Zippo the Super Hippo by Kes Gray; illustrated by Nikki Dyson (2015)

[Published by MacMillan]


I am no child psychologist, but I can tell from the cover alone that Zippo is going to be a hit with the young ‘uns. “How Lucy? How do you know this?” Well team, I can guarantee that any book with the phrase “Bottom Power” on the cover, which features a large hippo in underpants will be instant “read it again” material.

Zippo the hippo has a hankering for being super, for having a super power to be more precise. By process of elimination, he and his friend Roxi hit upon flying as the perfect power for him.

“You’re right!” said Zippo. “If I could fly, I could get a super cape and some super boots and I could fly 20150729_082518around the world being Zippo the Super Hippo!” Zippo’s attempts at launching himself elegantly in the air fail miserably, ending each time with a giant splat, and an animal squashed beneath his admirable bottom. In good news, it turns out that super bottoms can be quite a weapon against misbehaving animals. And so, Zippo the Super Hippo is born.

There are all sorts of goodies hidden in the pages of this beautifully illustrated, hilariously told story. Come on down Zippo, we’ve saved you a place in the inner circle of friends here at myfriendlucy!

Check out Zippo the Super Hippo at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Zippo the Super Hippo from Fishpond.


One plastic bag by Miranda Paul; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (2015)

[Published by Millbrook Press]


The recycling women of the Gambia are outstanding. Imagine a community used to bags made of natural fibres that breakdown quickly when discarded. What happens when plastic bags are introduced?

A steadily growing pile of rubbish lines the streets of Njau in Gambia. Isatou has been only vaguely aware of this, until the day her goat becomes sick. “Many goats have been eating these,” he says. “The bags twist around their insides, and the animals cannot survive.” Isatou realises something must be done, so she starts by picking up one plastic bag from the pile, then two, until she has a hundred.

She and her friends wash the bags and hang them on the line. Inspired by her sister’s crocheting, Isatou 20150724_171353has an idea. Cutting the plastic bags into strips, Isatou and her friends begin to crochet them into purses which they sell in the city. And gradually the pile of discarded plastic grows smaller and smaller.

Miranda Paul explains her experiences in Africa at the end of this amazing story, “Today, Njau is much cleaner, the goats are healthier, and the garden grow better. Residents from nearby towns travel there to learn the craft of recycling.”

An inspiring beautifully told and illustrated story.

Check out One plastic bag at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (Millbrook Picture Books) from Fishpond.


There’s a bear on my chair by Ross Collins (2015)

[Published by Nosy Crow]


We have a new contender for the position of rhyme-minister. Way back in September, Juliette MacIver set the bar pretty high with her picture book, The Moose and the Goose, featuring 25 words that rhymed with moose (I will admit to being pretty generous with my definition of the word “rhyme”).

With much anticipation today I am going to see if Ross Collins has created a new winner with There’s a bear on my chair. Here goes…

bear, chair, share, spare, pair, glare, unaware, there, flair, leisurewear, hair, pear, lair, scare, underwear, care, rare, aware, declare, despair, fair, where.20150630_102153

So close Ross, so close.

That list of rhyming words makes an intriguing review all on its own, so I guess my job is done for the day. See you all tomorrow.

Check out There’s a bear on my chair at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy There’s a Bear on My Chair from Fishpond.


The wild girl by Chris Wormell (2005)

[Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers]


It’s a snoozy sunny afternoon and I’ve happily spent the last 20 minutes on a rambling daydream inspired by The Wild Girl.

A little girl lives alone in the wilderness with her small brown dog. Her solitary lifestyle is rather appealing, full of trout-fishing, outdoor sleeping, berry and root gathering (the insect eating I’m less excited about). Their existence is totally isolated, not even the smoke of another fire enters their world.

One winter day, the little girl discovers bear tracks around her cave and she is forced to defend her home. It turns out the IMG_1767company of bears is not such a bad thing after all.

This is a gentle and original story that I loved very much.

Check out The wild girl at Auckland Libraries.

[Apologies team, this is the first book I’ve reviewed that is out-of-print. I’m breaking all my rules by including it, but I figure you’ll forgive me. Fingers crossed your local library has this wee beauty.]


Who’s driving? by Leo Timmers; translated by Bill Nagelkerke (2006)

[Published by Gecko Press]
geckoThere has been sad lack of transportation stories here at myfriendlucy over the last few months. I’m making it up to you today I promise. Chock-full of magnificently onomatopoeic words and delightful animals, Who’s driving? will send your preschool transport fans straight to heaven.

A group of animals in snazzy outfits walk towards a series of vehicles. “Who’s driving… the tractor? Pig! He’s driving to the farm. Chug chug chug chug chug.” For the eagle-eyed and sparky-brained in the audience, there are cunning visual clues to match driver to mode of transport. I’m particularly taken by pig’s red and white-spotted neckerchief; no farmer should be without one.


I love Gecko Press. They are a New Zealand publisher, selecting wonderful picture books from around the world, and translating them into English. Who’s driving was originally published in Belgium and the translator Bill Nagelkerke is an awesome New Zealand author and ex-fellow-Librarian.

All round vehicular greatness.

Check out Who’s driving? at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Who’s driving? from Fishpond.


Shake to assemble by Calliope Glass; illustrated by Ron Lim & Richard Isanove (2015)

[Published by Marvel]

shakeShe’s a tough one today. I faced a dilemma, do I include a book that is shamelessly cashing in on The Avengers franchise, or do I discount it, due to its populist nature?

I wrote myself a summary:

  • Kids will looooove this book
  • It’s no literary masterpiece
  • She’s a whole lot of fun to read
  • I watch reality TV so who am I to judge?

While reading it aloud to a friend (and Avengers fan) I realised my whole goal is to find books that are fun to read aloud, and Shake to assemble is exactly that. Interactive in nature, it features all your favourites, Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow. Your instructions include pushing, blowing, tapping, and… tickling Bruce Banner in order to make him turn into the Hulk. “Great! He’s getting mad! But not mad enough. Shake the book up and down five times – hard.”

If you ever run a comic-themed library storytime then this book is just about perfect.

Check out Shake to assemble at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Shake to assemble from Fishpond.


Roo the roaring dinosaur by David Bedford; illustrated by Mandy Stanley (2015)

[Published by Simon and Schuster]

rooDuring a girls’ weekend to Melbourne a few years ago, my girlfriend had her fingers crossed that while she was away, hubby would manage to wean their daughter off “dodo”. It was quite the challenge as girl and dodo were inseparable.

Blankies, dummies, cuddly toys, they can all be the most important thing in the world to a small person. For the crazily cute Roo, it’s his Moomie. When a giant mammoth named, Wooly crashes his hot air balloon right in front of Roo’s nose, Roo discovers a fun new friend. They have a lovely old time, until Wooly decides he really needs to go home, but, his balloon has a sizeable hole.IMG_1594

It’s tough decision time for Roo, as his Moomie turns out to be the perfect size for balloon-repairing. Because this story is just all round cuteness, it ends with some fluffy love. A great choice for a child who might be about to suffer a little separation anxiety.

Check out Roo the roaring dinosaur at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Roo the roaring dinosaur from Fishpond.