Cosy Winter Reads

It’s that time of year again when all you might want to do is to curl up into a ball in a comfy chair with a good book. Here are some great winter reads to warm your heart and explore new worlds under the comfort of your blanket.

 

Picture books:

Cold paws, warm heart, by Madeleine Floyd – A young girl forms a friendship with a lonely polar bear in this sweet story set in the North Pole.

 

 

 

 

Over and under the snow, by Kate Messner – Both educational and enchanting, this book gives you a sneak peek into a “secret kingdom under the snow” where animals big and small keep warm through the season, just out of sight from people walking by.

 

 

 

 

Chapter books:

Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends in Winter, by Megan McDonald – From the author of the Judy Moody series comes a clever tale about a pair of insects with different personalities who aren’t quite ready to part ways when it’s time to hibernate.

 

 

 

Winter magic – an enchanting collection of stories from award-winning authors, edited by Abi Elphinstone – An anthology of tales featuring memorable characters from snow queens to boarding school adventurers, this book packs a flurry of mischief and excitement.

 

 

 

The winter of the robots, by Kurtis Scaletta – “Seven feet of snow, four science-fair nerds, one creepy junkyard. Get ready for the ultimate robot battle.” (Publisher’s description)

 

 

 

 

The Blizzard on Blue Mountain, by Kristiana Gregory and Patrick Fancy (Cabin Creek Mysteries) – “In Cabin Creek, winter means sledding, ice skating, snow boarding – and a broken ski lift? A blizzard has blown into town and tourists are filling up the lodge to hit the slopes, which means there are all the more suspects in in the cousins’ latest case.” (Publisher’s description)

 

 

Moominland Midwinter, by Tove Jansson – Moomins are known for sleeping through the winter, but Moomintroll has woken up early! His curiosity is sparked and he sets out to discover what really goes on during this unusual season.

Great children’s movies based on Roald Dahl’s books.

The wintery-est of school holidays have started. Are you still stumped on what DVDs to watch during the coldest and blistery of days? With the release of The BFG, based on the lovable story by Roald Dahl, why not go down to your local library and check out some other movies, based on his novels:

image courtesy of amazon.comFantastic Mr Fox.

An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers’ retaliation.

Trivia: Roald Dahl allegedly fashioned Mr Fox after himself.

 

 

image courtesy of amazon.comJames and the Giant Peach.

An orphan with terrible aunts for guardians, befriends human like bugs who live inside a giant peach, who take the boy on a journey to New York City.

Trivia: The lyrics for the song “Eating the Peach” were written by Roald Dahl.

 

image courtesy of amazon.com

Matilda.

Story of a wonderful little girl, who happens to be a genius, and her wonderful teacher vs. the worst parents ever and the worst school principal imaginable.

Trivia: The picture of Miss Honey’s father, Magnus, is actually a portrait of Roald Dahl, the author of the book “Matilda,” upon which the film is based.

 

image courtesy of amazon.comDOUBLE TAKE ALERT!

Believe it or not, there are two versions of the same movie adapted from Roald Dahl’s novels. Which version tickles your fancy? Original vs. Remake? You decide!

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) vs. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (2005)

Both DVDs are the same story, but made different years, which is about a young boy wins a tour through the most magnificent chocolate factory in the world, led by the world’s most unusual candy maker. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is an afternoon-delight film that the whole family can enjoy and is indeed a classic, that follows the story roughly to a tee. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is also a brighter and more colourful film, though it still manages to show the darker side of the story.

Trivia: Roald was reportedly so angry with the treatment of his book (mainly stemming from the massive rewrite by David Seltzer) that he refused permission for the book’s sequel, “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”, to be filmed.

 

 

image courtesy of amazon.comThe BFG (Animated DVD) vs. The BFG (2016 film.)

*** Please be aware that the 2016 film version of The BFG is not yet available at Wellington City Libraries. The DVD release date is yet to be confirmed ***

A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kind-hearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children.

bfg 2016Trivia: Roald Dahl has a granddaughter named Sophie,  who is an English author and former fashion model.

Trivia: Roald Dahl dedicated The BFG to his late daughter, Olivia, who died of measles at age seven in 1962.

 

 

 

image courtesy of amazon.comExtra recommendation: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay to this fantastic movie, based on the novel, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, by Ian Fleming, the same guy, (believe it or not), who wrote the James Bond series! The movie is about a down-on-his-luck inventor, (played by Dick Van Dyke, who also played Bert in Mary Poppins), turns a broken-down car into a fancy vehicle for his children, and then they go off on a magical fantasy adventure to save their grandfather in a far-off land.

Trivia: Roald Dahl also wrote the screenplay to the James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice.

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 family DVDs to watch during winter

The holidays are over but winter is well on it’s way. So come on down to your local library for DVDs to watch while you hibernate.

Check out the following five DVD recommendations, many that I watched (on video tape) during my childhood, and are still family favourites today:

 

lochness1) Loch Ness.

Is the Loch Ness monster real? A scientist (Ted Danson) sets out to Scotland to try and prove it’s existence. However nothing can prepare him for the magical journey ahead of him. Overall, it’s a beautiful, heart-warming film without losing sight of its main theme, not to mention a brief cameo from “Nessie” which  is heart-warmingly portrayed, thanks to the  creature effects by the Jim Henson Creature Shop.

 

goonies_2) The Goonies.

The Goonies plunges a band of small heroes into a swashbuckling adventure beyond their wildest dreams.  A true family classic that pays homage to the 1980s aka your parents’ generation.

 

 

 

HEIDI3) Heidi.

After charming her reclusive grandfather and falling in love with the beautiful mountain he calls home, Heidi is uprooted and sent to Frankfurt where she befriends Klara, a young girl confined to a wheelchair. Interesting fact: The actress, Patricia Neal, who plays Peter’s Grandmother was married to Roald Dahl.

 

 

image courtesy of amazon.com4) The Adventures of Milo and Otis.

What happens when you put together a curious cat and a pug nosed pup? Why The Adventures of Milo and Otis of course. Watch this movie and join Milo (an orange tabby cat) and Otis (a pug) on an epic adventure when they leave the farm for the first time and venture out into the big, bad world, while getting separated, then reuniting and making some new friends along the way. A must see film for all the animal lovers out there.

 

image courteesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com5) The NeverEnding Story and The NeverEnding Story II.

A lonely boy, Bastian finds solace in magical book that tells a story of a young warrior whose task is to stop a dark storm called the Nothing from engulfing a fantasy world called Fantasia. But Bastian is yet realise his importance in role of destroying the nothing and ensuring the  survival of Fantasia and all its  inhabitants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do when it’s wet outside

It is cold. It is wet. And in some places it’s been flooding. You guys can’t just go outside on an adventure in this kind of weather. Although some of you Wellington kids have had adventures indoors using boats to sail through your school corridors. We don’t think you’ll be able to be an indoor pirate all winter long so here are some suggestions for cool as activities you can get up to at home and series you can read from our collection!

 

101 Dog Tricks: Kids Edition  by Kyra Sundance is a super cool book that has activities you can do with your pet dog! It keeps them out of the kennel and stops you from getting bored. Who knows you could become the next dog whisperer through teaching your pup these cool as tricks. One of my favourites is called Messenger Dog – where you can actually teach your dog to take little notes from you and pass them on to your friends. It’s a brand new book you can find in many of our libraries and on Overdrive our e-library! You could download the book today!

 

 

D.I.Y Kids by Ellen and Julia Lupton  is full of cool crafts you can do. When I was bored on a wet day my favourite thing to do was to make soft toys with my grandma and this book has a whole section devoted to making your own toys, cuddly looking bunnies, kites and dolls. It even has instructions for how you can make clothing for your teddy bears or yourself! Check out this book when you’re feeling crafty.

 

 

Mad about Cartoons by Judith Heneghan. I know after our Comics Holiday Programme last year that there are a lot of Wellington City Libraries kids who are super talented cartoonists! Mad about Cartoons gives you some good ideas of how to make your own comic strips. And it also teaches you how to create digital animations. You could make your own little animated series just like The Simpsons if you wanted to over those wet weekends?

 

 

Molly Moon by Georgia Byng: If you want to curl up with an amazing series of books I reckon you’ll love Molly Moon! We have all six in the series in our library and also on Bolinda Digital  for download to your kobo or e-reader. Here’s the synopsis of the first in the series to give you an idea what’s in store for you: “Molly Moon is treated like dirt in her squat English orphanage, with only her pal Rocky, starry Qube soda ads, and the library stacks to give her comfort. After she discovers Hypnotism: An Ancient Art Explained in her favorite library spot, Molly begins learning the ropes and takes mental control of Petula, the orphanage’s grumpy pug dog, and the nasty staff members. But when Molly finds out that Rocky’s been suddenly adopted in New York, she hypnotizes her way to the city, into Broadway stardom, and — unfortunately — into a wicked professor’s plot to rob a high-security bank. Thankfully, though, she and Rocky finally meet up, and with a few surprises, the two hatch a plan to set things right for themselves and for their orphanage.” Goodreads.

 

 

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy is another amazing, actually perfect, series of books for the wet weather. I read them all, last year, over winter and it totally made being inside okay because I was so into finding out what Stephanie and her wacky skeleton detective friend would get up to next. We have all 9 in the series available in our collection – we also have them on audiobook so you can listen while you’re doing cool craft activities if you want! They’re also available for download on Overdrive to your e-reader or Kobo. You can get the first 3 books in one go!  Trust me you’re going to want to have all three out at once, you’ll be so hooked. Here’s the synopsis from the first book to give you an idea of what it’s all about: “Meet Skulduggery Pleasant. Ace Detective. Snappy Dresser. Razor–tongued Wit. Crackerjack Sorcerer and walking, talking, fire-throwing skeleton – as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old. These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil. The end of the world? Over his dead body.” Goodreads

Latest New Kids Fiction

Image courtesy of SyndeticsNest by Esther Ehrlich

On Cape Cod in 1972, eleven-year-old Naomi, known as Chirp for her love of birds, gets help from neighbor Joey as she struggles to cope with her mother’s multiple sclerosis and its effect on her father and sister.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of SyndeticsA Wonderlandiful Life by Shannon Hale.

“When a mysterious being from Wonderland begins to infect Ever After High with a strange magic, everything goes topsy-turvy. Lizzie Hearts, Wonderland’s future queen; Cedar Wood, daughter of Pinocchio; and Madeline Hatter, heir to the Mad Hatter’s Haberdashery & Tea Shoppe, seem to be the only ones who haven’t completely lost their heads. It’s up to them to save their best friends forever after from a curse that threatens to give their school–and their lives–a very unhappy ending”– Provided by publisher.

 

 

image courtesy of SyndeticsThe Girl who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll

Louie, was abandoned at Chipchase’s Travelling Circus as a baby and dreams of becoming a ‘Showstopper’. She secretly practises the tightrope and dreams of being the Girl Who Walked on Air. Mr Chipchase reluctantly lets Louie perform. She is a sensation, and gets an offer from the sinister, opposition, Mr Wellbeloved to perform… over Niagara Falls. But nothing is quite as it seems and soon Louie’s bravery is tested not just on the highwire but in confronting her past and the shady characters in the world of the circus.

 

 

 

Image courtesy of SyndeticsAngels in training  by Karen Mccombie

Riley’s life has changed a lot since she discovered the Angelos sister’s secret. You see her new neighbours are a little bit …magical. They know things that no-one else does and that’s why she thinks they can help her find out about mum. But just as she’s about to get some answers, mysterious events start happening at school. As things get stranger and stranger, Riley begins to suspect that they’re the only ones who can work out what or who is behind them.

 

 

 

The Winter WolfImage courtesy of Syndetics by Holly Webb

Amelia is exploring the huge, old house, where her family are spending Christmas when she finds a diary hidden in the attic. It was written by a boy struggling to look after an abandoned wolf pup. Before she knows it, Amelia is transported into the wintry world of the diary…

 

Movie Review: Frozen – a great movie to watch during winter

Frozen won two Academy Awards this year for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Let It Go“) Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Snow Queen. Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter. Overall a fantastic film! Absolutely loved it! This is a very entertaining girls movie and a celebration of the Scandinavian culture that is sure to thaw a frozen heart. I haven’t enjoyed a Disney film this much since The Lion King. 

Rated: 9/10.

 

Winter Olympics

Have you been able to watch any of the Winter Olympics yet?

The athletes are so amazing – the figure skaters are so graceful – the ski jumpers can fly sky-high – the bobsleigh goes crazy fast and the ice hockey players crash a lot.

This morning I watched Julia Lipnitskaia a Russian figure skater perform. She is incredible and is only 15 years old.

You might like to check out this website for lots of information about the Winter Olympics or take a look here if you are looking for fun activities with a Winter Olympic theme.