Freda Du Faur makes it to the top

Although Freda Du Faur was born in Australia, she is a significant figure in New Zealand’s alpine history.

3 December 2010 marks the hundred year anniversary of Freda Du Faur’s historic ascent of Aoraki Mount Cook, with guides Peter Graham and David Thomson. Te Ara has a photo of Freda with Peter and Alec Graham here.

As a woman, Freda du Faur initially received a fair amount of criticism of her chosen sport. As she writes,

I was the first unmarried woman … to climb in New Zealand, and in consequence I received all the hard knocks until one day when I awoke more or less famous in the mountaineering world, after which I could and did do exactly as seemed to me best.

Having made successful climbs, many of them first ascents, of a myriad of mountains, including Mt Cook, Mt Dampier, Mt Sefton and Mt Tasman, she was soon recognised as a capable amateur climber and continued to climb in New Zealand until March 1913, before heading to England in 1914.

A cornucopia of Christmas music

CDsChristmas is a magical time and all of us have special memories that come flooding back with a particular smell or sound. Music is an important part of this experience and after being force fed Christmas muzak as you do your present shopping, it’s nice to relax, unwind and settle into the mood at home, with music you have chosen yourself.

The library has a great collection of Christmas CDs covering a wide range of tastes. Here are some of our favourites.

Find out more on our Christmas music page.

Merry Christmas from the Music Team

Three of the best from Gecko Press

Gecko Press have been keeping up their tradition of producing English language versions of curiously good books from around the world.  Here are three of the best recent releases.

The Noisy Book by Soledad Bravi is a board book filled with bright, bold illustrations and lots and lots of noises (over 100 pages).  There are noises you would expect to find, like ‘The cat goes meow,’ ‘The horse goes neigh,’ and ‘The rooster goes cockadoodle doo.’ But what I like most are the noises you don’t expect, like ‘The cold goes aachoo,’ ‘Mummy goes kiss kiss,’ and ‘The power socket goes NO!’ This is the perfect book to share with babies and toddlers because everyone can enjoy making the noises.

Cover of The fierce little woman and the wicked pirateThe Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate is a newly illustrated edition of one of Joy Cowley’s most loved picture books.  I loved this book as soon as I set my eyes on it!  Sarah Davis‘ illustrations are absolutely stunning and she has captured Joy Cowley’s characters perfectly.  Thank you Gecko Press for giving this wonderful story new life.

H.O.U.S.E (or Habitable, Objects, Unique, Spatial, Extraordinary) by Aleksandra Machowiak and Daniel Mizielinski is a fascinating book about contemporary architecture for kids.  It’s a book for all those children (and adults) who are fascinated with buildings of all shapes and sizes.  Inside, you’ll find spiky houses, inflatable houses, houses in trees and houses underground, from all over the world.  The authors explain the inspiration behind the design of each house, as well as the materials used to build it, and where in the world it can be found.

These are just three of the latest and greatest books from Gecko Press.  I’m sure we can look forward to more curiously good books from Gecko Press next year.