirate

The woman who was a pirate,

Was fussy as can be.

Randomly, she sailed to sea,

Just to see the queen bee.

As greedy as a honey bear,

She then turned into the mountain deer!

Don’t look her in the eye,

Or you’ll be sorry!

Reham Y, Age 9, Year 5, Fendalton School

 

A Lion in the meadow
aahhh aahhh aahhh
The lion is stuck in tar.
Good, first I put a cage
over him.
His age is 7!
Oh no get the hose
splash!
Good, the tar is gone.
Let’s let him go
Wait! Let’s name him
Ahh um aha
Patrick!
Great idea.
Now let’s let him go
Ok bye Patrick!

Jonny A, age 6, from Ilam School
Milk In The Library

A cow walked into the library
To read a book on grass
She had a little accident and
Flooded the library with milk
Drenching books
Smudging ink
Wrecking leather
Milky mayhem in the library
Don’t open the door!

Finlay T  Age 8, Year 3   Ilam Primary

 

The lion in the meadow

The lion in the meadow gives a mighty roar

And then the mice run all along the floor

The lion jumps and I start to flee

While the lion laughs at me in glee

The lion makes a terrible sound

And I drop in fright to the ground

The lion runs

And I get stunned

Bye, lion!

By Josie P, age 7, Year 2, Ilam School, Christchurch

 

The Witch in the Cherry Tree
The noise echoed through the silent house,

I walked to the window,

Somebody was there,

In the tree,

I rushed to the other bedroom,

I joined my parents to gaze at the witch in the cherry tree.

Ruby T Age 10, Year 6 Ilam School

 

And to finish up FIVE magnificent poems by TOM

Lion in the Light
Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(scratchy-meaty ever so beefy)
out in the shed.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(purry-furry ever so roary)
out in the garden.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(shocking-rocking ever so coughing)
out on the deck.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(breaky-achy ever so wakey)
out in the kitchen.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
Lighty-bitey ever so mighty)
down in your bedroom.

Corn Trouble
There is trouble in the corn field.
The magpies crunch for brunch
crunchy and brunchy til the dawn
opens the mouth of corn
and pop-pop-pop, the corn does drop.

There is trouble in the corn field.
There is popcorn on the road.
There is popcorn in the garden
and pop-pop-pop, the corn does drop.

There’s no trouble in the corn field.
All the corn is on the ground.
The magpies have sailed
in a river of popcorn.
There’s no more corn to drop.

The Boy with Two Shadows
I am here
but cannot be seen.
You will never know
where I take steps
or strike. You will
never know, where I’ve been.

I am there
but not here.
You will never know
where I am.
You can touch me
and I’ll disappear.

The boy looks at his shadow
In the sun
And realises he has two!
What will he do?

The Margaret Mahy Jelly Playground
There was a green can
of jelly in the supermarket.
Every customer walked past
and never bought him.
This left him lonely.
So one night he dropped
off his shelf.
His can burst open.
All at once the supermarket
was a green jelly playground,
With slides, swings
and a water factory.
This became known
as the Margaret Mahy Jelly playground,
where the children of New Zealand
could play safely for ever,
ever, ever and ever.

The Burger Burglar
The Burglar could never
resist stealing burgers.
Cheese and sour cream,
bacon, beef and onion,
pineapple and corn.

At night he broke
into houses to steal
only burger stuff.

He only left sauce trails.

A detective followed
the trail of sauce,
and caught him.

It turned out
he only stole burger stuff,
because he wanted
to make friends.

Tom N Age 10  Year 5  Hoon Hay School/Te Kura Koaka

Cook’s Cook: Poetry Box talks to Gavin Bishop

GAVIN BISHOP 2018 .jpg

Gavin Bishop, Cook’s Cook: the cook who cooked for Captain Cook, Gecko Press, 2018

 

 

Gavin Bishop’s latest book Cook’s Cook: the cook who cooked for Captain Cook is a reading treasure trove.

Enter the book and you will go on a long sea-voyage of discovery – not from the view of the famous people on board but from the one-handed cook, John Thompson.

Cook’s Cook is a a bit like a cook book crossed with a history book crossed with a story book crossed with the most delightful picture book. There are fascinating facts, gorgeous drawings, little imaginings. Every page holds your interest. I definitely learnt new things.

Because the book was so sumptuous and filled me with such curiosity, I invited Gavin to join me in an slow-paced email conversation.

If I lived in the Wairarapa I would have gone to a Cook’s Cook event in August: you got to dine on a three-course meal inspired by the one-handed cook who fed Captain James Cook and crew aboard the HMS Endeavour. Wow!

Gavin, Tainui, Ngāti Awa, has published over 70 books and has been translated into 12 languages.

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 7.42.02 AM.png

 

Our conversation

 

Paula: I have lingered over Cook’s Cook for days because every page is full of little fascinations. What kind of research did you do for a book with such splendid detail?

Gavin: I read a lot of books about the voyage of the HMS Endeavour and Lieutenant James Cook. There are lot written about this expedition. Besides modern histories there are the logs and journals written by various people who travelled on the ship. And there are books written for adults as well as for children. The people at Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby, England were very helpful when I emailed them with questions and so were the librarians at the Australian Maritime Museum.

It was while I was reading some material on a particularly useful web-site that I came across the name of John Thompson. He had only one hand and was the cook on the Endeavour, much to James Cook’s initial disgust when Thompson was appointed by the Admiralty. There is little known about him and he was barely mentioned in any of the ship’s records, even when he died of dysentery in Batavia. Joseph Banks, in his journal, complimented him on his cuttlefish soup but that is about it. From my point of view, this was a good thing. I could give him any sort of personality I wanted to.

 

Paula: I get goosebumps reading the old journals! Did anyone draw or paint food? In logs or journals or in their role as artist? Tupaia for example? I loved his watercolour and pencil drawings.

Gavin: I didn’t find any drawings specifically of food. I found a few scenes of life below deck in the galley or on the mess deck where, if food was included, it was incidental. I did read though, that the ships belonging to the British navy were stocked before each voyage with provisions supplied by the Victualling Board. The admiralty had its own farms, gardens, butchers and bakers that provided meat, bread (biscuits), grain and vegetables and fruit for their ships that were setting out from England in large numbers to explore the world during the 18th century.

The only drawing by Tupaia of food that I know of, is the famous one where he is offering a lobster to Joseph Banks. Tupaia wasn’t a great artist in the European naturalistic style, but his drawings give us some very interesting and important information. A lot of people on the board the Endeavour, but probably not the crew, produced drawings. It was the only way of making a visual record of the things and places they saw. James Cook, the captain, drew a lot too and when all the official artists died after their time in Batavia the scientific men in Bank’s team and some of the officers all had to their bit with pen and paper.

 

Paula: I spent a few months this year cooking with one hand and it is tricky! It is hard to imagine how John Thompson did this for a ship’s crew, but your book has brought life on board alive through both drawings and words. What was the most surprising thing you discovered (apart from a cook with one hand)?

Gavin: Well, as John Thompson said himself. “It only takes one hand to stir the porridge!” To be fair, he had help. A member of the crew from each table on the mess deck was rostered for a week to help with the mixing of the puddings and the serving of the food.

I came across many strange bits of information, things I had never heard of. A ‘fother’, the name of the patch made from a sail stuck down with a mixture of teased rope and animal dung was something new to me.

I also found it intriguing to read that George Dorlton, one of the two Jamaican servants and an ex-slave, part of the Joseph Banks party, was a qualified plant collector. He had previously worked for a botanist. It was suddenly obvious why Banks, the naturalist, had taken him along on the Endeavour.

 

Paula: Were you tempted by any of the recipes? The albatross recipe seemed gourmet with the prune sauce and ginger but so many things made my stomach curl. Like eating albatross or dog!

Gavin: If the texture and flavour was right I think I could eat most of things mentioned in ‘Cook’s Cook’. I’m sure a vegetarian dog would make a delicious stew, but I think albatross might be a bit salty and strong, rather like muttonbird. It would be an acquired taste.

I was interested to see that quite a lot of spices, pepper and ginger were used in the cooking on ships at the time of the Endeavour voyage. Of course as the food onboard aged, it would become very undesirable. Joseph Banks mentioned that the taste of weevils in the ship’s biscuits was very spicy. Others knocked their biscuits on the table to shake the weevils out. Some crew held the biscuit over a flame to encourage the weevils to leave.

The salted beef and pork would have been a culinary challenge though, especially after it had been in barrels for a couple of years. There is mention of it being towed behind the ship in a net in an attempt to soften it up and reduce the salt content.

 

Paula: What was the hardest thing doing this book and what was the most rewarding?

Gavin: The most difficult thing about this book was dealing with the huge amount of information that exists about the voyage of the Endeavour and the people on board. Deciding what to include and what to leave out was a constant challenge. It was rewarding though, when I realised I could deal with this problem by concentrating on the cook’s story and trying to see the historical events that took place, through his eyes.

In my book the voyage unfolds more or less as it did according to James Cook’s journals, all the dates and places are historically correct but the emphasis on certain details is skewed by what I thought might have been interesting or important to the cook, John Thompson. Of course that had a lot to do with food, and later, when the ship was sailing around Aotearoa, it was his hope for a little bit of glory. He wanted a river or a mountain named after him. And like his captain he failed to see the country was already named by the tangata whenua, the Maori. I have shown this in the illustrations where the faces of Ranginui and Papatuanuku are seen in the sky and in the land. Their presence was there for anyone who looked with a perceptive and intelligent eye.

 

Thanks Gavin!

Gecko Press page

Video of Gavin talking about his new book

 

 

 

Poetry Box November Challenge: celebrating Margaret Mahy with poems

 

The hat-instead-of-a-cat poem

If I wore a cat instead of a fluffy hat

I would sneeze and sniffle

but if I had a hat in the cat basket

it wouldn’t ask me for biscuits

with a terrifying catOwail

and a frightful tabbyhOwl

before the pink light of dawn.

 

Paula Green

 

 

 

 

Dear young poetry fans

This is the last poetry challenge for 2018.

I might do secret popUP challenges over summer with giveaway books and a quick turn around.

But to end the year I want to celebrate the MAGNIFICENT writing of Margaret Mahy – her books and her poems, her characters and her delicious imagination.

I was inspired to do this when St Francis School sent in poems based on Margaret’s A Summery Saturday Morning poem.

 

The GREAT RUMBUSTaROLLaCOASTINGHUMbaKITEaFLYINaBUZZaPOETRYSHINING

Margaret Mahy POEM challenge:

 

Write a poem that steps off from a Magaret Mahy

picture book

novel

poem

one of her titles

or character

or word she invented

or tricky situation she came up with

or first line of a poem

 

Your poem can be or do ANYTHING!

Get imaginations BUzzING

Use your EARS and listen out for MUSIC

You might do a very short poem!

PLAY with everything – especially how many words on a line

try RHYME play and hiding rhyme like salt and PEPPER

PLAY with how it LOOKS on the page/screen

you can illustrate your poem if you want

 

HOT TIP: DON”T SEND ME THE POEM THE DAY YOU WRITE IT

KEEP IT FOR A DAY OR SO AND REREAD IT FIRST

 

Send to: paulajoygreen@google.com

Deadline: FRIDAY  30th November

Please include: your name, age, year and name of school

So I don’t miss it: Put MAHY poem in subject line

I will post SOME on:  Monday December 3rd

 

 

 

 

 

The Sapling’s Sarah Foster talks to the editors of two excellent journals for school-age writers

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 10.45.33 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 10.45.22 AM.png

 

Sarah Foster talks to Charlotte Gibbs, editor of Toitoi, and Melanie Dixon,the new editor of Write On. These journals accept submissions from young writers – primary school age!

They are a terrific boost for young writers and illustrators – such huge benefits for our writing communities.

You can read the interview and find essential links here.