Mosquitoes can bite all kinds of people–ballerinas, chefs, babies, even you and me. But they can’t bite . . . NINJAS! Mosquitoes might be quick, but ninjas are quicker. Mosquitoes might be sneaky, but ninjas are sneakier. And mosquitoes might be hungry, but ninjas are . . . hungrier!
And Ninjas certainly don’t bite mosquitoes unless…
With a particular television program inspiring mini-Ninjas in playgrounds all over the country, this is an amusing book that pits the greatest scourge of mankind against the power of a Ninja. As well as learning to be Ninjas from an early age, children also learn to recognise that familiar whine of the female mosquito looking for blood and how to slap them dead as soon as they can so they will relate to the peskiness of these creatures and be glad that it meets its end, even if in an ugly way.
The cartoon-like illustrations expand the minimal text very well, adding a lot of character and expression particularly to the mosquito who is clearly intent on doing evil, While there is no actual violence portrayed there are several instances where the mosquito comes off second-best and the reader can use the clues to conclude just what has happened. Perfect for getting young readers to examine the illustrations to make the most of the story.
This is one reader, highly allergic to the venom of these creatures, who would be very glad if MANY mosquitoes were harmed in the making of this book!
Naming Day at the school on The Hill -an old rubbish dump on the edge of the woods – is the most important day for the students because it is then that they get their surnames based on their expertise in particular disciplines such as metal craft and weaving. Chipmunk Twig, who prefers to read discarded picture books rather than the old instruction manuals preferred by the other students, is struggling to excel and seems destined to become a lonely Errand Runner. Shamed and embarrassed he runs away, falls into a river and when he reaches the shore he finds a golden egg from which hatches a dragon. And suddenly his fortunes change – or do they?
Miss 11, an avid reader, was drawn to this book on a recent visit because it is the sort of story she likes and she immediately put her nose into it. However her comments afterwards suggested it did not live up to expectations. Even though the writing is descriptive, she said she was glad there were the pictures to help because her imagination wasn’t drawing them for her.
She felt that the storyline did not match her predictions and there were several gaps that were unexplained such as how Twig got back upriver; what is making Char the dragon so sick; enemy Basil’s change of heart and how Lily, banned from seeing Twig manages to accompany him on the final adventure. She wasn’t keen on the up-in-the-air, to-be-continued ending which left the story unresolved until the sequel Bayberry Island is read. Sadly, Grandma didn’t have it. Perhaps if she did and all the loose ends were tied up she might have enjoyed it more.
Friendship and the ethics of keeping animals captive and cheating to achieve a goal are the themes of this story but to Miss 11, the target audience for the story, they were lost in her confusion of the story.
Unusual for me to publish a less-than-positive review but when you have the critique of the intended audience, it’s hard to ignore it.
How long will I love you? A second is too short. A second is no time for a love of this sort. A minute is no better, for minutes fly by! They’re gone in a moment like a sweet butterfly. Moving through the day, the seasons and then the years, Mother Mouse’s ode to her child and everlasting love will reassure children that they are lovable and loved and will be always. “Love you to the moon and back” is something our little ones hear often but this story, told in rhyme and accompanied by charming pictures that just ooze warmth and love, expresses that concept in a way that little ones can understand. The affirmation that a mother’s love is never-ending, even when our offspring challenge us, is so important and this is a wonderful way of helping them understand that, especially as there are lots of other mums depicted in the pictures. This is a universal feeling, not one confined to Mother Mouse and her baby.
Time is such a nebulous and abstract idea that children find it difficult to get their heads around it, but this delightful story helps to explain it by quantifying the measurements in order. A second is so short we can but blink, but there are many things we can do in an hour or a morning, while nighttime brings its own unique activities and each season its features.
A perfect lullaby-type story to draw the curtains on the day for our little people.
Once there was a gecko and she lived inside a cave. She was very, very small but she was also really brave.
Not only was she brave, but she was also very smart. For inside her cave were three gecko eggs that needed to be guarded day and night because there were many crafty creatures who thought that gecko eggs would make a tasty snack. But she was ready for them and when Snake slithered by at sunrise looking for his breakfast she told him he would need to be very brave because inside the cave were 100 geckos! And just one shout would bring them out. But Snake didn’t have his brave on so he slithered on.
Eagle also thought gecko eggs would make a tasty lunchtime treat but she too turned away when threatened with 100 geckos waiting for her. But come evening, when Rat was looking for his dinner he wasn’t intimidated. In fact he decided to call Mother Gecko’s bluff…
Clever use of rhyme and charming illustrations carry this tale of courage and trickery along and young readers will really enjoy the fact that Mother Gecko can outsmart her enemies. They will also enjoy investigating how echoes are created – they are fascinated by them and whenever you take a child into a tunnel or an underpass or wherever conditions are perfect, they delight in shouting and hearing their voice come back to them. Why does that happen? A perfect kickstart for a science lesson as well as a good story!
Glitch, a trembly, twittery,twitchy kind of bug built amazing creations from the things that he found on the rubbish dump where he lived. It really was a case of one man’s trash being another’s treasure. His best friend June was a much calmer bug as well as being the best billycart driver ever. Glitch spent his time rummaging through the mountains of mouldy mess deposited daily by the dump trucks trying to build June the best billycart ever. But even though he managed to do that, they had never won a race. Somehow, despite June’s brilliant driving, Glitch’s issues as the co-driver denied them victory.
So this time, June decides that Glitch will be the driver – a thought that terrifies him and has him seeking all sorts of excuses why not.
Full of alliteration that give it pace and rhythm this is a story that will delight young readers and culminates in something they will resonate with – having to put their brave on and do something that scares them. Great for getting the children to think about what they are afraid of and considering taking the first step to vanquish it. Andrew Plant, illustrator of the magnificent Spark and the brilliant The Poppy has really let his imagination go wild and got down and dirty amongst the rubbish heaps to bring the story to life and show how the most mundane things can be repurposed. With makerspaces the current big thing in school libraries, this is the perfect book to challenge students to make a billycart for a bug using recycled and repurposed materials.
Miss 6, whose first task at Joeys was to help build a raft from drink bottles, is right into recycling so she is going to love this. Such a strong message told in such an entertaining way.