Tyranno-sort-of Rex by Christopher Llewelyn; illustrated by Scott Tulloch (2015)

[Published by Scholastic New Zealand]

dinoHave you spent hours scratching your head over the instructions provided with kit-set furniture? Now imagine you have no instructions, and rather than a bookshelf, you’re putting together a dinosaur skeleton. Yup, that’s right, hilarious.

A ship’s cargo of three neatly packed sets of dinosaur bones arrive at the dock in a sad state, having weathered a violent storm. No longer divided, the bones are now merrily higglety pigglety.

Their delivery to the City Museum museum late at night and the day before an advertised exhibition of dinosaurs creates something of a challenge for the curator.

After a long night of sweating over power tools and unidentified bones, the curator creates three… um… sort of dinosaur skeletons.IMG_1907[1]

“Through half-closed eyes, it sort of looked fine,
but scattered around were spare bits of spine.
The leftover bones he’d just have to hide,
as people were already queueing outside.”

His various attempts at dinosaur creation are fantastic, and while regular dinosaurs are fairly crazy, these things are off the scale wacky. Told in fabulous rhyming verse, this story will have your audience in fits of laughter.

Check out Tyranno-sort-of-Rex at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Tyranno-Sort-of Rex from Fishpond.


Squishy squashy birds by Carl van Wijk and Alicia Munday (2014)

[Published by Potton & Burton]


New Zealand really does boast a most spectacular array of native birds. If you’ve never hunkered down in the bird-viewing hide at Nugget Point in the Catlins and delighted in wobbly hoiho making their way across across the beach, then I insist you add it to your bucket list immediately! (I have been known to describe the Catlins as New Zealand’s Disneyland. Admittedly this is a pretty obscure comparison, based mostly on the fact that in a small area there are all sorts of natural wonders to behold. Please don’t go expecting rollercoasters).

In Sammy’s backpack, lives his favourite book, Endangered Birds of New Zealand. When closed, said endangered birds are forced to squeeze themselves into its pages, creating all sorts of undignified shapes.IMG_1893

“Kōkako then chimed in,

“There’s no room for my trilling!

My beak’s jammed in the corner.

I’d hardly call that thrilling.”

When Sammy finally makes it to school and unleashes the beauty of his favourite book on his classmates, the rainbow-coloured mayhem is a delight to behold.

The rhyming language is beautiful, the pictures magnificent. You will want to share this gorgeous story on a regular basis.

[Recommended by Phillippa – thanks Phillippa!]

Check out Squishy squashy birds at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Squishy Squashy Birds from Fishpond.

[Oh boy, in a quick update, I’ve just discovered the amazing Squishy squashy bird merchandise. Check out the shower curtains. Stay strong Lucy, stay strong.]


Room 20 you have been awesome!

Today I hung out with Room 20 for the last time, which was sad both because they are awesome, and also because I can no longer pester them for book reviews. Here are their final two reviews, thanks guys!


Hello world! by Tracy Clarry (2013)

[Published by Tracy Design]

Hello person that I have never met. This story is about knowledge and colours and personality. It is a great book for people under the age of six about stuff they have never known in their lives.

It has great and beautiful pictures that are the same as in the real world.

By Daltan and Jacob.

Check out Hello World! at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Hello World! from Fishpond.


Squinty the seagull by Janet Martin; illustrated by20150624_101058 Ivar Treskon (2014)

[Published by Jampot Productions]

This book is really good for ages seven and under, with bright and colourful illustrations.

Squinty the seagull learnt how to surf.  There is one good thing about this, even though he only has one eye to look, he was still the champion. It’s a happy story, because he did not have to be perfect. Even though he had a disability he still achieved something and he was determined. There is also a beautiful song that goes with the story.

By Paige and Eh Thaw Kue.

Check out Squinty the seagull at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Squinty the Seagull from Fishpond.


Kiri the kereru by Janet Martin; illustrated by Ivar Treskon (2007)

[Published by Jampot productions]

kiriRoom 20 is on a roll…

Kiri the kereru is a bright amazing book to read and it is great for children who love birds! This book is full of colourful illustrations and it is full of rhymes. It also relates to New Zealand nature. This story can show children how to be nice and that they can change from being greedy kids to being really kind again.

Thavy and Estania.20150626_135728

Check out Kiri the kereru at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Kiri the Kereru at Fishpond.


Zoo train by Sally Sutton; illustrated by Daron Parton (2015)

[Published by Walker Books]


Last month in Auckland a seal made his way into a city car wash and stubbornly refused to leave. He drew a huge crowd and was quite the hit with the locals.

In Zoo train it’s an enclosure escape that provides all the entertainment. A crowd of excited zoo-goers chugga chugga and thugga thugga their way around, delighting in the animals on the way. “Wind blows round the big cats. Fanning the giraffe. Glad I’ve got my warm hat. Where’d I put my scarf?”

After they pass by the monkeys, a series of strange events unfold, from odd bursts of rain, to disappearing items of clothing. How on earth did the tiger end up wearing a belt? It’s all very mysterious, unless of course you’ve been paying attention to the wonderful illustrations along the way.IMG_1876

This lovely bright, bubbling picture book will provide much entertainment for your young audience. You will find yourself keeping a much closer eye on the monkeys at the zoo in the future!

Check out Zoo train at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Zoo Train from Fishpond.


Bye-bye grumpy fly by Ruth Paul (2015)

[Published by Scholastic New Zealand]


As I read Bye-bye grumpy fly aloud for the first time, I felt as if I needed an accompanying beat. There is something so satisfyingly rhythmic about the language. Why not suggest your audience clap and tap along as you read this cheeky wee number aloud. Be warned, there are some tongue twisters in there, so you might need to cross your fingers that the beat doesn’t increase in speed!

On a rainy grey day, a grumpy fly enters stage left. Pursued by a frog, a crocodile and a tiger, the fly zips and zaps out of their way leaving mayhem in his wake. While the others discover there is fun to be had in all their scrambling and tumbling, the fly remains stoically grumpy, eventually buzzing away forever.IMG_1878

The grumpy fly’s grumpiness is a delight. How he manages to keep a straight-face when the tiger ends up soggy and underneath a lily pad, I’ll never know.

My prediction is that you will have as much fun reading this aloud as your audience has listening to it!

Check out Bye-bye grumpy fly at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Bye-Bye Grumpy Fly at Fishpond.


Go, green gecko! by Gay Hay; illustrated by Margaret Tolland (2015)

[Published by Page Break]


Oh boy, I’ve just found this awesome “If you see a gecko…” online form, and now this weekend all I want to do is go gecko-hunting. Given that I’m a city girl, I think my chances are on the slim side, so I’ll have to stick to reading about them instead. Luckily, the illustrations in this amazing picture book are almost enough to make me feel I’ve been successful in my imaginary gecko hunt.

Aside from an abundance of delightful green geckos, this book also overflows with lovely language. Our small friend partakes in  “scurrying” “tumbling” and “slithering” while IMG_1791constantly on the lookout for predators.

Complete with fascinating gecko fact pages, this is a wee New Zealand gem.

Check out Go, green gecko! at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Go, green gecko! from Fishpond.