Monday, September 30, 2013

Margaret Mahy - Donovan Bixley

Follow the chaotic antics of the dashing dog and his family in a mad, dizzy and joyful walk along the beach. Margaret Mahy's beloved children's story has been beautifully reillustrated by the talented Donovan Bixley who also illustrated The Wheels on the Bus, The Looky Book, Old MacDonald's Farm and many more.
Another from the cannon of one of New Zealand's most beloved writers.  The rhymes are clever and tricky.  This is a story to read out loud and is a challenge both to parents and older readers and I like that.  It's a bit of a tongue teaser - also cool.  Essentially, another winner.  Not quite the legend that is "Down the Back of the Char", but almost there.  Interestingly, there's an underlying theme to parents to get their priorities straight.  The story goes that the dog is professionally groomed and paraded in public. Dogs being what they are, he chases a cat and becomes eternally de-shelved.  But, whilst the pride and joy is distracting the parent s and family little bubs walks off the pier into the sea.  The Dog, seeing the errors of it's ways becomes the saving hero! MMM!

Plus it comes with a CD reading, in case tongue's are permanently tied. .   

Margaret Mahy (1936–2012 ) is the most acclaimed of New Zealand’s children’s writers. The author of more than 120 titles, and translated into 15 languages, Margaret has readers across the globe. She worked as a librarian for more than 10 years before becoming a full-time writer. Mahy’s books ring with humour, fantasy, adventure, science and the supernatural, but always engage with the ordinary world. Awarded the Order of New Zealand in 1993, she also won many of the world’s major prizes for children’s writers, including the Carnegie Medal and the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Read more here:,%20Margaret

The Weather Machine - Donovan Bixley

Once upon a time, in a world not so different to ours, a little blue man decides to create a machine to control the weather. It all goes terribly wrong. The illustrations capture the hopefulness and naivety of human industry in this wordless book".

I love this book.  Like Sean Tan's work, it is simple and the narrative is universal, but still quirky enough to appeal.  My 4 year old took one look at the name Donovan and shouted "It's the Looky Book" writer/drawer guy!"  Indeed it was, err is.  Donovan Bixley is a superb author and illustrator.  I love his uniquely Kiwi take and the expansive imagination he boils down to these very accessible pictures.  But, like the aforementioned "Looky Book" there are layers.  Kate (the four year old) immediately started re-analysing the pictures.  She 'read' her way through the unscripted pages telling the story as she viewed each pic, but also investigated each cranny of each panel, discovering hidden or well placed ideas, and minutia within each picture.  For that, alone this is a winner.  At the highest level it's a story not unlike Seuss's Grinch or any other post apocalyptic/climate change tale of the 50's (or 80's if you remember "Where the Wind Blows").  But still this is a tale of discovery and delight.  And the ecological message at the end is simple and worthy.  Good on you, Bixley.  We love it!