Fabulous Pie by Gareth Edwards; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

[Published by Alison Green Books]


“Deep in the forest
Where the trees meet the sky,
A very bad bear
Baked a very big pie.”

In spite of his badness, I have to admit to a certain fondness for the sneaky old bear. He hatches a cunning plan, asking the animals of the forest to help him fill his fabulous pie. Mouse provides ripe berries, and squirrel adds delicious hazelnuts. It’s all sounding rather tasty. Badger brings honey and then otter offers the slightly less-traditional salmon.

At this point the bear shows his true colours, shoving the mouse, squirrel, badger and otters into his pie. IMG_1908With a little ingenuity the pie-filling/animals engineer a rather slippery escape. I must say the character I feel sorry for in all this is the salmon, look out for his doleful eyes as the escapees celebrate with a delicious slice of pie.

Fabulous Pie is heaps of fun to read. Told in bopping rhyme, its illustrations are almost as delicious as the pie.

Check out Fabulous Pie at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Fabulous Pie from Fishpond.


The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard; illustrated by Benji Davies (2015)

[Published by MacMillan]


This story comes with a warning, a pre-read before unleashing it onto your audience is essential. I haltingly began to read it to my niece and nephews, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth page that I had mastered the metre (I’m a bit rusty on my poetry terms, hopefully that means what I think it means).

The grumpy old Giant of Jum is hungry. Based on the advice of his brother (you may remember him from a tale involving a beanstalk) he decides to go on the hunt for a small child named Jack.

When he makes it to town he stumbles across a large group of delicious small children,

“Fum!” he said and, “Fo!” he said and,”Fi!” he said and, “Fee!”

Children, I feel, make a fabulous meal.IMG_1882

I will gobble you up for my tea!”

The wily children enlist the giant’s help in rescuing their ball and then cat and finally in carrying a small person home. When it turns out the small person’s name is Jack it all becomes a bit edge-of-the-seat-worthy. But happily while there is a feast, no small children were harmed in its making.

With a cheeky wee nod to a traditional fairy tale, and cleverly shifting perspective in the illustrations, this neatly rhyming story (with a little practice) is a lot of fun to read aloud. Your audience will be fee fi fo and fumming all over the place.

Check out The giant of Jum at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy The Giant of Jum from Fishpond.


I’m a hungry dinosaur by Janeen Brian; illustrated by Ann James (2015)

[Published by Puffin Australia]

im-a-hungry-dinosaurIf you loved I’m a dirty dinosaur then I’ve got great news for you, the star of the show is back and this time he’s hungry (and of course still a little dirty).

Our wee dinosaur embarks on a baking-spree, complete with shaking, stirring, mixing and beating. Featuring the same funky rhyming beat and grubby but adorable star, this will be a winner for dinosaur and cake fans everywhere.

After spending some time looking at the cover’s mouth-watering chocolate cake, I’m feeling like a hungry dinosaur myself. In good news, today is my husband John’s birthday,IMG_1888 “Happy Birthday John!” Yup, pretty sure it’s cake time…

Check out I’m a hungry dinosaur at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy I’m a Hungry Dinosaur from Fishpond.


Stanley’s plan by Ruth Green (2015)

[Published by Tate Publishing]

stanStanley (a little like my husband) is ALWAYS hungry. A delicious but out-of-reach pie tempts him with all its tasty smells. In spite of some great suggestions to his friends as to how they can help retrieve that big ol’ pie, none of them seem very interested.

“So Stanley starts to make a plan.

He asks Brian the cat to help if he can.

Brian tells Stanley, “That pie’s not for you.”

“Ask someone else, I’ve got things to do.”

After an exhausting day of failed plan-hatching, Stanley falls asleep and awakes the next morning to a lovely surprise.IMG_1884

The colours in Stanley’s plan are enough to brighten a cold winter’s day. With its tidy rhyme and bold illustrations, this is a top choice for reading to a big bunch of littlies.

Check out Stanley’s Plan at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Stanley’s Plan from Fishpond.


Room 20s reviews continue…

I might just make myself another cup of tea, the kids have got this…

Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Scott Magoon (2009)

[Published by Hyperion Books]20150624_101540

This book is about Spoon and his family, so you can say the title like this “SPOOON!!”

This is a comparing story and a silly story for children for bedtime. The characters in the story are Spoon, Fork, Knife and Chopsticks. At the end, everyone was not less than each other!

By Aminta and Crystal

Check out Spoon at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Spoon from Fishpond.

Puss & Boots by Ayano Imai (2009)

[Published by Michael Neugebauer Pub Ltd] 20150624_101015

This is me and my partner’s review of Puss and Boots (our names are Paavi and Reeno). This is a story about a poor shoemaker and his cat who lived together. Business was bad but how it got better is a mystery for you.

This book is great for 7+ kids. A funny, sad little book with a lot of hard words.

By Reeno and Paavi

Check out Puss & Boots at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Puss & Boots from Fishpond.

The foggy, foggy forest by Nick Sharratt (2008)

[Published by Walker Books]20150624_101116

Title: The foggy foggy forest

Like: There is always a mystery somewhere

This book is suitable for 7 and under

Dislike: Not much rhyming, dull colours

By Alisha and Aliya

[Disclaimer: Nick Sharratt you are my hero, these girls are tough critics!]

Check out The foggy, foggy forest by Nick Sharratt.

Or buy The Foggy, Foggy Forest from Fishpond.


Blog posting extravaganza by Room 20

Look out world, it’s a blog takeover! The students of room 20 have risen to my challenge and have written a series of delightful picture book reviews. Room 20 consists of 59 (mostly) lovely students aged between nine and eleven. It means I get to put my feet up for a few days, thanks team!

All monkeys love bananas by Sean E Avery (2012)

[Published by Fremantle Press]20150624_103827

This book is suitable for under 7-year-olds. It has spectacular rhymes. It is hilarious, with crazy monkeys and crazy rabbits. This is amazing for your kids to get a bit of a laugh, and have fun!

By Anthony and Kosten

Check out All monkeys love bananas at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy from All Monkeys Love Bananas Fishpond.

Outside by Libby Hathorn; illustrated by Ritva Voutila (2014)

[Published by Little Hare]20150624_103659

This book is perfect for kids who absolutely love rhymes. There are very creative pictures which you can not stop staring at!

This book is about a boy who explores outside with breathtaking nature.

By Kayah and Malia.

Check out Outside from Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Outside from Fishpond.

Superkid by Claire Freedman; illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (2013)


[Published by Scholastic]

This is a very interesting book, it’s a lot of fun and so so so funny. Any aged human being would like it but probably not adults.

It’s a lot better when you read it in a weird voice. It’s very colourful and interesting.

By Ubaidah and Sameer.

Check out Superkid at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Superkid from Fishpond.


Pizza for pirates by Adam & Charlotte Guillain; illustrated by Lee Wildish (2015)

[Published by Egmont Publishing]


Greetings world. After a week of twitter-style short reviewing, I should probably warn you, I have a significant surplus of words I need to let out. Prepare for a series of long ambling reviews, starting with today’s indulgent all-about-me entry.

I’m now up to my second practicum in a primary school as part of my year of learning how to be a teacher. My class is a double room overflowing with 59 nine and ten year olds. I took them outside for a game of “Captain’s coming” a few weeks ago. In my introduction to the game I explained that before I was a librarian I had for a short time been a pirate. They were going to be put through their paces so I could see who would be a worthy addition to my old pirate ship. They didn’t know me very well at this stage and a few looked quite bewildered at this new piece of information about Mrs Barker.

The next day I was taking a guided reading session and the kids asked what “open sea” meant. I IMG_1879explained that I’d been on boats so far away from land, that when you looked in all directions, all you could see was the sea. One of the boys piped up and quite seriously asked, “Was that when you were a pirate?” I am more determined than ever to include as many crazy imagination-filled experiences as I can in the classroom!

Today’s excellent seafaring story is just the ticket (see I always get around to the book eventually). George, the intrepid small boy, from the safety of his bed, hatches a plan to join a fine crew of pirates. Armed with pizza (and an outstanding imagination), he embarks on his quest. The cast of any good pirate story join George along the way, mermaids, pirates, sharks, whales and a most magnificent sea monster. That trusty pizza eventually earns its stripes and George and his newly found pirate-friends show the world what walking the plank really means.

Told in rollicking rhyme, with wonderful illustrations, this is the perfect story to share with an adventure-loving audience.

Check out Pizza for pirates at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Pizza for Pirates (George’s Amazing Adventures) from Fishpond.