We have some amazing children’s and young adult’s authors and illustrators in New Zealand. There are the legends like Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley, Pamela Allen and Gavin Bishop as well as some authors and illustrators that not so well known but will soon become household names. For New Zealand Book Month I want to highlight some of my favourite New Zealand authors and illustrators, and shout about some brilliant new books that have been published recently.
A hilarious new picture book was launched at The Children’s Bookshop in Victoria St on Saturday, called The Wonky Donkey, with words and music by Craig Smith and illustrations by Katz Cowley. Craig Smith is well known around Christchurch as a fantastic musician who performs a variety of popular music and writes and performs his own unique children’s songs. We have his first CD Not Just for Kids in the library and I suggest you check it out. As the title suggests, the songs aren’t just for kids, adults find them hilarious (myself included). The Wonky Donkey is one of the best tracks on the CD and won the Children’s Song of the Year 2008 in the APRA Music Awards. Craig, with the help of up-and-coming illustrator, Katz Cowley, has now turned this song into a picture book. As you read through the book or listen to the song, you find out more about the Wonky Donkey, such as how he only has three legs and one eye, making him a winky wonky donkey. Both the story and the illustrations are absolutely hilarious and are perfectly matched. I’m sure it will be enjoyed by everyone. It is also good to hear that Craig Smith is bringing out another children’s album next year with a new bunch of great songs and Craig and Katz will be collaborating again on another picture book of Craig’s song Wilby the Bumblebee.