Tag Archives: Joy Cowley

Poetry Box: Dear Joy Cowley letters, aroha nui from us all

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To celebrate the arrival of  Joy Cowley’s magnificent new book of poems and stories published by Gecko Press (with zany illustrations by Giselle Clarkson), I invited a few people to join me in writing letters to Joy – two children, a parent and an author.

Here is my review of the book.

 

Joy can listen to me read the letters:

 

 

Dear Joy Cowley

For a long time I have wanted to see your poetry for children back in print – so how delightful to see the gorgeous new edition of your stories and poems published by Gecko Press. Your poems fill me with happiness – they are playful and have such an elastic imagination and fine ear at work children adore them.

I have always loved your commitment to writing for children – not just in the glorious stories and poems you write but in your engagement with children. I am thinking of the letters you write them, the way you pay attention to their dreams and experiences, the support you give the fabulous Storylines and the ongoing support you give writers.

To be a writer is a very private thing but it is also a public thing – and you have shown how to inhabit the world with generosity, kindness and empathy. This matters.

Like so many other people, I have had a long history of reading your work, by myself and with my daughters, and it has enriched our lives with wisdom, humour and humaneness.

To celebrate the arrival of your wonderful new book I have invited a few others to write to you too – some children, a parent and an author.

Ngā mihi

Paula Green

 

Dear Joy,

Your poems are incredible, fascinating and full of fun! Every word on the page jumps like a tiger and soars like an eagle! I used to read your poems when I was younger, they helped me through a tough time. When I felt the weight of the world, your poems lifted me back up. I’m so grateful that there are amazing people like you creating stories and poems that brighten people’s days. I hope, aspire, and dream to be able to make poems like yours one day.

Thank you

from Gabbie, age 12,  Newlands intermediate

 

 

Dear Joy

I am writing to you with a big thank you for the amazing stories you have created for every kind of reader.

In a teaching setting, I use your stories no matter what age group I am working with.  I love starting the youngest ones on a path to a love of reading with the wonderful characters in the Mrs. Wishy Washy books.  My older, often struggling, readers always draw affinity with dear Greedy Cat (who is not so secretly my favourite of your characters).  And I can sit back and enjoy reading aloud the likes of Dunger and Speed of Light to my Year 7/8 groups.  Indeed, if a Joy Cowley book comes out in any class, everyone smiles.

At home, our bookshelves are lined with your work, as my children will always share that you are their favourite author.  The reason?  Because of your style, your imagination, but most of all because you have always been there.  They have grown up with, and through, your stories.  You have inspired their own writing, and presented opportunities for them to explore and develop that.  Each child has a copy of Just One More right beside their bed, ready for those times when they just want to wind down with a familiar favourite.

And for me personally, when I read about you, I am filled with admiration.  Your amazing life of flying planes, motorbike riding, woodturning and more is so inspiring… so many adventures to be had!  Amongst all that, you have given us all adventures of our own, through your writing.   You accept challenges for what they are, and get on with the doing.  And somehow, you have always had time for everyone, replying to fan mail, participating in local events, and helping young writers on their way.

You are a truly astonishing person, and I am so grateful for all you do.  I can’t wait to read “Silence” once it is published.  The kids are not the only ones who seek out Joy Cowley books!

Warm regards

Robyn Lovewell, Wellington

 

Dear Joy

I am writing to say how much I appreciate you and your wonderful stories!

I honestly don’t know which is my favorite, there are so many.  Snake and LizardThe Wild West GangHero of The HillBow Down Shadrach? But the book that lives by my bed is Just One More, which I still read all the time…with dragons in libraries and horses on escalators and then of course Jack and his hole that follows him around – that one makes me laugh even when I tell other people the story.

There is a good reason why you are so famous and probably NZ’s favourite author.  Your junior books always have funny bits in them.  Your older kids fiction books always have something to make you think.  And you have such a variety of books, long stories, short readers, poems, little kid books, grown up books.  There is something for everyone in what you have written.  I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like a Joy Cowley book.

I hope that more stories can jump out of your head so there will be even more Joy Cowley books to fill up the C shelf at the library.

Thank you for being such an awesome writer.

From

Daniel L, Year 6, Adventure School, Wellington

 

Dear Joy

When Beth and I dropped in to see you a few years back, you gave us an excellent lunch; spilled a bit on yourself and said “Oh, Great!”; showed us the glowing wood work you were doing in your workshop, talked about kindness and spirituality, mentioned mutual friends with affection, and asked after MY writing.

I thought this was so typical of you – generous, wry, adventurous and versatile, sincere, always aware of others. Many people will talk about your writing, which I admire just this side idolatry, but I wanted to mention you. You are a joy to know. Every time I meet you, I go away feeling affirmed and loved. Live for ever!!

David Hill

 

 

Poetry Box review: Joy Cowley’s scrumptious The Gobbledegook Book

 

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Joy Cowley with illustrations by Giselle Clarkson, Gecko Press

 

see below for two pop-up Joy Cowley challenges! I have some surprise giveaways!

 

Gecko Press has published the most gorgeous anthology of Joy Cowley’s favourite stories, poems and nonsense rhymes. Everything about this book is perfect. The size. The feel of the paper. The way the words dance on the page. The way the stories and poems dance in your mind. The way words are so deliciously playful. And the way Giselle Clarkson’s heavenly illustrations are poems on the page.

This is a book to treasure.

This is a book to read when the rain slaps the windows so you feel warm inside.

This is a book to read when you feel a bit flat and dreary and need a book to set you soaring.

This is a book to snuggle up with and read to your mum or dad, or your son or daughter, or your best friend. Even a cat would start purring. Even the howling wind would listen.

 

‘The Tiny Woman’s Coat’ is the first poem in the book and is about a tiny woman who needs a coat and needs help to get it.

Joy sets her imagination dancing like the autumn leaves and brings in a porcupine and a horse and hey presto! A happy ending. You will have to read it to find out how these things fit into the story but here is the first verse:

 

The tiny woman wanted a coat.

“Where will I get the cloth?”

“Try some of our leaves,”

said the autumn leaves.

Rustle, rustle, rustle.

 

Enter this anthology and you will find intriguing cats and a storm of ducks, jellybeans and tractors, a cheese trap and elephants. Oh and even an old singlet!

You will definitely grin from ear to ear.

The poems move and squawk and whoosh!

You will find old favourites such as ‘Nicketty- Nacketty, Noo-Noo-Noo’ and ‘Greedy Cat’.

 

Like Margaret Mahy, Joy is the Queen of Having Fun with WORDS, especially made up words. I love ‘Goggly Gookers’.

Grandma has her own names for things – spectacles are goggly gookers, gardens are fizz-bustles, cabbages are grimlings, cows are clops and pickles are bundajins. See what you make of the last verse! I adore it.

 

“Grandma, Grandma,

put on your googly gookers.

The clop is in the fizz-bustle

eating all the grimlings.

If you don’t get her out

you’ll be in a bundajin.

And that’s a fact.”

 

Joy is also the Queen of WHAT IF POEMS. Like what if you drop your jellybeans – what a ROLLICKING WHOOSH of story-book imagination in Do Not Drop Your Jellybeans’ – follow what happens when the jellybeans get dropped and you end up (after all kinds of catastrophes and calamities) on an iceberg! Wow!

I love the writing so much because Joy is our poetry trapeze artist: her words swing and soar with such agility on the line. I love how every line flows so sweetly with rhyme and invented words; the words that fit together like music. And all the delicious music goes hand in hand with storytelling that is equally delicious. The combination makes you feel so GOOD. Here is the start to ‘Super Jumble’:

 

There was trouble in the jungle

wen a buffalo tried to swingle

like a monkey from a bundle of vines.

 

He got into a tangle

and was left there to dangle

at a very awkward angle, in the lines.

 

 

The Goobledegook Book is the perfect book to read up a mountain or by a river, in the tent when you go camping or in the kitchen as the soup simmers, or in bed before you nod off to sleep and dream of cats and more cats and acrobatic words.

I love this book so much.

Gecko Press page

 

Two challenges for you

If you love this book tell me what your favourite poem or story in it is and why you like it in a few sentences and I will post some answers.

I would also love to post some fan mail for Joy Cowley. Write a letter to Joy saying what you love about her books – a bit about you – anything! I will post some and then she can get to read them.

I will have some giveaway surprises for some lucky young poetry fans!

 

Deadline: Friday October 25th

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Include your name, age year and name of school (or say home schooled)

Don’t forget to write Joy Cowley challenge in the subject line so I don’t miss your email.

I will post on Monday 28th October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

My Groovy Fish poem challenge

My Groovy Fish holiday event invitations

 

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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.

# 102 A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Diane McCarthy (long-time fan) writes back to Joy Cowley

Thank you Joy.

I talked with Megan by cell last night. Megan accurately confirmed the plot and characters, and the misunderstandings between the parents and children that led to their actions to protect Shadrach. Megan’s highlight was the foal that was born afterwards! Megan now writes and performs indie music and teaches young emerging musicians at Naenae College. Still the writing about kiwi stories goes on!

Diane

 

 

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Joy Cowley writes back to Diane McCarthy (long-time fan)

 

 

Kia ora Diane, That is such a lovely letter. Thank you. Shadrach was inspired by Blossom, an elderly Clydesdale who lived at the head of Kenepuru Sound. Being severely arthritic, Blossom chose to stand on the road rather than her cold paddock, and our children had to push her off so that we could drive on. Old horses have a habit of farting as they walk, so there was usually an argument as to who would do the pushing. When Blossom died in her paddock, the kindly road man brought in his digger to bury her, and we all said goodbye to a fine draught horse. But it wasn’t really goodbye, because then she became Shadrach,

Warm regards to you and yours, Diane,

Joy

 

 

 

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Diane McCarthy (long-time fan) writes to Joy Cowley

 

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Kia ora Joy Cowley.

I am 67, and my daughter who is 33. We both love your book, Bow Down Shadrach.

When Megan was young, I had a job where I had to travel away from home, and visit teachers in schools. I visited bookshops in Nelson, Blenheim and Wellington. We read each new book together when I returned.

We liked this story best because it was about children being kind to an old horse. We loved it because it was set in the Marlborough Sounds where my father, Megan’s Grand Dad Jock, lived as a boy. You lived there too.

Thank you for writing real kiwi stories for kiwi kids. You can’t do better than that!

 

Nga mihi Diane McCarthy.

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Ethan (7) writes to Joy Cowley

 

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Dear Mrs Joy Cowley 

I love your books, they are one of a kind and now I can copy your special skills. You are my favourite New Zealand author. I like Mrs Wishy Washy Makes a Splash because the animals didn’t want to go in the bath. It made me laugh when they went back in the mud. 

I really like your book with 8 stories in it called Wishy-Washy World. I didn’t think there was a Mr Wishy Washy and in one of the books I like it because they play music and the animals play along. In Wishy Washy Road it was kind of funny because the police man said that all the animals had to get off the road. 

Your books are so good!

Ethan 

Aged 7 Year 3 

St Francis Primary School