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Book reviews: June 2024

Book reviews: June 2024Sleep is for Babies
Emily McDowell and Julia Hegetusch
Scholastic NZ
$21.99

Author Emily McDowell has crafted a heartwarming tale of night-time adventures that are sure to appeal to little ones. Join George on his bedtime journey as he ventures out into the night, meeting a host of animals along the way. Julia Hegetusch’s charming illustrations brings the story to life, evoking a wondrous night-time world. Ages 3–7.

Book reviews: June 2024 Frank and Bert
Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
Allen & Unwin
$27.99

The hilarious fox and bear double act return in their third adventure, taking a picnic in the countryside. When Bert falls asleep, Frank can’t resist the lure of an unopened gift. His curiosity and impatience lead to a small mishap, with a valuable lesson that will spark conversations around friendship. Ages 2–5.

Book reviews: June 2024The Flying Teddy
June Dooney
CopyPress
$25

Bored with life in Penelope’s bedroom, Tommy Teddy decides to go on a flying adventure. He soon discovers that wasn’t a wise decision. Flying Teddy is a timeless classic children’s story in the genre of Winnie the Pooh but with a Kiwi flavour, with endearing illustrations by New Zealand artist, Jess Twohill. Ages 3–6.

Book reviews: June 2024Some Families Change
Jess Galatola and Jenni Barrand
Exisle Publishing
$24.99

Change in the family can be joyful, turbulent, and especially confusing for little humans. Some Families Change is a lovely picture book to help young children find their place in the world and explore the diverse ways of being a family. A wonderful read-along to explore changing feelings and emotions together. Ages 4–8.

Book reviews: June 2024Brave Kāhu and the Pōrangi Magpie
Shelley Burne-Field
Allen & Unwin
$19.99

Author Shelley Burne-Field (Sāmoa, Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Rārua, Pākehā) introduces Poto the kahu and her sister Whetu. Trying to get their injured baby brother to safety, the hawk siblings journey includes keeping an eye out for a menacing flock of magpies. Will aroha win out over hate? And will Poto realise that everyone has something special to offer, even if they can’t do everything quite like she does? Ages 7–12.

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Book Reviews January 2023

Book reviews: June 2024Watson the Detective Dog
Susan Brocket and Jenny Cooper
Scholastic NZ
$21.99


Meet Watson, training to be a conservation dog and on a mission to protect a special species in danger. Some itty-bitty fish – īnanga (whitebait) – need saving. In this story about a real-life dog, young readers will learn about how detector dogs like Watson are trained for a role in conservation. The book is a great introduction to the positive impact that animals can have on conservation at a local level. Ages 3–7.

Book reviews: June 2024Kiwis In Conflict: A History of New Zealanders at War revised & updated
Chris Pugsley with Laurie Barber, Buddy Mikaere, Nigel Prickett and Rose Young
Bateman Books
$59.99

An impactful collection of more than 300 photographs, paintings, letters, and diaries, as well as first-hand accounts of New Zealand and New Zealanders at war from the mid-19th Century to the present day. Originally published as Scars on the Heart based on Auckland Museum’s exhibition of the same name, this new revised edition examines the impact of war through the eyes of those involved. Written by five noted historians, it’s a poignant tribute to the many thousands of New Zealanders whose lives were lost at war.

Book reviews: June 2024Take Two
Danielle Hawkins
Allen & Unwin NZ
$36.99

As a long-time fan of New Zealand author Danielle Hawkins (often referred to as the Kiwi Marian Keyes), there’s a certain satisfaction in cracking open her newest offering and knowing you’re in for a rollicking good read. When Laura visits the farm of her ex-love Doug (after breaking up because he didn’t want children), she’s thrust back into the dynamics of this beloved family – however with an unexpected twist. Roped into helping Doug (and his pregnant new girlfriend), his parents, and playboy younger brother, Laura is immersed in the family stream of crisis. The perfect book to curl up with for a touch of winter escapism.

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Book reviews: March 2024

Book reviews: June 2024Nell
Penelope Todd
Cloud Ink Press
$34.95

Set in Otago’s high country, the life of Nell is slowly revealed through episodic chapters, each one capturing a snapshot of a moment in her life. Some of the early chapters cover a year of childhood in just one page through glimpses of memories and events. It’s an intriguing approach and one that slowly but surely draws the reader in. The fictional re-imagining of Dunedin author Penelope Todd’s paternal grandmother’s life, Nell is also an exploration of the freedom and glory of New Zealand high country, along with the testing of this very freedom through family expectations, pride, and the boundaries of the era.

Book reviews: June 2024All Fours
Miranda July
Allen & Unwin
$36.99

If you haven’t yet discovered the literary voice of author Miranda July, you’re in for a treat. With perfect comic timing and the ability to capture the essence of humanity in all of its quirks, All Fours focuses on a semi-famous artist who announces her plan to drive from LA to NY. Thirty minutes after leaving her husband and child at home, she spontaneously exits the freeway, beds down in a nondescript motel, and immerses herself in a temporary reinvention that turns out to be the start of an entirely different journey.

Book reviews: June 2024Creative First Aid
Caitlin Marshall and Lizzie Rose
Murdoch Books
$45

Mental health and wellbeing have become important conversations and Creative First Aid is a thought-provoking and useful guide around self-care, offering 50 inspiring prescriptions anyone can try. It’s also got a playful uplifting side and strives to encourage creativity and tools to help bring joy and delight to your life. A practical guide to taking matters into your own hands, there are easy-to-follow tips around new activities to try, shared stories, and a host of useful tools to call upon in times of stress or sadness.

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