Tag Archives: Juliette MacIver

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Mia (7) writes to Juliette MacIvor





Dear Juliette 

I love most of your picture books but my best choice is Queen Alice’s Palaces because something always goes wrong in the kingdom she creates.

I also adore That’s Not a Hippopotamus and that won last year in the Book Awards. It is really amazing that the boy can always see the hippopotamus but the teacher and other children can’t and they don’t listen to him. At the end they all find him. 


Aged 7 Year 3 

St Francis Primary School



Three gorgeous Gecko picture books to tickle your toes – and a very good Gecko challenge for a hungry hunter-reader

It is always such a treat to open a Gecko picture book because I can guarantee the book will give me a warm book glow. And when I get a warm book glow I am ready to do anything!

Today I reread three in a row. So you might just want to go Geckohunting in bookshops and libraries to find these little gems.


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The first book, If I Was a Banana, is written by Alexandra Tylee. She has written two cookbooks because she is the owner and chef at the fabulous Pipi restaurant in the Hawkes Bay. They make very very good food! This is her first book for children.

The illustrator, Kieran Rhynhart, lives in Wellington and illustrated the very amazing New Zealand Art Activity Book. The pictures in If I Was a Banana are magical – they have that special glow that make you want to look and look and look. Gorgeous.

I love this book so much because it is very simple and very perfect. A young child imagines what they would be like if they were something else. For example:

‘If I were a banana I would be that one,

all yellow and fat and full of banana.’


The boy imagines what he might be like if he were a bird or mountain or a cloud for starters. If you like beautiful writing and illustrations that give you goosebumps then this is the book for you.


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The second book is That’s Not a Hippopotamus! is written by Juliette MacIver and Illustrated by Sarah Davis. I am a big fan of Juliette’s writing because she fills her pen with bounce and leap and verve. Her imagination cartwheels and her sentences sing. Sarah’s illustrations are pretty cool too.

A teacher, her class and a zookeeper are on the hunt for a missing hippo – easier said than done when the children keep mistaking every animal they see for a hippo. The children are so skiddadlebubble excited they think the elephant is a hippo … and the giraffe is a hippo!

You will have to read the book to see whether they ever discover the right animal … maybe a little boy called Liam has something to do with it!

This is a fun read from one of my favourite New Zealand children’s authors. If you like words that dance and stories that leap then this is the book for you.


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The third book is the book for all of us who love dogs because it is A Day with Dogs and every page is steaming with dogs. It reminds me of Richard Scarry books because every page is very busy – it takes ages to turn the page. I liked hunting for my favourite dog. There’s the flashest dog house I have ever seen. The  bathroom is a disaster zone with six dogs in the tub, the shower on and the water overflowing.

You get to count things and follow a dog alphabet.

You get to see dogs at work, playing sport, making art, having a birthday, going up the mountain – and a million other things.

The author, Dorothée de Monfreid, is from France. Apparently she is very good on the ukelele.

If you like dogs and busy books then this is the book for you.


Gecko Press here

and if you want to get a stack of Gecko books:





Two FABULOUS new books from Gecko Press – a super rabbit and a not-hippopotamus

What a treat when I get a parcel of books from Gecko Press.

Here are two new picture books you might like to check out (I loved them both!):





Super Rabbit

by Stephanie Blake.


Stephanie (she’s from the USA but lives in France ) wrote the ULTRA popular Poo Bum. Open the book and you will be in a world of EYE poPPing colour.

When his mum asks him to get up, he says he is super rabbit but his first KAPOW action is not very SUPER!

There is no way this rabbit wants to do ORDINARY things.

He wants to HUNT villains but will have the COURAGE he needs?

Wait and see what happens when he finds the COLD and DARK of a hollow tree!

Wait and see what happens when SOMETHING sharp gets stuck in his finger!

I gobbled this book up in a flash – it is bright wordDAZZLING fun!







That’s Not a Hippopotamus!

by Juliet MacIver and Sarah Davis


A local author and illustrator have come up with a winning combination.

I gobbled this book up in flash too with its scrumptious illustrations and zingpinging words. Rhyme plays a big part and darts and dashes all over the line.

A group of children and their teacher are on the hunt for a hippo at Don’s safari but

there is a lot of CONFUSION about what a hippo looks like. So all kinds of animals look lik they might be a hippo but are so NOT hippos.

A very very fun read from a very very cool local writer. The illustrations zoom with LIFE!

Daniel (6) gives Juliet MacIver’s Toucan Can the thumbs up!


Here is my new review of Toucan Can. I won this book last year and I met Juliette MacIver and she signed my book and a Toucan Can poster that I have in my room.

Daniel, Year 2, Aged 6, Adventure School


Title: Toucan Can

Author: Juliette MacIver


Who is in it:

Toucan, and YOU!


What happens:

Toucan can do lots of things and other people can do other things. Everyone tries doing things and it is so funny.


What I thought of it:

I LOVE this book. I love the pictures and the silly ideas. Toucan is a cool character. My favourite part is all the rhyming. It is fun to read and it is funny to listen to.



Everyone and anyone.



2042 billion (5 out of 5) stars

Juliette MacIver takes the stage at the Vodafone Events Centre

Juliette MacIver is about to go on stage talking about the fabulous toucan that has landed on her head.

I love the way her stories are zimming and zittering with delicious words. Juliette is really great with rhyme and beat so her stories always sound good. This is a story writer who uses her ear.

Google her and discover her fabulous books.


Write and tell me about one of her books that you love!

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Include your name, age, year and name of school.

I might be able to find a book prize for you.




I asked you to borrow Juliette MacIver’s rhymes and woohoo moose and goose

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I asked you to use some of the rhymes from Juliette MacIver‘s terrific book The Moose and the Goose and that is just what Gemma did. She even came up with a different rhyme (‘obtuse’).

I do hope the moose gets loose and they make chocolate mousse!

Thanks to Scholastic I am sending Gemma a copy of the book. It has gorgeous illustrations by Jenny Cooper.

You can read my review of it here.


The Moose and The Goose


Moose was obtuse

Especially with juice

That he could produce

In front of the goose


But the goose had a noose

And said “its no use”

“You’ll never get loose

Til you make chocolate mousse!”

Gemma L aged 8, Year 4, Adventure School, Wellington

The Moose and the Goose woohooo (and yes there is a train!)

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I thought I would share this delightful new picture book with you. It has gorgeous illustrations by Jenny Cooper (oh I love that bear!) and sparkling words by Juliette MacIver.

This is the HILARIOUS story of a moose, a caboose, a goose, a bear and a train.

The story is glued together with sweet rhyme: goose, caboose, Ruth, juice, introduce, roof, hoof, toot, route, strewth, booth, produce, vamoose, uncouth, goof, excuse, youth, loose, footloose, mousse

If you read those words you might get a W H I F F  of the story.

This is a picture book, yes! But in my ear it makes poetry … so I do recommend you check it out.

If you like you could try writing a poem called The Moose and the Goose.


DEADLINE for your ‘A Goose and a Moose’ Poem Challenge: Wednesday April 16th

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email. PLEASE say it’s for the ‘A Goose and a Moose’ Poem Challenge.

I will post my favourites and have a book prize for one poet.


This week on Poetry Box it’s time for lunch and tasty treats

People are already talking about the food in my new book of poems (The Baker’s Thumbprint). I got asked about it when I did my radio interview with Lynn Freeman and the one for the Nelson Mail. And I always say I love food (I love to eat it and I love to cook it!) as much as I love writing (I love to read as much as I love to write!).


So I have decided this week it will be food week (and maybe the next few!), but I am going to add something extra and that is the wonderful world of similes. We are also going to play with these. On Monday I will set you a food-poem challenge with a simile twist, on Tuesday I will give you some starting points, on Wednesday I will give you some poetry tips on similes, on Thursday it is time for poetry play, and on Friday I will share a food poem.

The tasty food-poem challenge: I challenge you to write a poem with food in it AND at least one simile. Tomorrow I will give you lots of starting points for food poems but my tip is to go on the hunt for words that will make my mouth water. Your poem might be from your imagination or it might be from a real experience. I am hoping some younger children will give this a go! You can be from Year 0 to Year 8!  Your poem can be really short or long (but no more than 20 lines).

Send to paulajoygreen@gmailcom. Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email and name if you like. You have until Thursday July 4th 6pm.

The first winning poem (older) will get one of my precious copies of Macaroni Moon (I have only got a few left and it is out-of-print!) plus a a tasty cake of chocolate (ooh I hope it doesn’t melt in the post!).

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The second winning poem (younger) will get a copy of the glorious Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis thanks to the lovely Scholastic (and a cake of tasty chocolate). This picture book is all about food. Everybody wants to taste Marmaduke Duck’s marmalade jam and things go a bit wrong before they go a lot right!

Juliette has used lots of lively words to give her story zing and zip:

‘He peeled it, zested it, sugared it, boiled,

stirred it, tested it, tasted it, toiled.

And if I have some extra favourite poems I might have to get some extra cakes of chocolate to post you! 

Ewen makes a palace for Queen Alice

Ewen is aged 10, is in  Year 6 and goes to Fendalton Open Air Primary School in Christchurch.

She had a go at writing another verse for Queen Alice’s Palaces by Juliette MacIvor.

I liked the idea of a palace in the air. The last line of Ewen’s verse sounds like it is from a

poem from the past which gives the poem a particular mood.  Some poets do borrow lines

to give their poems different flavours. Sometimes the poets tell us and sometimes they leave

us to guess. Thanks to HarperCollins Ewen will get a copy of the book. Congratulations.

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Queen Alice has an imaginative flair,

building a castle in the air.

It’s sapphire blue, a wonderful hue,

so beautiful none other can compare.

A ‘Queen Alice’s Palaces’ challenge

I have always loved children’s picture books. The illustrations can be astonishing not just in the way they are done but in the extra story they tell. The author often uses poetry tools to make the language sing and soar. This is important as picture books are great to read aloud.

No matter how old I get to be I reckon I will always make time in my life for a good picture book. Later this year I will tell you what I love about the picture books of Kyle Mewburn, but today I will introduce you to Queen Alice’s Palaces by Juliette MacIver (the author) and Lucia Masciullo (the illustrator). The book is published by HarperCollins Australia (2013) and is suitable for 3+. Juliette lives in Wellington.

Juliette Apr 2013

QUEEN ALICE_silly_posh3 QUEEN ALICE_silly_posh3

Juliette calls upon rhyme and rhythm to tell her story and she has made a sound pattern which is really cool. Each page has a family of four lines (mostly!). The first three lines share the same rhyme and the last line always rhymes with ‘blue.’ I love the way the ‘oooh’ sounds go chugging through the poem.

Queen Alice has a palace she is perfectly happy with until jealous Sir Hugh comes along and says it is a bit of bore. So Queen Alice sets about building palaces that aren’t boring because they are made of very unusual things. The palaces definitely aren’t boring, but they aren’t built to last and each palace of Queen Alice suffers a calamity.

Here is one example from the book:

Ships bearing ice sailed all through the night

and soon there appeared a most breathtaking sight:

a shimmering palace, all chiselled in white

tinged with a glacial blue.

But of course the palace built out of ice from Peru won’t last. I loved the idea of building palaces out of unexpected things and thought it would be fun to write my own verse. I borrowed a bit of Juliette’s pattern but made ‘tooth’ almost rhyme with ‘glue.’

Queen Alice has such a sweet tooth

she built a palace with sugar sticks

and caramelised bricks

stuck together with honey glue.

The challenge: Let your imagination go roaming and see if you can write a verse for Juliette’s story. What will your palace be made of? How will you use rhyme on the end of the line (you don’t have to!)?

Send your verse to paulajoygreen@gmail.com and I will send my favourite entry a copy of the book thanks to HarperCollins NZ. Don’t forget to include your name, age, year and name of school.