Kids’ Choice

Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson

In which Hetty is abandoned as a baby, brought up in a foster family, sneaks off to visit the circus, dreams her real mother is the beautiful lady with the performing horses and has to face the drab reality of life in a foundling hospital; the hideous uniform, the terrible food, the being locked in an attic. Fans will enjoy.

 

Don’t Pat the Wombat by Elizabeth Honey

In which a group of year 6 boys head off to have the time of their lives at camp, only to have the school’s cruellest teacher come with them. But even “The Bomb” can’t stop the practical jokes, and other hilarious misadventures in this true blue aussie tale.

 

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

In which Joe, Beth, and Frannie introduce their cousin Rick to their many magical  friends who live in the enormous tree, they have plenty of adventures together and eat lots of delicious food.

 

 

The Complete Peanuts by Charles Shultz

In which you get to hang out with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Schroeder, Lucy & Linus and the rest of the gang for 313 pages. Don’t be put off by that number of pages, seriously,  you can read that many comic strips!

Captain Underpants and the invasion of the incredibly naughty cafeteria ladies from outer space (and the subsequent assault of the equally evil lunchroom zombie nerds) : the third epic novel by by Dav Pilkey
In which Harold, George, and Captain Underpants use Wedgie Power to save the universe from the evil aliens, disguised as dinner ladies. Actually I got all that from our catalogue, because this is a book that no grown up would ever read. Which is maybe why you should?:-)

Harriet the Spy and more by Louise Fitzhugh

Last Friday, the library hosted a Secret Spy Spectacular. My favourite spy (by far) is Harriet the Spy, aka Harriet M. Welsch.  Harriet is a busy body who lives with her far-too-busy parents and her never-too-busy nanny. When I say “busy body”, I mean “snoop”. Harriet likes nothing more than an afternoon spent spying on the people in her neighbourhood then heading home with a notebook full of observations for a tomato sandwich.  I think books are better when the people aren’t perfect. None of the people in Louise Fitzhugh’s books are perfect: not the kids, not the teachers, not the neighbours and definitely not the parents: this is what makes her books so appealing.

Harriet the Spy is the story of a lonely girl who desperately wants to reveal something – something disturbing or astonishing or radical, just something – to break the façade of her boring and controlled life. Like lots of the more remarkable and angry characters in books, Harriet does not abide by phoneys and she is (unfortunately) not afraid to hurt feelings (including her own) if it means her life becomes more interesting, raw and real.

Lots of people have read Harriet the Spy and loved it, but not so many know about the two follow up books. Harriet returns in The Long Secret, which is a wonderful summer holiday story. The long Secret begins with a nasty (but sort-of funny) secret note and Harriet’s burning desire to find out who sent it. She enlists her mousy friend Beth Allen to reluctantly help her, and they have lots of odd  encounters along the way. I like the peculiar characters – like the family who are trying to get rich making toe medicine (EW), and Bunny (COOL NAME) the pyjama-wearing piano player. The Long Secret is two books in one really: on one hand it is a riveting mystery that involves a funny holiday township, but on the other hand it is a story about feeling left out and friendship and growing up and stuff. (That leaves no hands to hold biscuits, but it’s a summer book so maybe you could just slurp a milkshake instead?).

Harriet only plays a guest role in the third book which is set back in New York. Sport  focuses on Harriet’s friend Simon who is nicknamed Sport, and lives with his really nice but really hopeless Dad. There is not so much mystery in this one, but a lot of action. Poor Sport is really put through the wringer as his evil mother (no, not evil stepmother – just plain old evil mother) tries to gain custody of him so she can get her greedy mitts on his inheritance. This book is intense! Heaps of yelling and cussing and hiding and running and worrying and laughing. (Lots of laughing from me actually, especially when Sport and his friends get their own back against rich ladies and cops -ha-ha).

I would strongly recommend these books to anyone who is sick of children’s stories that are all sweet and fluffy and nice.  Louise Fitzhugh died at a young age and it’s a real shame because she is one of the few authors that seems to “get” kids. She doesn’t write about kids the way adults like to see kids: boring, stupid and polite – she writes about kids the way kids are: interesting, thoughtful and really cool.

The twelfth most requested book

image courtesy of syndetics

So remember the most wanted from last month? One book that only just missed out on the top 10 spot was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

So what? Well the 12th most popular book last month was written 140 years ago!

We have lots of editions. Some are condensed versions like this ( they don’t have as many words; it’s how how I first read it). Some have added goodness in the form of historical notes like this one. Some you can listen to like this.

Your mum almost certainly read it, your grandmother probably read it, your grandmother’s grandmother could very well have read it. Why don’t you read it too.

Here Kitty Kitty

What do cats do when we aren’t around?  Where do they prowl on those long summer days and moonlit nights? Some cats recline on the mat in that patch of sun, some sit by the food bowl patiently waiting for bis-cats, some shred your new curtains and some survey the world from the garden wall. Other cats though, according to Erin Hunter anyway, prowl in clans hunting, fighting and defending their territory against all odds.

 

 

Erin Hunter is actually a group of three writers who write the Warriors series using the pseudonym Erin Hunter. I have just read the first book of the Warriors series called Into the Wild. This book follows the story of Rusty – a pet cat or “kitty-pet”, and his transition into a member of the Thunder Clan. Lots of kids really like these books, Mehrbano from Tawa has even written reviews on this blog. I think the clan crests are cool and there are interesting descriptions of human life seen through wildcat eyes. The books in the first Warriors series are:

Into the Wild

Fire and Ice

Forest of Secrets

Rising Storm

A Dangerous Path

The Darkest Hour

 

 

Another fantasy book about cats is Catwings by Ursula K. Le Guin. If I could purr I would purr each time I think about this book. It is a short tale about four sibling cats that are mysteriously born with wings. The story is beautifully illustrated by S. D. Schindler and as you read you can imagine yourself flying along side Harriet, James, Roger and Thelma as they try to find a safe home away from the dangers of the city. If you like cats and you have kind hands I strongly recommend you read Catwings.

Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

 

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking is one of my most favourite book characters because she is awesome. She is called Pippi for short, and Pippi is awesome for many reasons. I will tell you some of them now.

 

One reason Pippi Longstocking is awesome is that she lives life by her own rules. Pippi is nine years old and lives alone at Villa Villekulla, a house on the outskirts of a small town. Well, actually, she doesn’t live alone, she lives with her monkey Mr. Nilsson and her horse Old Man. She doesn’t live with her parents though, so Pippi runs the show. This means no one to tell her to go to school, no one to tell her how to dress and no one to tell her when to go to bed! How would you like that?

 

Pippi likes it a lot and she spends her days having picnics in the woods, going treasure hunting and convincing her friends next door to try new and exciting things. That’s another reason Pippi is awesome, she loves life and can make fun for herself, her friends and anyone else just trying to mind their own beeswax.

 

A nine year old living alone and causing ruckus doesn’t go unnoticed even in make believe book world. Pippi faces lots of challenges. You can read about the time some policemen come to her house – it’s a bizarre little tale that ends with Pippi holding a kicking and complaining police officer over her head (that’s how strong she is!). She is always up for the challenge, Pippi, and extremely brave – another reason she is awesome.

 

Sometimes Pippi is just silly and rude, and maybe you wouldn’t want her around all the time, I think she could be quite annoying if you were trying to sit quietly and read a book with your cat and a biscuit. Also, I wouldn’t advise you do some of the things Pippi does. Please, never eat a mushroom you find in the bush (it could be deadly!). Sometimes though, Pippi is lovely and fun, and when you read books about her she makes you feel fun too. That is the most awesome thing about Pippi.

 

You can read about Pippi in Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes Aboard and Pippi in the South Seas.

 

 

 

 

 Astrid Lindgren told the Pippi stories to her daughter Karin when she was sick. She also wrote lots of other books. The library has heaps, so check them out and tell me what you think.

Dressed up for a school book fair.

Lucy Longstocking age 8 dressed up for a school book fair.

Patricia MacLachlan

One of my most favourite books has to be Sarah, plain and tall by Patricia MacLachlan. I just read another one by her recently called Edward’s eyes . I like her books because she has often put alot of thought into the story – they are often sad stories that resolve in a very special way. They make you think about families and the people who are special in your life…..Here’s some other books by her….Read one and let me know if you like it!

 

 

       

Swiss Family Robinson

Pirates, shipwrecks, hungry tigers, houses built in trees, girls masquerading as boys, adventure and more await you in this classic movie. (You could also read the book.)

 

I began watching this classic movie again last night and when two of my (now grown up) children came into the room I would pause it on some obscure scene and see if they could guess what movie it was. Both of them could remember it, although it is many years since they had watched and watched and watched it (most school holidays I think) and they not only guessed the movie but would describe the next scene or two to me! The library at present only has copies in the adult dvd section but if you can talk your parents into borrowing it I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as we did and still do.

Green Eggs and Ham

I bet you have a Dr. Seuss book at home. Perhaps Green Eggs and Ham or The Cat in the Hat. Did you know that Dr Seuss’s real name was Theodor Geisel? Seuss was actually his mother’s maiden name. He also wrote under the name of Theo LeSieg which is Geisel spelt backwards. Dr. Seuss published his first book “And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street” in 1937 but only after he had previously presented it to 43 different publishers who all rejected it. He finally managed to get a friend to publish it. Dr Seuss went on to publish 48 books which have been translated into 20 different languages, making him one of the best selling authors of all time. Check out all the great Dr Seuss titles here at the library. See you next time. DJ