Book Review: The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas cover

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter, Random House, RRP $18.99, ISBN9781849417792, Available now.

Never has a book had a more descriptive title. Fletcher and Poynter do not muck around, so if you don’t want to read about dinosaur poo combined with Christmas, do not read this book.

If, on the other hand, you have the sense of humour of a five year old or you ARE a five year old, you will laugh like a drain.

Personally I think the word “poo” is one of the best in the English language, funny to read, funny to say and about a funny subject.

Danny is a little boy who wants everything for Christmas, even though he’s got quite a lot already. So instead of leaving him another present, Santa Claus leaves him an egg. An egg that hatches into a very hungry dinosaur. A dinosaur who, as it turns out, has a very fast and efficient digestive system…

Last, but not least, and never forgotten

Granny popped out of the dinosaur’s bottom.

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas is brilliant, hilariously written, perfect for reading out loud (with a similar cadence to The Night Before Christmas) and it has vibrantly large illustrations. I suspect little children everywhere will want this one read to them every night for months.

Merry Christmas My Friends!

To all BookieMonster friends a very Merry Christmas! We hope your Christmas is filled with fine food, delicious drinks, good cheer and many, many kittehs.

Santa and Elf kittehs

Boxes!

funny-pictures-cat-may-have-knocked-over-tree4

Holiday cheer kitteh

And finally, my personal favourite and especially just for my wonderful husband, the legendary Mr Monster…

Sleep in heavenly peas

 

Book Review – Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers by Lynley Dodd

Slinky Malinki's Christmas Crackers by Lynley DoddSlinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers by Lynley Dodd, Penguin New Zealand, RRP $21.00, ISBN 9780143504627 , Available now.

For those of you not in the know, Slinky Malinki is the cat from the Hairy Maclary series of kids books. Lynley Dodd’s sing-song rhymes about a dog from Donaldson’s Dairy and all his friends and relations have amused generations of kiddies.

In this outing,  Slinky Malinki  (“a bothersome rascal, a pothersome pain”) climbs the Christmas tree: “He knotted the tinsel, and swatted the bell, he battered the baubles and trinkets as well.”

In the morning, the faceless, nameless family put the tree back together again – but where is the Christmas fairy for the top of the tree?

The secularisation of Christmas was one of the most striking parts of the tale for me – the tree features santas and reindeers, but  the only Christian iconography I spotted were a couple of star and dove ornaments, and that’s a tenuous connection to what believers call the reason for the season. I’m no expert on kiddie literature, but it’s really nice to see a children’s Christmas book which doesn’t focus on a massive pile of presents, the alien joy of a white Christmas, or going away in a manger. Instead, Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Cracker focuses on the parts of Christmas children (and grown ups) are more likely to experience: the cat knocks over the tree, and everyone has fun putting it back up again. Lovely for religious folk and heathens alike.

The edition I read is a board book, which I understand is for smaller kiddies (disclaimer: I did not test this book on actual children; the testers I had roped in got chickenpox and I begged off our story-book-date because I’m a bad friend). But it looks like it could withstand chewing, and has a sparkly boarder around the edge of the cover which is a huge bonus at any age.

The pictures are of course lovely, full of movement and life. Dodd is obviously a cat lover – she’s captured Slinky Malinki trying to rip the guts out of a teddy bear perfectly. Aw, bless.

It’s my understanding that kiddie books have to be tolerable to adults as well as children  – especially if they’re to be read aloud. An aunt of mine can still recite some drivel about tractors, which is both a fun party trick and a fairly good reason not to have children at all. That’s the downside of fun rhymes – they can turn into earworms as easily as a pop song. Thinking about this, all my kiddie books mysteriously disappeared about five minutes after I could read, something I’m suddenly no longer sure is a coincidence.

But Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers is a joy to read and perfect for the festive season. Buy a copy for all the little ones on your list and they’ll love you for it.

Last chance to buy books before Christmas!

Well my lovelies, this is your last chance to buy books from us before Christmas. From mid-next week we will be on a selling hiatus until mid-January.

No more chances for some spectacular or totally flippant reading material before you go on holiday! What will you do when the days are hot and there’s no internet connection?

Lots of our new books have been reduced in price too, so take the hassle out of Secret Santa, and buy a book.

Click here and empty our shelves!

Book Review: The Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury

The Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury

The Chocolate Wars: From Cadbury to Kraft: 200 Years of Sweet Success and Bitter Rivalries by Deborah Cadbury, Harper Press, $RRP 39.99, ISBN: 978-0-00-732555-9, Available now.

The Chocolate Wars is a yarn about the rise and rise of a chocolate empire. Deborah Cadbury (yes, that Cadbury), set out to see what happened to the old family business.

In 1861 Cadbury chocolates was failing. Could the two Cadbury young brothers, George and Richard turn their father’s venture into a profitable business? Spoiler: yes they can.

Despite knowing the ending as soon as you’ve read the title, The Chocolate Wars was still an enjoyable read. The writing is tight and engaging, and the story is well paced. As well as the key tale of the Cadbury business, stories of the other great chocolate manufacturers are woven through. We also learn about the evolution of the chocolate we know and love today.

What amazed me, and clearly interested the author as well, was how well the Cadbury’s looked after their staff. They lead their staff in prayers; gave them picnics and swimming lessons; taught the illiterate to read; paid higher wages than other employees and went so far as to build a model village where the staff could buy their own homes for the same cost as rent in the slums. The author put this down to the Cadbury’s Quaker values, and tutted a little over how paternalistic is all was. It’s the kind of paternalistic people tend to enjoy. My day job provides free fruit, which is pretty great, but HR baulks at the idea of employing a company dentist.

I related this to a coworker, who pointed out that however well the Cadbury’s treated their employees, their chocolate was not fair trade and thousands of workers around the world were suffering. Cadbury did enjoy a bit of hand wringing over the cocoa growers, but not enough is done, and the sugar growers are never mentioned. Still, I got the impression that the Cadbury’s were a force for good in the world.

I’ve heard elsewhere that the Chocolate Wars reads like a novel. I hate to say it, but it doesn’t: real life seldom does. Most of the story focuses on the Cadbury brothers, Richard and George. After their eventual deaths, the twentieth century is skimmed over, before Cadbury is taken over and becomes a major conglomerate. The moral of the story seems to be that companies are better off being run by families who care about their employees, rather than boards who care about the bottom line.

The Chocolate Wars is a beautifully presented book which will appeal to a wide audience. Lovers of biographies, history buffs, and business folk will all enjoy a read. I found it interesting and engaging but not a book to reread. The Chocolate Wars is an excellent Christmas present book which you should race through yourself before wrapping it.

Last Days of our Moving Sale! Last $1 Reserves!

Remember my post about moving and you buying lots of books to save us having to lug lots of boxes around?

Help our friends and family from just $1 a day!

Our books are still mega cheap – and this is the last time you get a chance to buy the $1 reserve books – they will NOT be available again! Plus if you get in now we can still post before Christmas. Help a BookieMonster out today!

Click here and empty our shelves!