Hero photograph

Kids' picks

Rachel Kean —

A selection of new and recommended books for children

Picture Books

Hello Goodbye Dog. Maria Gianferrari
Zara and her dog Moose have always spent a lot of time together so when Zara starts school Moose can't understand why she isn't allowed to join her. She tries many times and each time she causes a calamity, which makes her very unpopular with the teacher. Eventually Zara takes Moose to Therapy Dog School and there they find the perfect solution: Moose is allowed to be a therapy dog. From then on she is welcome at the school and this makes her and Zara very happy. Appealing illustrations accompany this touching story.

Tu Meke Tuatara!. Malcolm Clarke
Tahi the tuatara is feeling sad and blue and nothing Ruru suggests helps to make his mood improve: the sunlight hurts his eyes, the food offered just isn’t right and a swim in the water is not at all appealing. When Tahi hears a cry of distress he is immediately at the ready to help Pepe the penguin who is tangled in rubbish and seaweed and this act of kindness is just the thing to lift Tahi out of his malaise. This is another beautifully produced book from the creators of Tu Meke Tūī.

7 – 9 years

Hilda and the Hidden People. Stephen Davies
Hilda and her pet deer-fox are great adventurers and each day Hilda makes sketches of what she sees around her. She draws trolls and elves and even maps. Hilda really loves her life in the wilderness and feels very worried when it seems that her family will be forced to move away because of elf politics. This fast-paced action-packed story is based on the Hildafolk series of  graphic novels by Luke Pearson.

Pumpkins and Aliens. Andrew Levins
This quirky and humorous story will appeal to young readers who love a bit of adventure. Beginning with a diatribe about how much Nelson hates vegetables (especially pumpkins), the plot takes an exciting turn when the aliens Nelson made up for a story he wrote actually turn up and threaten life as he knows it. It turns out that vegetables can actually give you the superpowers needed to combat aliens. This is the first book in another promising new series.


The Quicksand Pony. Alison Lester
Biddy is intrigued by a story about a young mother from her village who mysteriously disappeared with her baby boy when she was a small child. Nine years later, while Biddy is out on her first cattle droving expedition, strange things start happening and Biddy can’t help but wonder whether the missing people have survived and are nearby. This Australian children’s classic will appeal to children of all ages and once started is difficult to put down.

A Place of Stone and Darkness. Chris Mousdale
For a story that’s set underground this sure is a good read. Ellee is a Strigg, a large bird-like creature who, along with the rest of her kind, lives in an underground world, in hiding. Striggs have lived this way since people began to ruin the earth. When Ellee discovers a young boy drowning in a well she saves him but puts the inhabitants of Striggworld in danger, for Striggs live in fear of being discovered by humans. Can Ellee save the boy and keep herself and her world safe? 

You might like to read this review by Annie, aged 11 years

Nevermoor.  Jessica Townsend
I like the book series Nevermoor, because it is funny, with a twisting plot. It is a series that will have nine books. There are three books currently out, called Nevermoor, Wundersmith and Hollowpox. My favourite book so far is the second book, Wundersmith. The main character is called Morrigan Crow. She is a wundersmith. Wundersmiths are magical beings believed to be evil. The only other living wundersmith is Ezra Squall, who changed the name of wundersmiths forever by attempting to take over Nevermoor. Wunder is a magical source of energy. Being a wundersmith and having the ability to control wunder is Morrigan’ Crow’s knack. Her patron is Jupiter North. His full title is Captain Juniper North of the Wundrous Soiety, the League of Explorers and the Federation of Nevernoorian Hoteliers. Morrigan Crow’s favourite colour is black. Morrigan Crow’s favourite kind of cake is lemon butter raspberry ripple layer cake with crumbled meringue pieces and raspberry cream filling.