Holiday Reading 1999: A selection of children's and young adults' books

New Zealand titles: a selection

Picture books

Allen, Pamela Mr McGee and the perfect nest
Lazy bird decides that Mr McGee's umbrella makes the best nest.
John and Jane attempt to pluck a pear from the pear tree. Principles of force and motion are wittily suggested by the pictures and text. The text also carries sly, subversive echoes of early readers.
Beaglehole, Helen John's remarkable day
Beaglehole, Helen Plum stones
Two modern-day tall-tales, both of which stretch credibility a little too far. John's mother is always joking with him to hang onto his head when the wind blows strongly or else the wind will blow it off, which it eventually does. On her sixth birthday, Elizabeth decides to swallow a plum stone to sprout a plum tree, much to the disbelief of her teachers, family and friends, until the day it actually does sprout and produces sweet, juicy plums.
Cowley, Joy Agapanthus Hum and the eyeglasses
Agapanthus struggles to do handstands and other acrobatic tricks while wearing her glasses.
Cowley, Joy The rusty, trusty tractor
Mr Hill the tractor seller, wagers Micah's grandfather jelly dough-nuts that his old tractor won't be able to sow, plough and bale the hay. But the trusty tractor wins through.
Dodd, Lynley Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack
It's time Hairy Maclary thought seriously about retiring. Having said that, this title in the seemingly never-ending series is an improvement on some previous ones.
Elliot, David Sydney and the sea monster
Sydney the penguin, an inventor, lives at a safe beach. Then a monstrous shadow drifts out of the mist, bristling with harpoons. With his friend Bill the whale, Sydney devises a way to frighten away the intruders. Fanciful but appealing.
Hessell, Jenny Grandma McGarvey goes to school
Another character who should seriously consider retirement.
Mataira, Katerina Te Heikoko Rangi and his dinosaurs
Less subtle than the Māori original, the garish artwork should nonetheless appeal to dinosaur devotees.
Turner, Gwenda The builder's cat
Abraham the cat loves to accompany Mr Couper to different building sites.
Watson, Joy Foster dog
When grandad's dog dies he agrees to foster a replacement on behalf of his family. A satisfying story with attractive illustrations.

Fiction for younger readers

Charlton, Ian Boxer
Set in wartime, this deceptively simple story is touchingly well written.
Cherry, Frances In the dark
Ellie and Flynne are kidnapped by their estranged father, in this tautly told thriller.
Cowley, Joy More of the wild Wests
Michael's mother is not happy about the Wests' stall at the school fair, and she makes him promise not to go near it. But the Wests always do such interesting things and Michael wants to be part of the action.
Else, Barbara Tricky situations
Ms Winsley is called upon to save a castaway elephant, help a snake charmer without a snake, cheer up a broken-hearted pirate, and befriend an incognito TV star and her pet spider in this collection of short stories.
Joseph, Vivienne The AOK project
Helping people in the community gives Cameron the idea of arranging a surprise trip for Mac on a Tiger Moth.
Kerr, Bob Mechanical Harry and the flying bicycle
Harry Newton, whizzkid inventor (and, no doubt, a distant relation of Isaac!), returns in this sequel to the award-winning Mechanical Harry.
Mahy, Margaret Down in the dump with Dinsmore
Dinsmore is a boy who likes to inhabit the local rubbish dump. One of the Aussie bites series.
Mataira, Katerina Te Heikoko Kapa haka
Kereana's father leaves for a job overseas. Knowing that he likes to see her sing and dance and in anticipation of his return, Kereana joins the school kapa haka group. While the sentiment in this story is genuine the telling is unfortunately somewhat stilted and the illustrations vary in quality.

Fiction for older readers

Beames, Margaret Storm
A title in the Extreme series. Erin gets stuck with boring chores on the farm but when a storm strikes and her dad goes missing, she has to take charge and find him.
Linked to the text of a traditional rhyme, Bishop's illustrations in this groundbreaking book offer a challenging interpretation of the colonisation of New Zealand, with the eponymous Jack representing the new settler, his red door the European settlement.
Brassi, G Attacked
Livvie's father has died in tragic circumstances and she has gone to stay with her godparents Jack and Emeline, and their dog Serge. On a fishing trip, which Emeline has been against, first Serge and then Jack are savaged by a shark leaving Livvie to cope, not only with the injured, but with the boat and an impending storm. Another title in the Extreme series.
Edwards, Denis Rebound
Jimmy lives for shooting basketball hoops but when his team mates leave town there's no-one left to play with and the only other choice is athletics. But Jimmy's got another idea - indoor netball. A title in the Sport max series.
Ford, Vince 2much4U
Winner of the 1998 Tom Fitzgibbon Award for a best first novel. Davin destroys his mum's car and decides to go into business for himself over the summer holidays to pay for it.
Hager, Mandy Run for the trees
Conservation thriller. Thirteen-year-old dyslexic Ben Costas gets tangled up in a campaign to expose political corruption and save native forests from exploitation.
Hill, David Boots 'n' all
Collingdale's first-ever hockey team, the Pink Devils, have a slim chance of winning the championships. A title in the Sport max series.
Hill, David Just looking thanks
Joel hides out in the mall after his father announces that he and his girlfriend are getting married. The mall turns out to be a more dangerous place than Joel expects. Hill's characteristically sure, light touch helps the reader suspend disbelief in a somewhat unlikely series of events. Tyler, who has Downs Syndrome, is one of the story's strongest characters.
Huber, Penelope Three's a crowd
Anna is best friends with Polly Grant. She's fun, loyal, a bit crazy and she thinks Anna's the best too. When Anna joins Polly's family on holiday she discovers Polly has another best friend, one who doesn't want Anna around.
Hunter, Eirlys The quake
"Above the roar there was a wrenching tearing noise. Earthquake! This is an earthquake. In an instant, Hannah's world is in chaos. Mum's out, Dad's away. The house is in complete blackness. Little Ollie is screaming, and where is Alex? It looks like their survival depends on her." A title in the Extreme series.
In Squidgy Moot, Formby has dreamt up the perfect villain for the book he plans to write. But Squidgy immediately appears as large as life, with his own ideas for the story.

Young Adults

Beaglehole, Helen Hanging on letting go
Beale, Fleur Playing to win
"I wanted to explore the different situations and relationships teenagers have to deal with. I also wanted to write about the excitement and passion that sport generates." (Fleur Beale)
A compelling, if somewhat gothic, novel with murder at its heart. Lester, a dirty, white-toothed tramp, motorcycles into the small town of Langton where he sets up his tent in the park.
Catran, Ken Black sister
Set during the Trojan War.
"Max Jackson tells the story of his friendship with Andy Westerby. In one tumultuous year a volatile cocktail changes that friendship forever."
Set in Auckland during the 1990s, Tiggie (short for Antigone) Tompson is a teenage girl struggling to come to terms with herself. All she wants to do is to lead a quiet life. However, things don't turn out quite as she expects.
Gee, Maurice Hostel girl
Ailsa is 14 and lives in the Woburn Hostel where her widowed mother is matron. She shares a room with Gloria, who is being stalked by a man who sends strange letters and appears late at night on a bicycle.
Hill, David Time out
Kit has an accident while out running and finds himself in what appears to be a parallel universe.
Jones, Terry The left-handed gun
Jess's life is perfect until the day she finds out that her father is dying. After the funeral they move to a new city where Jess has to cope with loneliness, bullying and grief.
Jones, Terry The rumbler
Science fiction story. Santiago is alone on an alien world, his only companion, a malfunctioning killer robot pledged to destroy him. Then the Howlers appear.
Suspicious of 16-year-old Marnie, a newcomer to their village, the residents accuse her of witchcraft when she discovers that the village madman is not crazy but deaf and she begins to communicate with him through hand gestures.
Interviews complemented by photographs by Myra Hauschild.
Roxborogh, Tania Kelly Compulsion
Simon is looking for something to ease his emotional burdens alcohol keeps his mind in a happy haze until the bubble finally bursts.
William Taylor has captured with integrity the intense sorrows and joys of being different, and accepting one's identity, in a world that values sameness and stereotypes.
After her mother leaves, Zoe is packed off to an exclusive boarding school where she meets Tom and falls in love for the first time. By no means a simple romance, this book examines the many complicated and contradictory aspects of love.

Information books, including poetry and folktales

Anderson, Colin How to catch fish
Introduces beginning fishers to equipment, bait, lures and knots, and explains where and when to fish.
Bacon, Ron The naming of the land
Explores the origin of place-names in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Boon, Kevin The colonies
One title in the Developments in New Zealand history series.
Nic Bishop's first-class high-speed photography combined with Cowley's concise text produces a winning information book.
This companion title to Andrew Crowe's The life-size guide to native trees offers a fascinating compendium of well-organised facts about invertebrates.
Doak, Wade I am a fish
Fourteen fish commonly found in New Zealand waters.
Flaws, Fane. The underwater melon man
Poems with accompanying CD.
Glensor, Patricia Meet the Tribe
On the set with the cast of The Tribe. One in the School journal story library series.
Hill, David Be all right
A play about teenage pregnancy.
McMillan, Dawn Stranded!
Looks at some of the ways of helping stranded whales.
100 New Zealand poems for children edited by Jo Noble
An anthology of poetry containing poems by Dennis Glover, Laura Ranger, Margaret Mahy, Alan Bagnall, and more.
Pugsley, Chris The Anzacs at Gallipoli
Saxton, Frank Wild goat hunt
Blair and his dad are going to hunt the wild goats that are eating young pine trees. The first thing Blair must learn is how to use a gun safely and to shoot accurately. This book follows Blair on his weekend goat hunt and includes information on wild goats and gun safety.
A stunning book.