Author Visit: Des Hunt at Central Library.

Attention all literary fans! Come on down to the Central Library and learn how to create amazing stories with a master storyteller! Join 2017 Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award winner Des Hunt for a writing workshop like no other. This event is part of Beyond the Page, a literary festival for children and youth on from 8-23 July, for more information, check out the website.

Where: Wellington Central Library, Young Adults area.

When: Tuesday 11th July, 1pm to 2pm.

Age Group: This workshop is aimed at ages 9-12 and spaces are limited. Make sure you register to secure a spot.

About Des Hunt: Des Hunt was a science and technology teacher for many years, interspersed with periods of curriculum development both in New Zealand and overseas. During this time he had several textbooks published to support the New Zealand curriculum. Over the last twenty years he has experimented with other ways of interesting youngsters in science, creating computer games and writing non-fiction and fiction with scientific themes.

After living in Auckland for much of his life he moved with his wife, Lynne, to Matarangi on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. He retired from the classroom in 2007 to concentrate on writing fiction for children. He continues his aims of fostering young peoples’ natural interest in the science of their surroundings by visiting schools and libraries where he runs workshops and presentations.

Five Des Hunt books have been finalists at the Children’s Book Awards. Cry of the Taniwha was awarded the 2016 Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book. Then, in 2017, Des was the recipient of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award for lifetime achievement and a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy.

Find out more about Des and his books: www.deshunt.com

While You’re at it, check out some of Des Hunt’s books that you can find at your local library.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsPhantom of Terawhiti.

“It’s the school holidays and Zac thinks he might go crazy with boredom. He’s living in exile with his disgraced father on the remote Terawhiti Station on Wellington’s wild south-west coast. Zac and his father witness a shipwreck off the coast. Investigating further, he finds a set of unusual paw prints on the beach. Whose yacht it is? And what animal could have made the paw prints? Soon Zac is drawn into a mystery which threatens his life and those around him. He must protect the secret of the Phantom of Terawhiti from those intent on hunting it – and him – down”–Publisher information.

image courtesy of syndeticsFrog Whistle Mine.

Twelve-year-old Tony has travelled all around New Zealand with his nomadic mother, and desperately wants somewhere to belong. When they arrive in Charleston, a gold-mining ghost town, he is almost afraid to hope this might finally be the place. But things aren’t as they seem, and he finds himself caught up in mysterious events.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhere cuckoos call.

Twelve-year-old Ben is a keen ornithologist who looks after endangered birds on his family farm in the Coromandel Peninsula. But Ben must grow up fast in the face of threats to his home, his family and his beloved birds.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhale Pot Bay.

Jake lives with his father in a remote part of the Wairarapa, where he can surf and watch the whales. But then Jake’s dad begins a relationship with a new partner, who moves in with her daughter Stephanie, and at the same time a local photographer starts stalking their next door neighbour Milton Summer, an international rock celebrity, and Jake’s peaceful life erupts into violence and deceit. An when a whale and her calf get into trouble on the treacherous coast, the history of Whale Pot Bay seems doomed to repeat itself unless Jake, Milton and Stephanie can survive the deadly tide.

image couresty of syndeticsCry of the taniwha.

Matt Logan isn’t looking forward to spending the school holidays in Rotorua with his grandmother and her new husband. Matt has taken his metal detector along, and when he and Juzza – the boy next door – unearth a handcuffed skeleton, a dangerous chain of events begins to coil around them.

 

NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – Non Fiction Award Finalists!

Check it out, kids! Wellington City Libraries are jam packed full of Non Fiction goodies that have been shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards – Whoohoo! So what are you waiting for, come on down to the library or place a reserve to ensure you get hold of one or all of these amazing books that will widen your knowledge of New Zealand wildlife, creatures and some good old fashioned history.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syendticsFrom Moa to Dinosaurs: Explore & discover ancient New Zealand.

Prepare to go on a journey where you will get a glimpse of the animals that lived in ancient New Zealand just before people arrived. It then goes back in time, providing snapshots of particular periods, as far back as 180 million years ago. The range of animals covered in this book include: moa and other extraordinary birds that are now extinct; crocodilians and turtles; the shark-toothed dolphin and giant penguins; dinosaurs such as sauropods and theropods; as well as those resilient survivors who can still be found in New Zealand today, such as kiwi, native bats, giant weta and tuatara. Overall I found this beautifully illustrated and a wonderful resource that will intrigue and encourage children to learn something about the origins of New Zealand.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsJack and Charlie: Boys of the bush.

“The true story of two boys who live on the wild and rugged West Coast of the South Island. Join Jack and Charlie as they go whitebaiting and fishing, panning for gold, chopping wood with their tomahawks, firing at targets with their bows and arrows, plucking ducks, camping in the bush and rafting down rivers”–Publisher information.

 

image courtesy of sydneticsThe Cuckoo and the Warbler.

This book tells the true story of one of the most remarkable wildlife relationships in New Zealand, between pipiwharauroa, the shining cuckoo, and riroriro, the grey warbler. It is a story of tragedy, trickery and faithful care – and it plays out each spring and summer in the forests of Aotearoa. Although rarely seen by humans, the interaction of these two native birds is a striking example of nature’s inventiveness. Overall a beautiful, heart warming story that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

The Genius of Bugs.

Discover a world of insects as you have never seen it before. “Inspired by the science exhibition Bug Lab, which was brought to Wellington in December 2016 by Te Papa and Weta Workshop”, The Genius of Bugs presents a cast of amazing and unexpected bugs, from the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp to the master-of-disguise orchid mantis, to the New Zealand favourite, the wētā”–Publisher information. This book is guaranteed to be a favourite.

Torty and the Soldier.

“Meet Torty! She’s one tough little tortoise with a beat-up shell and some missing toes. Torty survived a great war that raged in Europe one hundred years ago. She was rescued back then by a young Kiwi solder. Torty is a true World War One survivor. “–Publisher information. This book is in one word – AWESOME! and is a book that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

6 New Non Fiction on gaming, animals and improving your memory.

Hey kids! More hot new junior non fiction for your reading pleasure. This blog post features books where the gaming theme continues, books that can help improve your memory and heart-warming stories about inspirational animals and humans that have made their mark on the world. Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsGame on! : video game history from Pong and Pac-man to Mario, Minecraft, and more.

The gaming theme continues. This book is your one stop shop to the gaming culture and history of video games that ranges from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft and much more. “A middle-grade nonfiction book about the history and impact on pop culture of video games”– Provided by publisher.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsHow to remember (almost) everything ever.

Can you remember the names of every player on your favorite football team, yet still manage to forget what day it is? This book reveals how your memory works, explaining cool tricks and skills that can help to train your memory to remember everything–ever!

 

 

http://www.wcl.govt.nz/easyfind/?hreciid=|library/m/wellington-carl|0001220245 Big book of animals : a LEGO adventure in the real world.

Lego and animals rolled into one fun book! Go wild in the animal kingdom with a host of LEGO minifigures. Young readers will meet the coolest creatures out there and watch the minifigures put the fun into facts. You’ll find great building and play ideas as well. Ideal for lego fans.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsRadiant child : the story of young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.

image courtesy of syndeticsSwimming with sharks : the daring discoveries of Eugenie Clark.

An inspiring true story about Dr. Eugenie Clark aka the “shark lady”, who despite discrimination, became one of the most inspiring scientists in the world and whose revolutionary thinking and research changed the way society viewed marine wildlife.  Overall a fantastic read and ideal for marine biology projects and homework. Great for children aged 5 to 8.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsMoto and me : my year as a wildcat’s foster mom.

If you have a weakness for cats and baby animals – like I do, then this is the book for you! This is the story of an orphaned serval cat named Moto. Determined to nurse the kitten back to health and help him learn, grow, and return to the wild, Suzi did everything she could think of to be the best serval mom she could be. She had a little bit of help from a couple other people who had some experience with orphaned wild animals, but for the most part, it was just her and Moto out there, figuring things out based on Suzi’s experience observing animal rescues and her instincts about the animal’s needs. Overall a heart warming story with a happy and satisfying ending!

6 New Non Fiction to sink your teeth into.

It’s happening at once! The end of the school holidays, the beginning of Term Two and only a month to go before winter officially hits the Capital. Have no fear, the library has more new junior non fiction books recently added to the collection. Check out amazing books on superheroes; the weird and peculiar; books to sink your teeth into and good old fashioned entertainment to keep you amused from now until the next round of school holidays.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsThe League of Superhero Games.

All the greatest superheroes  of all time come together in one book. From free-to-play to triple-A blockbusters, everything is covered in The League of Superhero Games: LEGO Batman, Avengers Initiative, and Spider-Man: Total Mayhem are just a few of the wildly popular superhero video games featured in this in-depth guide. A must have book for all the budding gamers and superhero fanatics.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsPerfectly peculiar! : Ripley’s believe it or not!

Ripley’s Believe it or not has taken weirdness to a whole new level! Drop in to the weird, wide world of Ripley’s with this unique collection of amazing stories, jaw-dropping facts, incredible feats, and more. It’s Perfectly Peculiar!

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Book of Chocolate.

Mmmmmmm, chocolate. This book is bound to make you hungry and gorge on one of the greatest sweet treats in creation. Read this book and discover all you need to know about… YES, believe it, CHOCOLATE! From its origin as the sacred, bitter drink of Central American rulers to the familiar candy bars sold by today’s multimillion dollar businesses, people everywhere have fallen in love with chocolate, the world’s favourite flavour.

image courtesy of synedticsBear Grylls’ Survival camp : the ultimate all-terrain training manual.

It’s a wonderful world out there just waiting to be discovered, but are you ready to be an explorer? Do you know how to cope with searing heat and intense cold? Can you find food and water in the wild? Could you avoid deadly diseases and fight back against man-eating beasts? Let Bear Grylls teach you everything you need to know to venture through all of Earth’s terrain, as well as through the air, over the seas, and under the waves in Bear Grylls Survival Camp. The perfect gift for any young adventurers in training.

image courtesy of syndeticsHow this book was made.

You may think you know how this book was made, but you don’t. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How’d it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger. Overall, probably one of the most quirky and interesting books I have ever read and a highly recommended book for those wanting to pursue a career in writing, illustrating and librarianship.

image courtesy of syndeticsStar Wars: The Visual Encyclopaedia.

Yes, more Star Wars books in the library! Feast your eyes on the latest literary instalment in the Star Wars universe: Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopaedia. From lightsabers to beasts to food to clothing, this book is a virtual museum in a book. Jam packed with beautiful galleries with more than 2,500 images, and amazing facts about Star Wars culture, science and geography.

New Back to school Non Fiction reads at the library!

The holidays are at an end. With school and winter rolling around the corner, it looks like the blues are about to set in. But have no fear, here’s another selection of new junior non fiction to enhance your knowledge base and make sure you ace at all your school subjects.

Enjoy

image courtesy of synedticsThe Kids’ Money Book.

Get smart with money while you’re still young! Fun, and informative, this useful guide can help put you on the path to managing your money, from earning it to saving, spending, growing and sharing it. Also features information about the financial crisis, bitcoin, and identity theft.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsThe recorded poems of Och Aye the GNu.

He’s a handsome young calf, he’s a wildebeest, too. But in Scotland they call him young Och Aye the G’Nu… Jimmy Barnes, Aussie rock legend and grandad, has penned this delightful collection of poetry for the young grandson he affectionately calls G’Nu… Read along with Jimmy in this treasured keepsake for sweet g’nus everywhere.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsPocket Change: Pitching in for a better world.

This book explores how growing a cabbage can fight poverty, how a few dollars can help ten families start their own businesses, and how running errands for a neighbor can help you learn to become a bike mechanic. It asks the question “What if you could meet all your consumer needs while, at the same time, get to know your neighbors and protect the environment?

 

image courtesy of syndeticsAdrift at sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival.

“Tuan and his family survive bullets, a broken motor, and a leaking boat in the long days they spend at sea after fleeing Vietnam. A true story as told to the author by Tuan Ho. Includes family photographs and a historical note about the Vietnamese refugee crisis”– Provided by publisher.

 

Cimage courtesy of syndeticsastle.

A beautiful book that showcases and contains text and detailed drawings follow the planning and construction of a “typical” castle and adjoining town in thirteenth-century Wales.

6 New Non Fiction on Lego, Pokémon, heroes and some good old movie trailers thrown in for good measure.

The Easter break and school holidays are here. Time for some Wellington City Libraries kids blog entertainment!

This post is dedicated to the world of lego, Pokémon, heroes and some good old movie trailers to feed and curb your big screen entertainment.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Batman Movie: The Making of the Movie.

Calling all Lego and Batman fanatics!  Brace yourself… there’s another hot new non fiction book where the world of Lego, DC Universe and Da da da da da da da…Batman colides! The LEGO Batman Movie: The Making of the Movie tells the inside story of how Warner Bros. and the LEGO Group joined creative forces to bring Batman’s brick world to life. Also features exclusive insights from the filmmakers, animators, and LEGO designers. This book is in a word – COOL!

Also check out The Batman movie : the essential guide, where you can go behind the scenes and discover everything there is to know about The LEGO Batman Movie with this ultimate guide. Featuring the latest LEGO Batman set and minifigures. image courtesy of syndetics

Also feel free to check out the latest movie trailer to The Lego Batman Movie, man oh man, after watching it multiple times, I still think it’s hilarious, especially when the Joker experiences a case of rejection and heartbreak from Batman, hmmm do I detect of hint of would-be bromance on the Joker’s part?

image courtesy of syndeticsAwesome Lego Creations with bricks you already have.

Turn your pile of lego bricks into a day of fun!… especially when it’s a cold and miserable day. This book holds 50 new robots, dragons, race cars, planes, wild animals and other exciting projects to build imaginative worlds

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsPokémon: Classic Collector’s Handbook.

Pokémon: Classic Collector’s Handbook describes the concept of the Pokémon battle, and presents descriptions of the original 151 Pokémon available to catch in the game.

 

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsThe librarian who measured the earth.

This book describes the life and work of Eratosthenes, the Greek geographer and astronomer who accurately measured the circumference of the Earth. This story is a celebration of curiosity and a tribute to the questing mind.

 

 

imgae courtesy of syndeticsA childs introduction to Greek mythology : the stories of the gods, goddesses, heroes, monsters, and other mythical creatures.

This book presents an introduction to Greek mythology, discussing the roles of gods and goddesses, as well as the adventures of heroes and mythical beings.

 

Also check out the trailer for The Boss Baby. It is in a number words, funny, hilarious, innovative and where the lines of sibling rivalry are crossed and taken to the extreme. However instant sibling rivalry must soon be put aside when Tim, the older brother discovers that Boss Baby is actually a spy on a secret mission, and only he can help thwart a dastardly plot that involves an epic battle between puppies and babies.

7 New Non Fiction to get your hands on…before the school holidays.

Brace yourselves! Wellington City Libraries has more new non fiction in stock for your reading pleasure. It’s a good time to get hold of them now, especially with the school holidays around the corner. A mixture of fact and fun based books that will keep you amused and entertained. Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsAtlas of Everything.

Navigate the world like never before. Featuring over 50 maps of the world – one on every page – this unique atlas includes facts and figures on almost everything you’d want to know. From Nobel Prize winners and popular names, to endangered species and active volcanoes, the combination of maps and infographics makes this the perfect book for children to find out information in a quick and easy way, and remember it. Includes information on the origins of humans, ancient civilisations, the fashion industry, music around the world, film, sport, art and design, politics, the natural world, architecture, animal migration, oceans, natural disasters and space, to name just a few topics in this fact-filled book.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsMini hacks for Pokémon go players. Catching : skills, tips, and techniques for capturing monsters.

An unofficial guide for Pokémon Go players. You’re on the hunt for all 151. Some are easy, others are super hard and elusive. Mini Hacks for Pokémon GO Players: Catching focuses on strategies to help build your Pokémon collection. Includes tips and techniques on: Ball tossing—how to perfect the curve ; What type of Poké Balls you need for specific monsters ; How to most effectively use Razz Berries ; Where you are most likely to find and capture specific types ; The scoop on Lures and Incense to boost catchability and catch all of the mini hacks for Pokémon GO players!

 

image courtesy of syndeticsThe book of wildly spectacular sports science.

“Why does a knuckleball flutter? Why do belly flops hurt so much? Why would a quarterback prefer a deflated football? Here are 54 all-star experiments that demonstrate the scientific principles powering a wide variety of sports and activities–and offer insights that can help you improve your own athletic skills. How does a black belt karate chop her way through a stack of bricks? Use Popsicle sticks to understand why it’s possible and learn the role played by Newton’s second law of motion. Does LeBron James really float through the air on the way to a dunk? Use a tennis ball, a paperback book, and the help of a friend to understand the science of momentum and the real meaning of hang time. Using common household objects, each project includes step-by-step instructions, tips, and a detailed explanation of how and why the experiment worked. It’s a win-win.”–Amazon.com.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsGaming record breakers.

“Become an expert gamer with facts and records about the top consoles and games at your fingertips. Discover marathon game sessions, world-record high scores, best-selling games and the most expensive gear available in this must-have gaming guide”–Back cover.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhat is poetry? : the essential guide to reading & writing poems.

Over many years as a working poet, Michael Rosen has thought a great deal about what poems are, what they can do and the pleasure that comes from writing and reading poetry. In this invaluable handbook, he shares this knowledge and experience in book form for the very first time. Starting with a detailed analysis of a number of classic poems, he offers a real writer’s guide to writing and performing poems, as well as a wealth of technical information and tips. He then takes a fascinating look at a selection of his own poems and explains how and why he wrote them. Complete with an appendix of poets and useful websites, and beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Jill Calder, this is the only guide to poetry children and teachers will ever need.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsNatumi Takes the Lead.

A heart warming true story about a shy orphan elephant Natumi, who is rescued by a team from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an orphanage for baby elephants. At the shelter, Natumi hides behind keepers’ legs to watch the other elephants at the shelter. But soon, she meets several other orphans, and the eight of them play together in the surrounding bush. As the babies become closer and more like a real family, they need a leader, someone they can trust. Can Natumi grow into this role? Join the herd to find out what happens when they travel back into the wild. Overall a fantastic story and must read for the budding animal enthusiast.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsAll about Japan : stories, songs, crafts and more.

A cultural adventure for kids, All About Japan offers a journey to a new place–and ways to bring it to life! Dive into stories, play some games from Japan, learn some Japanese songs. Two friends, a boy from the country and a girl from the city, take us on a tour of their beloved land through their eyes. They introduce us to their homes, families, favourite places, school life, holidays and more! Beyond the fun and fascinating facts, you’ll also learn about the spirit that makes Japan one-of-a-kind. This is a multicultural children’s book for families to treasure together.

Beauty and the Beast overload in the library!

This is a blog post that pays tribute to popular fairy tale, Beauty and The Beast. Beauty and the Beast  is a traditional fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins (The Young American and Marine Tales).

The story that a young woman named Beauty, who offers herself in exchange for her father, who has been imprisoned by the Beast, after stealing a rose from the beast’s garden, which was intended for Beauty as a gift. She discovers that her captor is an enchanted prince in disguise, who must find true love, despite his ugliness, to revert back to his former self. The question is can Beauty look beyond the beast’s ugly exterior and find true beauty within his heart?

Check out other versions and retellings of this classic fairy tale that the library holds:

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the Beast, illustrated by Dan Taylor.

Beauty and the Beast is a perfect introduction to this classic fairytale. Push, pull, and turn mechanisms bring the story to life and introduce all the main characters: Beauty, her father, and of course the Beast! This well-loved fairytale is beautifully imagined for a new generation by children’s illustrator Dan Taylor.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast / retold by Michael Morpurgo ; illustrated by Loretta Schauer.

A captivating retelling of the nation’s favourite fairy tale, from the nation’s favourite storyteller, Michael Morpurgo. After encountering a fearsome beast at a mysterious palace, down-on-his-luck merchant Marco is forced to make a promise in exchange for his life: he must persuade one of his three daughters to return to the palace in his place – but she must come of her own free will. Beautiful, kind-hearted Belle agrees at once to return to the palace, and there she and the Beast exist companionably, with the Beast asking of Belle the same question at the end of each day: “Dearest Belle, will you marry me?” After a return home to consult with her father, Belle resolves to follow her heart and return to the Beast, but her plans are thwarted by the trickery of her jealous sisters. When, at last, Belle is able to find her way back to the palace, she finds her beloved Beast lying as still as death on the ground. As Belle’s tears fall on his face, the Beast is transformed into a handsome prince the ancient spell upon him broken by Belle’s tears of true love.

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the Beast / by Melissa Lagonegro ; illustrated by the Disney Storybook Art Team.

Belle is trapped in a castle, under a terrible curse. Can she break the spell?

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast / [retold by] Berlie Doherty ; illustrated by Jane Ray.

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast / Ursula Jones ; Sarah Gibb.

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast  retold by Max Eilenberg ; illustrated by Angela Barrett.

image courtesy of syndeticsBeauty and the beast by Geraldine McCaughrean ; illustrated by Gary Blythe.

 

 

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty and the Beast by Abie Longstaff & Lauren Beard.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe beast within : a tale of beauty‘s prince  by Serena Valentino.

Presents an adaptation of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale from the perspective of the cursed prince who is transformed from a beloved and jovial ruler into a reclusive and bitter monster in search of true love.

Love to watch stories? Now we have Walt Disney’s Animated classic of Beauty and the Beast available on DVD at your local library!

image courtest of amazon.comWalt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

A Walt Disney movie about a tough no nonsense heroine, named Belle (French word for Beauty), who offers herself in exchange for her father, who has been imprisoned by the Beast, and discovers that her captor is an enchanted prince in disguise. While the situation is anything than ideal, this Beauty and the Beast must learn, in a very Pride and Prejudice-like way to overcome their pride and stubbornness, in the hopes of falling in love and breaking the beast’s enchantment. This film is beautifully constructed and made! Filled with lots of quirky characters, in the form of Lumiere (a candle stick), Cogsworth (a cynical clock), Mrs Potts (a mother-hen teapot) and many musical numbers. A film that the entire family can enjoy – especially on a Saturday night!

 

image courtesy of amazon.comMovie Review: Beauty and the Beast.

Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, recognising the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.

This film is beautifully constructed and made! Overall it was an interesting revamp of the original animated 1992 classic. Filled with the same musical numbers and dance sequences, there a few twists, turns and few surprises during the film. Sorry, no spoilers in this review. The ballroom scene where Belle and the beast are dancing is fantastic. Belle’s dress and the dance moves – WOW, could possibly put the previous Disney Princess, Cinderella to shame!

All the characters had a part to play, had more depth, personality and beautifully showcased their uniqueness on screen. Even actor, Luke Evans did a very good job at playing arrogant, vain and sadistic baddie, Gaston, who foolishly hopes to win Belle’s hand, who in turn politely, but firmly rejects him! He didn’t have a bad singing voice either.

The characters:  Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts were wonderful and entertaining. I particularly loved Lumiere’s number “Be Our Guest”, beautifully sung by Ewen McGregor.

Dan Stevens is phenomenal (and perhaps a tad bad tempered) as the beast. I always cracked up over his dry sense of humour. Overall he did the character of the beast justice to its original predecessor. I found there was more depth to the characters: Belle and the beast, and perhaps more of a back story as to how their background, experiences and personalities shaped the people that they came to be. I think in a sense these two are portrayed as mirror images of each other and have great, not to mention a unique chemistry.

I think Emma Watson plays Belle as more lady-like in this film. Not as openly stubborn and strong willed as the original Belle, but more quietly assertive and determined. Not to mention she is very polite in standing up to the beast and Gaston.

As always, the story encourages viewers to look beyond the superficial and to be compassionate, curious, humble, and generous. This movie is a must see and has been worth the long wait. A film that the entire family can enjoy on a night out on the town– especially on a Saturday night! 9/10 all the way!

Also check out the trailer and some musical numbers from the film.

 

 

 

Movie Review: Footrot Flats: A Dog’s Tale.

Rattle your dags, boys and girls and feast your eyes on an oldie but a goodie Kiwi Classic and childhood favourite of mine that comes to the small screen in the form of Footrot Flats: A Dog’s Tale. Featuring the characters from the late Murray Ball’s “Footrot Flats” – New Zealands most beloved local cartoon strip.

image couresty of Amazon.com

Join Dog, Jess, Wal, Cooch, Horse, Major, Rangi, Pongo, Cheeky and “those bloody Murphys” , where Dog goes on ‘a journey of a thousand miles’, and an epic adventure. You will bear witness to his first encounter with the sexy Jess, his loyal devotion to Wal Footrot, whom he saves from a fate worse than death; his adventures with Horse, the cat with the barracuda jaw and fishhook claws; his brilliant cowardice and mighty nose, pitted against the dastardly schemes of the villainous Murphys, their hell hounds and the Croco Pigs.

This film will also keep you entertained and glued to the small screen. Not to mention it’s jam packed full of Kiwi words, sayings and slang and references to Kiwi culture! The soundtrack, by Dave Dobbyn is mind blowing filled with famous popular Kiwi classics such as Slice of Heaven and You Oughta to be in love. Overall this film is VERY FUNNY! I laughed all the way through, especially during the part where Wal is serenading Cheeky with a love ballad  aka You Oughta to be in love, (see youtube clip down below!), Dog gets ambushed by an army of rats and the battle to the death with the deadly croco-pigs!

A film that can be enjoyed by all ages and a great film to watch with the family over fish and chips on a Saturday night. 6/10 all the way!

 

Movie Review: Moana

Around the Christmas break, I went to see the movie, Moana on the big screen and it is in a word… AMAZING!

image courtesy of amazon.comA tribute to the Polynesian culture and mythology, and full of heroic exploits of the heroes and heroines that Kiwis will be familiar with, namely Maui, the demigod. The plot follows the adventure and journey of Moana , a spirited teenager, who like most Disney princesses has a lot on her plate. This involves sailing out on a daring mission to save her island, restore the heart of Te Fiti – the island goddess, fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest and save the world. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui, and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous fiery creatures against impossible odds. Once again, Disney has put together a movie of epic proportions filled with quirky and memorable characters, as well as an amazing cast, including Kiwi actors, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement and Oscar Kightley. Kids, if those names don’t ring a bell, ask your parents and a Disney Princess in the form of Moana who embodies the qualities of an adventurous, headstrong, practically fearless, and physically capable heroine. An 8/10 all the way!

Also check out these youtube clips from the movie soundtrack: “How far I’ll go” and “You’re Welcome!”

Enjoy!