Friday, October 20, 2017

Bookish - Bird Words

Kia ora Beautiful Person :-)

Over the last coupld of years I have been starting to gather a real enjoyment for anthologies of short stories. They are the perfect antidote for 20mins of sunshine or cold night when you are trying to avoid the pull of technology and just be present in the moment.

When I saw the byline for Bird Words: 'New Zealand writers on birds' I really wanted to get a copy. I love that the collection - edited by Elisabeth Easther - combines the writing of some our very most known and loved alongside lesser known writers.

She has collected a vast array - fiction, poetry, excerpts and non-fiction. Do I love every piece? No, there were a couple that weren't my cup of tea but such is the same with a lolly mixture. Some of the delight is in the contrast of flavours.

Most of the pieces are gorgeous and there is a very wide tasting plate to enjoy. I love the use of short story along side poetry and the mixture of length of the pieces too.

This is one of those books that are perfect for picking up now and again and just taking five minutes to savour or for a longer stretch enjoying a few offerings. This is definitely a great gift book. For anyone you know who loves New Zealand writers, or New Zealand birds or people overseas who love poetry and short stories. One I will be recommending and purchasing for others.

Another excellent offering to excite me in my delight of seeing more of 'our voice' on our shelves in bookshops.

Details - Penguin Random House, Oct 2017 RRP $35.00 HB

love you more than five short lines of brilliant words that captivate xxx

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bookish - Wolfy

Hi, hi!

I love that the school holidays give me a chance to sit down and read with my boys. Even though they are bigger (11, 8) now they are not beyond the sharing of a great picture book and are both very content to listen to me reading chapter books for hours on end. I try to remind myself to make sure to do this as much as I can because I will miss it a lot when the season passes.

Lately we've loved Wolfy by Gregoire Solotareff. The book has already sold over a million copies in its original addition and now we get to enjoy it from Gecko Press as they secured the English-language rights.

Wolfy (a wolf, with no name) and Tom (a rabbit) meet each other rather by co-incidence and end up forming a wonderful friendship. Until Wolfy really scares Tom and Tom is no longer confident they can be friends. What could restore such a lovely friendship? How will Wolfy cope without his only friend?

All will be well... a wonderful commentary on the power of empathy and friendships that defy odds. Sure to please - especially if you like playing 'who's afraid of the big bad wolf?' (or rabbit).

Details - Gecko Press, October 2017 RRP $29.99

Love you more than unlikely friendships xxx

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bookish - Ivy and the Inky Butterfly

Hey colour lovers,

I was intrigued with the byline 'A Magical Tale to Colour' when I saw the description of Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford.

Those of you who love colouring in books of the more complex variety (putting 'adult' before anything seems to change the connotations somewhat!). She has previous published Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest - which are intricate colouring in books.

In Ivy and the Inky Butterfly she combines exquisite pictures to colour in with a magical tale of Ivy who discovers a way into a secret world and embarks on a quest to follow the inky butterfly and return it safely to her grandfather's room of wonderful treasures.

The story has all the elements of magical places and talking creatures that make the adventure perfect for any little (or big) person with a fabulous imagination.

The book is printed on gorgeous, heavy, ivory toned paper which means that you can colour the pages in your preferred medium without worrying about going through the page.

I can see this being a gorgeous summer holiday project for reading and colouring so that it becomes a completely personalised 'self-as-illustrator' story. A great gift along with some really good watercolour pencils - my only trouble would be taking the leap into starting for fear of ruining it! (Thankfully my 8 year old son has no such fears).

Details - Penguin Random House and Virgin Books, October 2017 RRP $28.00 (plus many hours of colouring in!)

love you more than riding on a bumblebee with a magic mouse xxx

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bookish - Van Life

Hey Adventurers,

The Atlas always talks about how he'd love to get a van or a bus and do it up and travel around so when I saw Van Life by Foster Huntington I requested it with him in mind.

When he first set eyes on the book I started to think maybe I shouldn't be feeding this ambition! The Atlas loves this book! It totally fuels his idyllic dream of being able to holiday anywhere any time and I think it definitely contributed to a 'mum's away let's hire a camper and go on a holiday' trip in current school holidays!!

The book is really well put together - each chapter highlights a different type of 'van' from VWs through to School Buses to plain old Campervans. There are heaps of absolutely stunning photos from all sorts of vans around the world (NZ features too - whoop!) and interviews about the adventures, durability/ mechanic-y stuff, and joys of van life.

This book would make a beautiful gift for any friend with wanderlust in them and a love of getting out on the road to adventures.

It is hard cover and the photos are very appealing, both geographically and the variety of interiors.

All the bases covered here!

Details - Hachette NZ, 10 October 2017, RRP $49.99HB

love you more than a fold out bed xxx

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bookish - A Dog With Nice Ears

'I have this little sister Lola...'

And so begin the Charlie and Lola adventures. I have a special place in my heart for Charlie and Lola - I'm not sure if it's from working in the UK or my obsession with copying the accents when I was reading them, or the little clips we used to watch when some people in my life were smaller, or just the magic of what it is to enter the world of Charlie and Lola ....

I also love Lauren Child's illustrative style.

Her latest offering A Dog with Nice Ears does not disappoint.

It has all the charm and generally awesome-and-infuriating ness of Lola. This time Lola is determined they will get a dog. Her parents telling them it will not happen does not deter Lola in the slightest.

But will she get a dog and if she does what kind of dog will it be?

Beautiful and perfect for anyone with a Lola in their lives.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2017, RRP $29.99 HB

love you more than a dog who sniffles instead of barking xxx

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bookish - Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story

Kia ora Koutou!

I was really keen to review Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop. I have been a fan of Bishop's illustrative style since Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant (which was published about the time I was born!).

When this one arrived in the post it absolutely exceeded my expectations. As you know I love seeing books that tell our story and supporting books coming out of NZ. This is one of those wonderful, enormous, hardback books that are being published at the moment. It is wonderfully illustrated and tells tales of NZ from pre-Māori migration right through to keeping record of the Christchurch earthquake in 2011.

Every double page spread deals with different topics and they are laid out with heaps of illustrations and snippets of text. There is excellent use of Te Reo in the book as well which makes me really happy too! I can see this being a book that children will get lost on a page for ages and pop out with 'Mum did you know...' statements from the text.

This book would be a wonderful addition to your home library and as a teacher I know it is one of those ones that would be constantly being picked from the book corner during quiet reading time.

Congratulations to Gavin Bishop for this wonderful, wonderful book - a delight for children and adults and many thanks to Penguin Random House for picking it up and publishing it. One of my favourite this year.

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2017 RRP $40.00 Hardback and very large size.

love you more than a page of famous people who 'told our stories' (actors, dancers, writers, artists, musicians...) xxx

Monday, October 2, 2017

Bookish - Scarface Claw Hold Tight

Kia ora readers,

I was really excited to hear that another Lynley Dodd book had come out. There were many years when Hairy MacLary et al made up a good part of our reading times.

Dodd's books have that great quality of using rhyme flawlessly, including the odd extraordinary word (cacophony, caterwaul) and are very relatable to little people, she is also a skilled illustrator.  (And a kiwi! whoop!)

In Scarface Claw, Hold Tight Dodd achieves her usual delightful offering. Scarface Claw has chosen the wrong place to rest and he's going to have to hold on tight for the adventure that ensues.

A great addition to your Hairy MacLary books - I'm pleased that the publishers have kept the shapes of the book the same all the way through - makes them look happy as a family on the shelves!

Grab one for your favourite little person for Christmas I say!

Details -Penguin Random House,  October 2017 RRP $25.00 HB

love you more than Miss Plum xxx

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bookish - Midnight Sun

Hello readers,

I just received Midnight Sun by Trish Cook I opened the book just after dinner and finished it before I went to bed.

The book is a YA novel following Katie's story. The story is told in first person. She has XP - xeroderma pigmentosum - a rare genetic condition that means she cannot go out into the sun or have UV light on her at all or she will die. Katie is 18 and everyone else her age is out graduating while she is living an upside down nighttime-for-daytime life with her dad.

Katie has spent her life watching the world go by and especially watching Charlie Reed who has walked past her bedroom window every day for the last ten years.

One evening Katie heads down to the train station to busk and she meets Charlie - in real life, and makes a terrible impression... so begins Katie's pursuit for normalcy. What is it to live a normal life when you cannot live a normal life?

The book is a typical YA romance in its style. It is really readable and the chapters are short. Initially I thought I'd read it fast and find it enjoyable but not too engaging. I must confess by the end of the novel I felt very invested in the characters and got quite emotional.

A great read for any young person who has felt on the fringes and misunderstood or thought that no one has it as tough as them. A book about taking chances and living as full a life as possible.

Details - Hachette NZ, September 2017 RRP $19.99

love you more than a love story xxx

Friday, September 22, 2017

100 Days - the final episode


So I actually made it all the way to the end of the 100 days challenge... Here are the last 10 days.

Some of the Christchurch 100 days participants help and exhibition in a local cafe which was really fun and the first time I've ever had work exhibited so I guess I could cross it off my bucket list - if I had one!

On the whole I feel like doing the 100 days project and some of the other creative stuff I've committed to this term has really kicked my general creativity onto the next level and that feels like a really good thing.

What creative happenings are going on in your world at the moment? Do tell

love you more than a finish line well crossed xxx

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bookish - The Choice

Hiya Peeps,

So when I saw The Choice by Dr. Edith Eger on the list of new books coming out from Penguin Random House I really wavered between wanting to read it and thinking 'oh I just can't read holocaust books.' I find the horrors of war stories and what people endured very difficult but I was also really interested in Dr. Eger's message.

Boy am I glad my curiosity won out. What an amazing, moving and challenging read.

Dr. Eger tells her story of being sent to Auschwitz at sixteen and the life she endured there, her liberation, and the ways in which her history continued to inform her present even after being physically freed.

She now and internationally renowned psychologist who works with patients and also all over the world.

The book is her story but it is also a challenging and remarkable invitation to find freedom ourselves wherever we may be. To make choices and live in ways that invite ourselves and others to life life free with curiosity and ecstasy.

As soon as I finished it, in fact before I did I was recommending it to others for their must read list. Read it yourself and buy one for a friend for Christmas.

Details - Penguin Random House, September 2017 RRP $35.00

Beautiful. Hopeful. Purposeful.

love you more than a perfect day for reading xxx

Friday, September 15, 2017

100 Days 81-90

Hiya makers,

So.... the next 100 days post will actually show the finished thing :-) Whoop!

Here are days 81 -90

love you more than an embroidery hoop xxx

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bookish - Billy and the Minpins

Heya readers,

When it comes to Roald Dahl I am pretty familiar with most of his titles including some of his rather surreal/odd adult short stories but I had never read Billy and the Minpins, despite it being recommended to me a couple of years ago.

When this one arrived in the post Bounce (8) grabbed it and read it for afternoon reading before I'd even had a chance to open in and then gave me a very accurate run down of the plot.

Aside from the rather weird start where Billy is told by the devil to go into the woods(??!) and his mother says, 'Beware! Beware! The Forest of Sin!None come out, but many go in!’ ... I found the narrative enjoyable. The initial part doesn't really seem to have any influence on the rest of the story and makes it a strange and off putting beginning for me.

The Minpins are adorable and I love the thought of looking into all those tiny windows to see their magical little worlds.

The rest of the story has Dahl's voice and obvious love of language and description - there is something distinctive about his tone as a writer and the sense of wonder he evokes. For this addition Quentin Blake has been commissioned to do the illustrations which makes it feel more Roald Dahl-ish.

They were certainly an iconic duo.

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, September 2017 RRP $30.00 HB

love you more than a swan large enough to fly a boy xxx

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bookish - Māori At Home

Kia ora Whånau,

In Aotearoa this week it is Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. My first step has been to set up a Måori keyboard on my computer so I can add macrons/tohuto to the words I am familiar with. As you can see this is still a work in progress because my computer isn't adding a macron it's adding some other weird thing. (I would know what that weird thing was if grammar had been more popular to teach when I went through the education system, but that is a whole other thing!)

I was super excited to request Måori at Home by Scott and Stacey Morrison and I am hopeful that it will improve and inspire my own basic reo use at home and school. The book is super accessible with a warm and encouraging introduction that inspires you to have a plan and have a go.

The rest of the chapters are divided into places where you may commonly be with whånau. Things like 'before school', 'the playground' and the 'digital world' are included. These chapters are predominantly about the kupu (words) you would use in these places but also include simple sentences, sentence starters and some family activities that could help you build reo in that context.

I think this book is an excellent start person for any person who'd like to have a go with their tamariki in using reo but feels a little out of their depth - either kupu or grammar wise. It is a very user friendly resource and I am planning to use it with my whånau and also in the contexts where I am teaching.

Tau ké! - Magnificent! (and the macron has changed again ??)

I would so encourage anyone to have a go, many of us are just on baby steps but those are better than no steps at all and we are setting an example for the tamariki that look up to us. :-)

And just as I come to the end I've worked it out! Watch out world - I may have macrons sorted!

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, September 2017 RRP $35.00

love you more than a kupu o te ra xxx

Monday, September 11, 2017

Making - Ivy Pinafore

Kia ora koe,

When I saw the Ivy pinafore by Jennifer Lauren Handmade I was really keen to give it a go. A tent dress + pinafore sounds like the perfect combo to me. Then I came across this fabulous flamingo fabric and it was a done deal.

The pattern requires a lot of fabric 3m and is fully lined so it's not a cheap make by any means. I also chose to print the PDF pattern at a copy shop instead of printing out loads of pages, sticking them all together and re-cutting (prep work is such a bore!). Which meant some serious printing costs as well - thankfully I plan to make this dress again so I can make sure to get my moneys-worth from the printing.

The dress came together really quickly and the instructions are clear and thorough and easy to follow. I decided to forgo buttons in the end liking the yoke just as it was, so I stitched it down instead.

The top stitching really makes the overall look I think.

Worn with a black top I've had for over 10 years and some new shoes that were seriously discounted and make the perfect feet for a flamingo don't you think?

So.... what will the next one look like I wonder???

love you more than a flamboyance of flamingoes xxx
(isn't that the best collective noun ever?!)

Friday, September 8, 2017

100 Days Challenge 71-80

Hi, Hi :-)

Well the project continues on and I am pretty much keeping up - it's a surprise to me too!

Here are the latest 10 days:

Wee... I can smell the finish line :-)

love you more than a finish line in sight xxx

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bookish - Black Marks on the White Page

Kia ora koutou,

I am always really excited to see New Zealand writers being published. I think there are many more hurdles for people from smaller countries to get their authentic voices heard in the world of books, which I imagine is really about how many sales can be generated and whether it is 'translatable' to other international cultures.

All that to say I was thrilled to receive a copy of Black Marks on the White Page which is a compilation of short stories edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti.

I really enjoy reading short stories and I feel like a well written short story can be as complex, moving and demanding as a novel. As a writer I think the skill of being able to engage a person and take them on a journey in such a few words is really an amazing skill.

As with all compilations there are parts that appeal more than others and the book doesn't shy away from darker subjects so it would certainly be considered adult reading in terms of appropriateness. It was really good to be exposed to new writers whose work I haven't read before and I enjoy the fact that the variety of contributors means the book moves, sometimes dramatically, from one style to another.

This is a great compilation - there is true variety in the voices, styles and settings of each story. The book is also accompanied by some gorgeous art including the incredible cover.

I am a great believer in supporting the writing of our location in the world as well as enjoying authors from other places. We must support our writers and an emerging voice that gives deeper understanding, as well as delivering compelling writing, to the stories of those who are Indigenous Oceanic writers.

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, July 2017 RRP $40.00 HB

love you more than discovering a new author xxx

Friday, September 1, 2017

100 Days Challenge 61 - 70


Here we go with the next instalment of stitchiness!

Do you have a favourite bit? Or is it all starting to look the same?

love you more than creative perspective xxx