Gavin Bishop: Cook’s Cook book launch

Gavin Bishop, along with Gecko Press and Scorpio Books, launched his latest illustrated book at Tūranga, Cook’s Cook: The cook who cooked for Captain Cook. 2019 will be the 250th anniversary of the visit of the H.M. Endeavour to Aotearoa New Zealand and Bishop’s book offers a fresh perspective on their journey.

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Gavin Bishop at the launch of his new book Cook’s Cook, October 2018, Tūranga

A large audience heard how Bishop spent several years researching for the book, which he says he really enjoyed, but was overwhelmed by the information he found.

One thing that struck him was the number of books that contradicted each other.

His challenge was how to find his own unique angle on the Endeavour story. As he looked through the names of the crew on the boat and their occupations, he began to wonder about the lesser-known members on board and was particularly struck by their curiously one-handed cook, John Thompson.

The story of the crew’s journey is told through food “as a point of context,” explains Bishop, with the cook as narrator. And, as his publisher Julia Marshall from Gecko Press notes “you can tell so many different stories through food—everything is here: culture, class, adventure, humour and much more.”

Cook's CookThe Endeavour was originally the collier Earl of Pembroke and was designed for a crew of just 16 but when it sailed as the Endeavour it had 94 crew on board, packed in like sardines. And the meals were prepared on the mess deck where 74 men slept!

The cooking process on the Endeavour seemed to involve throwing everything together in a pot or bag and boiling it. Bishop says the meat became so rank that it was towed in a net behind the boat to soften it up and every second day was a vegetarian day consisting of Pease Porridge. To avoid scurvy, the cook served up stinky German cabbage. But all was not awful for the men, as it was noted how much booze was aboard the ship.

The book contains a little story about each of the countries the Endeavour visited and explains some of the names of the recipes featured such as Poor Knights Pudding, Stingray Soup, Kangaroo Stew, Dog and Breadfruit Stew and Albatross Stew “which you wouldn’t get away with today.” There were goats, dogs, pigs, sheep, cats and chickens on board. And when the ship crossed the equator everyone aboard, including the cats, were apparently tied to a chair and dipped into the water 3 times in an equator crossing ritual.

Bishop told his audience that there are two stories about the Endeavour that you won’t find anywhere else except in his book. One was told by Pete Beech, whose family was there in Picton when the Endeavour came with Cook, and tells the story of how a Māori woman was tricked into giving her taonga away for a bag of sugar. And the second story comes from an obscure poem that mentions a slave named Dalton on board who was a servant of botanist Joseph Banks. Like the Endeavour, not a centimetre of space in Bishop’s book was wasted, he says, and even the endpapers are full of illustrated facts.

Cover of Aotearoa: The New Zealand story by Gavin BishopAt the book launch, Gecko Press were also celebrating 10 years of working with Bishop, starting with his collaboration for Joy Cowley in illustrating their successful Snake & Lizard. Marshall  said what a treat it is working with Bishop: “Gavin is a true artist and very knowledgeable.” Gavin’s other book published in the past year is the illustratively stunning Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story.

Our Painted Stories

You can see more of Bishop’s work in the Our Painted Stories exhibition at about the presence and importance of local Canterbury settings in children’s literature. Original artworks in the exhibition are from Bishop’s Mr. Fox and Mrs. McGinty and the Bizarre Plant as well as Margaret Mahy’s Summery Saturday Morning.

Mr FoxMrs McGinty and the Bizarre PlantA Summery Saturday Morning

The books and exhibition feature scenes from around Christchurch such as the Edmonds Factory with its ‘Sure to Rise’ signage as well as further afield on Banks Peninsula.

The Importance of Identity

Join international award-winning writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop and invited guests as we explore the Our Painted Stories exhibition and have a conversation about how seeing ourselves and our city in children’s literature helps grow a sense of identity.
Wednesday 24th October 5:30-6:30pm 
Tūranga
Free, no bookings required
Created in partnership with the Painted Stories Trust. 

While visiting Tūranga, Gavin was delighted to discover a picture of his family on our Discovery Wall that even he didn’t have a copy of.

Gavin Bishop, with his youngest daughter Alexandra and his book “Chicken Licken”, 8 June 1984, Reference ID: CCL-StarP-00740A

It is auspicious that just as Gavin Bishop was the first author to have a book launched at the old central library, he is also the first author to launch a book in the new library, Tūranga, 36 years later.

Gavin Bishop at the Mr Fox book launch
18 September 1982 Gavin Bishop, with his book “Mr Fox” which was the first book to be launched at the Canterbury Public Library on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace. Reference ID: CCL-StarP-00739A

More about Gavin Bishop

Paraweta, Poo Bum, and stories in te reo

Like most kids my son enjoys stories before bedtime (which is just as well because his mum is a librarian and he was going to be getting them regardless).

Like a lot of Kiwi parents I do my best to add some te reo Māori into the mix where I can, but my own Māori language knowledge is a bit patchy in places – I’m a work in progress. So how to expose my 4 year old to some te reo, but also read a story so we’ll both understand it and enjoy the experience?

I’ve found that reading te reo Māori versions of books we already know really well in English has been a fun way to do it. It helps if it’s a book that you’ve read so many times, you’ve practically got it memorised. That way you can “read” the English language version (out loud from memory), and then read the te reo version from the page.

Our latest success with this method has been with Stephanie Blake’s Poo Bum aka Paraweta, which has just come out in te reo.

Mother and son read Poo bum and Paraweta together

I let my tamaiti hold the original version and turn the pages of that one, while I hold the Māori language version, and he yells out “Paraweta!” at the appropriate points in the story.

Here are some other te reo Māori versions of children’s classics we’ve enjoyed that you might like to try:

   

Or try something from our Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori modern classic picture books list

If you’re a te reo beginner then start with simple stories like The very hungry caterpillar, Where’s Spot or even Kei te pehea koe? / How do you feel? (which is in both English and Māori and is really easy to follow).

Or try stories in English that incorporate some te reo Māori words like The kuia and the spider (because it’s never to early to learn words like “hōha“), or Row, kiwi, row your boat, which you can sing together and includes simple Māori greetings (and a full te reo version for more confident speakers/singers).

Even if I trip up on a word here and there I’ve found that as long as I’m doing the silly voices and engaging with the story, my son is pretty happy to have a te reo Māori story at bedtime, in fact… Paraweta is his new favourite.

Find out more

Throughout Te Wiki o te Reo Māori we’ll be blogging about ways you can help strengthen the reo.

In the library collection

Cool stuff from the selectors: Children’s books

Egg9780062408730

This masterful and stylistically original picture book introduces young children to four eggs. One is blue, one is pink, one is yellow, and one is green. Three of the eggs hatch, revealing three baby birds who fly away. But the green egg does not hatch. Why not? When the three birds return to investigate, they re in for a big surprise! What will happen next?

Other Wordly

A lovely wee book of illustrated strange words from around the world such as : “Komorebi” from Japan which means the sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees, or from English “Bibliothecary” meaning one who collects, maintains, or cares for books. I also like “Cwtch” which is Welsh for a hug or a cuddle but is also used for the space under the stairs.

Sniffer & Tinni9781454918707

Best friends who live in Norway. Sniffer is a wild fox and Tinni is a German Shepherd. In this simple non-fiction book, stunning photographs show how they spend their time together.

Illuminature9781847808868

Three images of different animal habitats on one page. Using the viewing lens you will see the daytime animals, the environment or the night animals jump out from the page. It also contains a species guide for each animal you discover.

Further adventures with The Boy Who Lived

Harry Potter display
Harry Potter display, Flickr File Reference: 2016-07-26- IMG_5242

Cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's StoneIt’s been about 18 years since I first met The Boy Who Lived. My little brother — he was about 9 at the time — introduced me to Harry Potter, and lent me the first few books. By book four, I wanted my own copy, so I bought it, and The Philosopher’s Stone too, with the book voucher Mr K gave me for our first wedding anniversary (it’s the paper one). When he saw what I’d chosen, Mr K said “what did you want that for? You’ve already read it!”  But I had to have copies of my own. And from book five on, I had my copies on advanced order at my favourite book shop.

I have the full set now, of course — the ones with those distinctive colourful spines that are so instantly recognisable as Harry Potter — taking pride of place on my bookshelf, now flanked with my very own wand made the other day at Harry Potter Day at South Library (Miss Missy didn’t want one, but I did!). And I have read them all over and over.

So when I first heard about an eighth Harry Potter, I was so excited! But then I found out that it wasn’t exactly going to be a novel, and it wasn’t exactly by JK Rowling, and…well, I had my doubts. Could it be as good as the others? Would it really — count? Did I even want my own copy?

Harry Potter Day at South Library
Harry Potter Day at South Library, Flickr File Reference: 2016-07-31-IMG_0169

Well, Harry Potter Day decided matters for us. As well as getting sorted — Miss Missy into Ravenclaw, and The Young Lad and I into Hufflepuff (the perfect houses for us all, actually) — making wands, and drinking polyjuice potion, we were treated to a wonderful storytime reading from Scene One of the Cursed Child. At the end, Miss Missy looked at me and said

After this, we are going straight to the book shop!

And we did!

Cover of Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildWe decided we were both going to finish the books we were already reading first, so we didn’t actually start till Friday. I took it to work to read at lunch, while Miss Missy had teacher only day, and finished reading Mocking Jay in anticipation. During the weekend, we started out taking turns with the book, but ended up sitting side by side on the couch reading on the same page together. Miss Missy was always just ahead of me, so there was lots of gasping and squealing, and then waiting for me to catch up. There was even occasional page-covering when it got too exciting (does anyone else do that?)  At 10 o’clock on Sunday night we had to force ourselves to stop, and on a cliff-hanger too!

If you’d asked me what I thought while I was reading Act One, I’d have said I was enjoying it more that I expected, but less than I’d hoped. Because I really had hoped that somehow, once I started reading, the words would scurry round the page and reform themselves into the kind of Harry Potter story I was used to. Magical as Harry Potter is, of course that didn’t happen. But after getting past the first bit, where I felt I needed the director telling me what he wanted so I could better understand the stage directions, not to mention my annoyance that important things and people seemed to be being ignored — and got to the REALLY good bit! Well! It’s just as exciting and magical, occasionally funny, a little bit scary, and a little bit sad, as any of the other Harry Potter books are.

I really have started to forget that I’m reading a play — even though the words are staying obstinately still — and just enjoying!

Harry Potter display
Harry Potter display, Flickr File Reference: 2016-07-26- IMG_5242

If you are one of the almost 200 people who’ve been waiting for it to arrive at the library, the wait is over! I unpacked our copy this morning, as did librarians all round town. And I’m sure you’ll enjoy too!

Wā kōrero ki te kainga – Storytimes at home

Ko tēnei te wiki o te reo Māori (it’s Māori Language Week) and throughout our network of libraries the usual preschool storytime sessions for this week will have added te reo Māori content.

If you attended a session and want to try adding some te reo Māori stories at home, or if you missed out and want to give it a go yourself here’s a list of recommended titles for introducing some linguistic variety into your child’s storytime repertoire.

Cover of Te hua tuatahi a KuwiTe hua tuatahi a Kuwi  by Katherine Merewether

Kuwi the Kiwi has never had an egg before, so she’s unsure how to look after it. When the egg gets a crack Kuwi thinks that the egg is broken, but she’s in for a surprise.

Kanohi – My Face by Kitty Brown

One of a series of te reo board books. Read our interview with author Kitty Brown.

Cover of Rhyme & reoRhyme & Reo: Aeiou: A Fun Way to Learn Māori Vowel Sounds by Jessica Ngatai

“This book is an educational resource to help teachers, parents whanau and children build confidence to use and enjoy te reo. Illustrated and featuring quirky Kiwi poems, weaving reo through the English text, with explanatory notes on the pronunciation of the vowel sounds appearing on a side-bar on each page”

Cover of Māori art for kidsMāori Art for Kids by Julie Noanoa

This collection of 15 projects offers children aged 7 and over a range of unique Māori art experiences. Practical skills cover sculpture, photography, design, paint, mixed media, collage and more. Easy-to-follow instructions include illustrations of the steps involved, using everyday craft materials, recycled and found objects. Examples of taonga (treasures) created by leading contemporary artists are shown alongside each project with a brief explanation of the object, its purpose and use in the past and present.

Cover of Hoiho pakuHoiho paku by Stephanie Thatcher

“An endearing story about a penguin called Little Hoiho who wants to be more like the other birds she sees around her, Kotuku, Toroa, and Tui. But Little Hoiho learns that her body is made for swimming and spinning and twisting in the water, and that she is perfect just the way she is”

E oma, moko kākāriki by Gay Hay

A rare Wellington green gecko is wary of predators and runs to safety. Includes factual information about green geckos, their behaviour and life cycle, and traditional Māori beliefs about geckos.

Cover of Mahi tahiMahi tahi by Sharon Holt

A song (with book and CD) about working, playing and interacting together. Read our interview with author Sharon Holt.

E hoki Flash by Ruth Paul

Follows the adventures of mischievous dog Flash who escapes from home and gets up to all sorts of antics, chasing cats, sneaking into cars, rolling in rubbish.

Cover of Nā wai te waka i totohu?Nā wai te waka i totohu? by Pamela Allen

The reader is invited to guess who causes the boat to sink when five animal friends of varying sizes decide to go for a row.

Hairy Maclary no te teri a Tanarahana by Lynley Dodd

When Hairy Maclary and his canine friends go for a walk and encounter Scarface Claw, the toughest Tom in town, they run away

Cover of Te TanguruhauTe Tanguruhau by Julia Donaldson

The Māori language version of the children’s picture book, The Gruffalo. A clever mouse uses the threat of a terrifying creature to keep from being eaten by a fox, an owl, and a snake, only to have to outwit that creature as well.

Kei reira ngā weriweri by Maurice Sendak

When Max wears his wolf suit and makes mischief, he is sent to bed without his supper. But in his room a forest grows and Max sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes their king.

Cover of Taniwha, taniwhaTaniwha, Taniwha by Robyn Kahukiwa

An adventure with Supa Heroes, Maui and Hina

Kei te toro haere mātou by Katie Kool

Simple adventures of family life with Charlie the dog. From the series Beginning to read with Charlie.

Cover of Ko wai e huna anaKo wai e huna ana? by Satoru Ōnishi

“Simple sentences, counting, colours, recognising emotion, the names of animals, beginner-level te reo Māori for children and learners.”

He tuatara by Carolyn Collis

Reader for children in Māori. Looks at a tuatara. From the Early Te Reo Reading Book series.

Cover of Te anuhe tino hiakaiTe anuhe tino hiakai by Eric Carle

Follows the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats his way through a varied and very large quantity of food until, full at last, he forms a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep. Good for learning different words for food.

Waiata

Cover of Mahi tahiMahi tahi by Sharon Holt

A song (with book and CD) about working, playing and interacting together. Read our interview with author Sharon Holt.

Songs for Bubbas 2 by Anika Moa

Catchy music for preschoolers with some te reo Māori.

Cover of Waiata maiWaiata mai sing along with Aunty Bea

Book with audio CD (Music by Aunty Bea & Rodger Cunningham)

Hush: A Kiwi Lullaby by Joy Cowley

The traditional lullaby ‘Hush Little Baby’, retold with a strong New Zealand flavour. A baby is promised a series of items including a woolly sheep, kowhai flowers and singing tui.

The Best and Worst Children’s Books of 2015

Best and Worst Books posterThe end of the year is approaching and that means it’s nearly time to evaluate the best and worst children’s books of 2015. Hosted by Christchurch City Libraries, in conjunction with the Canterbury Literacy Association, the Best and Worst Evening is a Christchurch literary tradition. 2014’s event was so popular the event has been moved to the larger venue of the Everglades Golf Club on Marshland Road.

Speakers this year include Mary Sangster (chairperson of Booksellers NZ and the new owner of The Original Children’s Bookshop), Kirsten Smith (Kaitakawaenga – Ngā Ratonga Māori at Christchurch City Libraries), Karen Healey (Young Adult author), Trevor Agnew (children’s book reviewer) and Eibhlin and Saoirse Hill-Shearman (Youth opinion).

Our annual Holiday Reading list will also be officially announced on the night. Holiday Reading is a recommended selection of new titles added to Christchurch City Libraries in 2015 and includes picture books, chapter books, young adult, non-fiction and Te Reo titles.

Come along on Wednesday 25 November to the Netherlands Society Clubrooms, Everglades Golf Club on Marshland Road, from 7-9pm. Bring a gold coin for refreshments and early Christmas raffles.

Happy Birthday, Alice

Some children’s stories stand the test of time because they are straightforward or simple tales. Others because the characters are so easy to love. Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, which celebrates its 150th anniversary tomorrow, is neither of these and yet it is a perennial favourite, reprinted and reimagined year after year.

Cover of Alice's adventures in wonderlandCovr of Alice's adventures in wonderlandAlice in wonderlandCover of Alice's adventures in wonderland

In some ways it is an unlikely children’s classic, this convoluted tale of a lost and bewildered child encountering a succession of bizarre and often menacing characters and situations. Or is it? Is that, in fact, exactly what childhood is like? An ongoing battle to make sense of the world, and the strange people in it?

Cover of Alice's adventures in wonderlandCover of The annotated AliceCover of Alice's Adventures in WonderlandCover of Alice's adventures in wonderland and Through the looking glass

I’m not the only one who thinks Alice’s adventures in Wonderland is something of a riddle. There have been almost as many books written about Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson) and the genesis of his Alice books as there have been reprints of the stories themselves. Something about them resonates.

Cover of The Alice behind WonderlandCover of The story of AliceCover of The mystery of Lewis CarrollCover of The selected letters of Lewis Carroll

Alice, it would seem, is the Mona Lisa of children’s literature – endlessly fascinating and ripe for reinterpretation.

Cover of Alice in ZombielandCover of Alice in the country of clover, knight's knowledge 1Cover of SplinteredCover of Through the zombie glass

If you’re interested in reacquainting yourself with Alice, Wonderland, and her adventures there we’ve got plenty of books to choose from.

Also our friends at Auckland Libraries have put together a splendid resource showcasing images from their rare editions of the Alice books.

Horowitz and Gleitzman and Walliams, oh my!

Some of the biggest names in the children’s literature world are descending on Auckland next week for the Auckland Writers Festival.  I’m lucky enough to be going to the festival and I’m incredibly excited about meeting my literary idols.

There is a brilliant line up of children’s authors coming to the festival this year and some really big draw cards – Alex Rider author Anthony Horowitz, the hilarious David Walliams, Australian author Morris Gleitzman and the creator of Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey. All of these authors have a huge number of young fans all over the world and I’m sure their sessions will be sell-outs.

Cover of Eagle strikeCover of Mr StinkCover of NowCover of Captain Underpants and the revolting revenge of the radioactive robo-boxers

I’m especially looking forward to David Walliams session. I loved his TV series, Little Britain, and was sceptical when he started writing for children, but his stories are hilarious. His style of story is very similar to Roald Dahl, with lots of laughs and characters that make you squirm. If your children haven’t tried his books yet they are well worth a read. They are especially great for reading aloud and will have you and your children laughing out loud.

I love having the chance to hear authors talk about their books and it’s fantastic that the Auckland Writers Festival have managed to get such big names over here in little old NZ.

International Children’s Book Day

Book cover of ThumbelinaInternational Children’s Book Day is celebrated every year on 2 April, which is also Hans Christian Andersen‘s birthday.  It is a special day where we celebrate children’s books and encourage children to read.  We have lots of fantastic books from all over the world in our libraries, in lots of different forms.

Here are some ideas of ways that you could celebrate International Children’s Book Day:

Holiday fun at the Learning Centres

Successful holiday programmes at South and Upper Riccarton had many happy children tasting new technologies and having lots of fun.

  • Clay animation – children created fun clay characters for their animated stories.
  • Family Games Fun – online, board and action games were great challenges for all.
  • Whizz Bang Pop – lots of fun iPad story apps with complimenting craft activities to make children and parents very happy.
  • 3D Tinker Workshop – students grappled with 3D software design to create helicopters then delved further into 3D wire sculpting, paper craft and Hama beads. There were lots of new experiences.

Find out more about Library Learning Centres.

P1030473 Family Game Time 3D Doodler Pen Claymation