JAY ON LIFE IN NAPIER
There’s an unexpectedly rewarding second-hand bookshop (called Greta’s Place),
several good eateries, a pub (The Fox) recently re-opened which has excellent draught
beer, a petrol station, a post office (open mornings only, Monday to Friday), a bank
(open one day a week), several café-groceries, too many curio shops, plenty of places
for morning coffee, and Vindigo, a rewarding emporium of local wines. Plus a
Retirement Village where I live in comfort and good company, with my health attended
to when required.
No theatre, no cinema, no Chinese take-away or KFC, no supermarket, no pharmacy
(go 13 km to Bredasdorp for the last two), but surrounded with ever-changing wide-open
countryside. Birds, winds, fynbos and renosterveld, a surprising number of wineries,
and the sea within reach. The air is clean. No parking restrictions. And hurray for email
which keeps me in touch with my friends around the world – even if it does take an hour
and a half to get to the nearest Woolies!
LONA GERICKE’S TOP THREE BOOKS OF 2016
Liewe Heksie en die Silwer Roos( H&R,2016) Gebaseer op die
oorspronklike verhale deur Verna Vels met illustrasies deur Vian Oelofsen.
Wat ‘n pragtige huldeblyk aan Verna Vels is hierdie groot formaat goudkleurige
boek nie! Liewe Heksie staan lekker groot met die Silwer Roos in ‘n pot teen
die goue agtergrond, terwyl ‘n gifappeltjie hande uitsteek na die begeerlike roos.
Die Silwer Roos is Blommeland se kosbaarste blom en moet soos goud
bewaar word, want as dit moet wegraak sal al die blomme doodgaan en koning
Rosekrans en sy kabouters en Heksie sonder ‘n blyplek wees.
Daarom kry Heksie die opdrag om die blom op te pas want die gifappeltjies wil
die Roos steel.
Sal Heksie daarin slaag, of moet Griet die getoorde perd tot haar hulp kom?
Liewe Heksie vertel mos ander hekse toor paddas en muisvlerre- vlermuise-
maar sy toor vir Griet!
Liewe Heksie is mos maar geneig om te vergeet en goedertrou op te tree!
Die mooiste mooiste boek! Vian Oelofsen laat die verhaaltjie blom en skyn en
die leser betower met vrolike geel blomme, ‘n reuse perd, en hier die mooiste
Silwer Roos ooit. Die kleure van die agtergrond op elke bladsy is slim gekies
sodat die illustrasies mooi vertoon en nog treffender is. Hoogs aanbeveel
as ‘n ware kunswerk en defnitief vir elke skool, huis en biblioteek
Jacobs, Jaco: Moenie hierdie boek eet nie! ‘n rympie vir elke dag van
die jaar (LAPA, 2016)Illustrasies deur Zinelda McDonald.
Jacobs is al bekend vir sy rympieboeke vir kleintjies. In hardeband verskyn
hierdie prag uitgawe – 312 bladsye met rympies vir elke maand van die jaar. In
Januarie rym hy oor nuwejaarsvoornemens, die eerste skooldag en selfs
Gorgonzola:”Dit ruik erger as erg, dit ruik vrotter as vrot, dit ruik byna soos iets
wat woon in ‘n grot”…Februarie bring ‘n rympie oor ‘n spook in die skool se
toilet; Maart vertel van as die maan ‘n pizza was en teen Desember vertel hy
dat sy pa rowwer is as jou pa:” My pa springtou met ‘n ratelslang, My pa kan
‘n leeu met sy kaal hande vang….hy is bang vir net mooi niks..behalwe my
McDonald se illustrasies is modern, verbeeldingryk, vol humor en maak ‘n groot
bydrae tot die algehele gevoel van ‘n puik produksie. Haaar werk kan vergelyk
met van die beste internasionale bundels wat ek al beoordeel het.
Wasserman, Elizabeth: Elf dae in Parys( Tafelberg, 2016)
Vir 11-14jariges wat ‘n storie met meer lyf soek, sal hierdie elf dae in Parys
genoeg bevrediging gee.
Nie net doen die skrywer moeite om baie inligting oor Parys –die kunsmuseums
en ander besienswaardighede by te voeg nie,maar ook skets sy hier ‘n onverwagte
avontuur wat Emma en haar vriende lekker onkant vang.
Haar ouma Hebsodemma moedig haar aan om die elf dae in die wintervakansie
die skooltoer mee te maak.
Juffrou Lategan die Franse juffrou is hul chaperone. Die twee meisies wat sy
ken is Tombisa-die eksotiese Afrika prinses, en Clarissa, die klas se flerrie.
Haar ouma se geskenk is ‘n sagte sakkie van swart fluweel met ‘n rekbandjie
wat sy moet gebruik om alles in te bêre wat sy veilig wil bewaar. Hulle gaan tuis
by Mevrou Flaubert by wie hulle ook Franse klasse gaan loop. Haar seun Luc is
Met haar eerste besoek aan die Musée d’Orsay verskyn ‘n houer met heuning
in haar rugsak; en haar ouma dring aan dat sy na die standbeeld van die
sater en sy beertjies moet gaan kyk- ‘n fyn lyn tussen droom en werklikheid
begin vorm aanneem vir Emma. Phillibert die sater vertel haar dat sy een van
die drie Muse is. Tombisa en die vioolspeler Kimiri is die ander twee. Hulle
moet die drie sleutels kry om die krag van kuns vir die stad oop te sluit- visuele
kuns, letterkunde en musiek.Een maal elke honders jaar moet die Muse die
sleutels in ‘n spesiale seremonie aan die burgermeester oorhandig. Die ritueel
hernu die betowering van Parys vir besoekers. :Die seremonie van die Honderd
jaar Hernuwing. Die sleutels hou ‘n groot aantrekkingskrag in vir ander rolspelers
wat ook hierby betrokke wil wees. En nou is die sleutels weg. Gaan Emma en
haar vriende daarin slaag om die sleutels betyds op te spoor?
‘n Gewone skooltoer verander in ‘n aksie belaaide avontuur met agtervolgings,
gemene rampokkers en allerhande verassings om elke draai! Om nie te vergeet
van al die inligting oor Parys en die moontlikheid van ‘n romanse vir Emma nie.
Wie sou nou kon dink dat elf dae in Parys soveel moontlikhede bied vir die leser
om defnitief met nuwe oë na Parys te kyk! Hoogs aanbeveel.
South Africa has about one million refugees and asylum seekers – so perhaps
it is time that IBBY SA highlighted the reading needs of their children. Many
classrooms across South Africa have pockets of migrant children who fall behind,
as they lack skills in the languages that surround them. Given their large classes
and lack of resources, our teachers often struggle to cater for their special needs.
Roger Mukadi’s organisation Pillars of Support recognises that the ability to read
fluently for meaning is the most important factor in learning across the curriculum.
Its weekend reading and writing groups, based at Chapel Hill Primary in Observatory
Cape Town, bring together 50 children scattered across the city. Their schools report
that the project is already having a positive impact.
On meeting Roger through the migrant advocacy NPO Scalabrini and seeing his bare
shelves, I proposed to Biblionef that we include Pillars of Support in our 2017
Schools Programme funding proposal. If all goes well, we will be enriching the lives
of the children with a core collection of attractive story books – which they will be
able to take home each week. Of course the fundamental aim is to improve
reading skills. But just as importantly, we believe that the books will bring some
joy to the lives of the migrant children and perhaps help them make sense of their
For more information on Pillars of Support contact Roger.
We are grateful to the Yamada Bee Company for their generous
funding of our 2016 project which, we hear, is already making
a difference in 14 under-resourced schools in rural
Matheku Secondary School, KZN
| BOOK REVIEWS
Kathy Madlener, reviewing coordinator
I would like to thank all the publishers who have sent us copies of their
publications this year and we look forward to more great titles in 2017. I am
also delighted to welcome a group of new reviewers to our IBBY review team,
I will introduce them over the next few months. One of the first to reply to our
appeal was Heather Davidson. Heather is a member of IBBY SA and has been
an avid reader all her life. Nowadays she spends her evenings reading to many
children while babysitting, reliving the joy of her favourite children's books. She has recently self-published her first children's picture book - The Choo Choo Park.
Kate Whittaker, member of our executive committee, is also a first time IBBY SA
reviewer. Trained as a librarian, she has wide knowledge of children’s publishing,
having worked in well-known book shops in the UK.
Pinguilly, Yves. The Big flower / illustrated by Maja Sereda. Tafelberg, 2016.
It’s Palesa and Dylan’s first day of pre-school; they walk to school through the
streets of Johannesburg with Palesa’s daddy. On the way they pass a tiny house
with a tiny garden; in the garden is a Big Flower that seems to greet them as they
pass. After a day of school activities the children return home with Dylan’s daddy and
pass the Big Flower again. This time she is turned away from them, following the
path of the sun. This is how the Big Flower says goodnight.
The illustrations in this book are beautifully done; they are full of interesting scenes
of city life with details such as Palesa’s dog following the children to school and a
sleepy bee on the Big Flower.
One comment I have is that the end of the school day is referred to as “mommy time”
which jarred a little especially as the children were being collected by a Daddy.
This book is translated so I think perhaps this is a French concept that didn’t translate
well to a South African phrase.
Ellison, Peet. Timbertwig’s new adventures. Human & Rousseau, 2016.
Timbertwig lives with his granny in Wiggly Wood Forest; Abigail – a magic
spider – lives in his hat. Abigail has good intentions but invariably her spells
go a little wrong and cause a series of complications that the two friends have
to sort out together. The four stories included in the book contain colourful
characters and are based on original situations such as Timbertwig’s eyebrows
disappearing, a flea circus coming to town and a lost baby star falling to earth.
This book has colourful illustrations on each page which I feel will hold a child’s
interest very effectively. An audio CD accompanies the book; the stories are
read by Susanne Beyers who uses different voices for each character, bringing
the story vividly to life.
Brain, Helen. Elevation 1: The thousand steps. Human & Rousseau, 2016
Grounded in a drowned post-apocalyptic world, the first part of Helen Brain’s
Elevation series blends myth and futuristic dystopian fiction in a fast-moving
initiation tale. From its dramatic opening, Elevation: The Thousand Steps
draws the reader into the protagonist sixteen-year-old Ebba’s complex journey
to discover her history and forge her future. We travel with her as she is
elevated from the underground bunker to live on her family’s farm above the
ground on Table Island. Emerging from the colony deep within Table Mountain,
she is propelled into the role of land owner in a strange society where she has
to learn new rules to survive before those, with more cunning and a darker purpose,
determine her future. Can she save herself and her friends? How can she navigate
the rough seas of emotion as she is swept along by the desire to belong and
find love? Who can she trust? What is the meaning of her unique birthmark
and what mysterious powers does her necklace contain? All of these questions
and more are evoked as Helen Brain’s strongly drawn characters come to life
and carry us along in the first part of this trilogy. Packed with tension and
cleverly woven glimpses into Ebba’s past which forecast her future, this
uniquely South African youth novel leaves one anticipating further cosmic
Kendal, Charmaine. Leopard calling. Maskew Miller Longman, 2016.
This exciting , if fairly predictable, adventure story is set in the Western
Cape town of Citrusdal, close to the rugged Cederberg Mountains. We
meet 17 year old Sharma in the middle of the night as she prepares to flee
from the home that she shares with her mother and cruel stepfather, Hendrik.
Lonely and afraid she hides out in a cave in the Cederberg Mountains where
her special connection with animals and her affinity with nature help her to
survive. One day, on a brief visit to town, she sees an advert for a job at an
animal shelter , Vincent recognises her “ Animal Kin, and hires. Here she
finds refuge, support and romance.
Sethu, who works at the shelter, becomes suspicious of her behaviour, he
doesn’t trust her and realises she is hiding something important and dangerous.
The story races along and Sharma must take huge risks to help the leopards and
uncover the truth behind her stepfather.
This is book is clearly aimed at schools: at the back is a study guide with
discussions on themes, character development , pre reading questions and
questions on all the chapters among other teaching aids. I am not a fan of this
as it makes the novel feel like a textbook but I can see the value to teachers.
Simple language, short chapters, well chosen font size, themes of conservation,
especially related to leopard, a touch of magical realism and the chemistry
between Sharma and Sethu should make this book appealing to even the
most reluctant readers.
Many people judge a book by its cover. I am not sure that this cover, a photograph
of a leopard’s head, will appeal to young adults who in my experience, seem to
like covers of other young teens.
This book has been awarded the winner of the 2016 MML prize for literature.
Bulbring, Edyth. Snitch. Tafelberg, 2016
Thirteen year old Ben Smith, alias Snitch, has an excellent, trustworthy,
compatible relationship with his single parent Mom and (sometimes) boyfriend
Uncle Charles. They have always been able to openly discuss the issues
experienced in growing up through his primary years. However, during his first
year in high school this changes considerably.
Edyth Bulbring has her finger on the pulse of young teenagers as she records
the eighteen rules from Snitch about what will have to change through puberty.
Tackling the changes in her approach to clothing, Snitch warns his readers
that mother’s choice of clothing at the wrong time can be too embarrassing for
words. Allowing her to choose one’s clothes as in early childhood and then
marking them for easy identification can be disastrous.
He warns of the various obstacles of communication and warns his readers
not to allow Mom to look at Facebook messages; talking to teachers and
then trying to fight his battles when problems arise can do more harm than
good. Girlfriends are a personal matter and it is not necessary for Mum
to answer calls, make dates and then to interrogate him after the event.
His emphasises that Mums can be embarrassing. Going shopping and
going to the doctor are out!
No longer is it necessary for Mum to control his finances. And very
definitely, he is too old for goodnight cuddles. Finally, he comes
to the conclusion that life is complicated and that there are some things
that Mom need never know.
In a light-hearted manner, Bulbring offers some serious advice to her
readers. For those old enough to remember Adrian Mole,
aged 13 ¾ , this is a case of move over Adrian....here comes Snitch.