Book Review: Picture books

By Graham Hepburn

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'The Creepy Book of Creepy Crawlies' by Peter Bromhead. Photo / Supplied
'The Creepy Book of Creepy Crawlies' by Peter Bromhead. Photo / Supplied

The Giant Of Lake Wakatipu
by Peter Gossage

(Puffin $19.99)

My kids love Gossage's books and there's always excitement when one turns up in the house. His simple but boldly coloured illustrations are always eye-catching, particularly because they often employ striking geometric patterns. His takes on Maori myths seem to strike a chord because they are quite often battles between good vs evil or relate to the formation of the country we live in. The latter is the case here, as we learn how Lake Wakatipu was formed.

The Creepy Book Of Creepy Crawlies
by Peter Bromhead

(Graphenzo $29.90)

In his fourth children's book, renowned cartoonist and illustrator Bromhead soothes away little ones' fears about things that go bump in the night. Using his trademark illustrative style, he explores all sorts of explanations for those strange night-time noises and comes up with mischievous and strange-looking creatures as the culprits. Kids who are afraid of the dark will love the flights of fancy Bromhead indulges in and the gentle, reassuring nature of this charming book.

On The Farm: Our Holiday With Uncle Kev
by Roland Harvey

(Allen & Unwin $29.99)

Harvey's Aussie larrikin humour is reminiscent of that displayed in the movie The Castle, in which everyday life and quirky characters are celebrated. In his long-running holiday series, which follows your typical Aussie family on various vacations, Harvey has proved himself a master of affectionate, knockabout humour that sits neatly with his distinctive and intricately detailed illustrations. In this fantastic hardback, the family visit Uncle Kev's farm, where every day is packed with laughter and adventure.

The Fair Dinkum War
by David Cox

(Allen & Unwin $29.99)

As the title will tell you, this is another hardback out of Australia and it shares some of the warm humour of the aforementioned book. Cox, like Harvey, took up drawing and writing at an early age, and in this book he looks back at his childhood when World War II came to town as the Japanese threatened Australia. While danger was imminent, this is a fond and moving reminiscence. At times the prose is quite spare but resonates all the more for it.

Anton and the Battle
by Ole Konnecke

(Gecko $19.99)

Anton's nemesis, Luke, the doubting Thomas in previous book Anton Can Do Magic, is back and this time he is standing his ground as the two indulge in a battle of one-upmanship as they try to prove who is stronger, louder, faster, etc. While the little boys' bravado is amusing, it does draw parallels with the stupidity of nations indulging in an arms race. Konnecke's words and illustrations capture perfectly that stubborn, competitive streak that can get in the way of friendships.

- NZ Herald

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