Tag Archives: kieran Rynhart

The Gecko Press Annual is a sumptuous swirl and it got me puzzling (and there’s a challenge with a book voucher for you!)

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Annual edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris, Gecko Press, 2016

 

(pitched at 9 to 12 year olds)

 

If I had opened the Gecko Press Annual when I was ten I would have jumped a jig of joy under the Christmas tree.

I would have loved the bright orange cover, the gold floating leaves and bird.

I would have loved the sumptuous swirl of words and illustrations inside that meant before I read I would have to do an awful lot of looking.

 

When I was ten, I would have wanted the Annual to last and last for a whole year. I wouldn’t have known what to read first. Probably the poems first and the activities second.

 

Now that I am way-old, I still need to look at the Annual for ages before I start reading it.

This is because the Annual is very very beautiful. It is a very special book.

 

There are three poems written by poets (Jenny Bornholdt, Tim Upperton and James Brown) who usually write adult poetry books. I am a big fan of their poetry. There is also a handful of ninja-rhyme poems by Michael Petherick. The poems are like chalk and cheese. They give you  different feelings as you read. One is thoughtful and slightly mysterious, one is madcap crazy and one is like a wonky funny found poem that is all made-up.

I find the whole question of children’s poetry fascinating -as you know! Some people say when you write a poem it should be for anyone – child or adult. This is a very popular point of view. Most poets I know think like this. I guess I feel like a fish out of water because when I write poems for children, my head fills with all the children in all the schools I visit and I feel like I am writing for them. As I write, I am wanting the words to be so infectious that children will want to jump for joy and race out and read and write poems. They feel ALIVE with poetry.

 

p o e t r y   is a   wan   der     playground for children

 

When I write poems for adults, I write for myself first. I am not writing because I want adults to jump for joy and race out and read and write poems. I don’t think about the reader at all. It all seems very different and mysterious and puzzling.

… so the Annual got me thinking about writing poems … and where I fit as a poet

 

For the annual, the poets were given starting points for their poems – as everybody in the Annual was (a bit like I do on Poetry Box!). This what happens now for School Journals.

So it’s not a book where people send in what they have written – but a book where authors  (and comics, and illustrators and all the rest) are commissioned to do something in particular. I think that gives the Annual a particular feel. A special feel. Like an exhibition with a curator. Not a lucky dip.

 

There are so many different kinds of things in the Annual, it is like a magnificent magic box. You might fall upon a painting or a photograph or a comic strip or a very cool craft idea from the fabulous Fifi Colston.

 

My favourite story is from one of my favourite NZ children’s authors, Barbara Else: ‘Tingirl and the Crying Time.’ The story features Assistant Squint with apple stuck in his teeth, Madam Upright with a tooth that glinted silver and Tingirl who yearns to turn into a Realgirl. Oh so imaginative and deliciously written, it will make you think about robots in a whole new light. Wonderful! Gorgeous illustrations by Kieran Rynhart.

 

I also loved Paul Beavis‘s guide to visual storytelling. Do I want to give it a go? Yes!!!!

 

….. have I read the whole Annual? No! Have I tried all the activities? No! I am like that ten year-old girl because I want to make the Annual last and last.

 

 

I would love to post some reviews by children of the Annual.  Give it a go! send your review to paulajoygreen@gmail.com.

Include your name, year, age and school

Put Annual review in email subject line

I will have a book voucher for my favourite review and a copy of The Letterbox cat for another reviewer.

Deadline :  November 1oth

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:

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