Holiday Books to Keep Grandchildren Happy

fizzy final_PR_coverFizzy Pop

In Fizzy Pop award winning Storylines author Emma Vere-Jones takes a humorous dig at two bad habits a lot of children have: drinking too many sugary drinks and chilling out in front of TV for hours on end.

Fizzy Pop drinks fizzy drinks all day long. Her Father does his best to stop her.

“Give up the soft drinks. Turn off that screen. There are places to go, there are things to be seen!”

But being addicted she doesn’t care. Her life takes a turn for the worse. She begins to feel grotty, gets holes in her teeth and spots on her skin.

Her tummy expands so much that when her teacher insists she has to join in the cross country run all the soft drinks inside her fizz and froth and make a big bubble. This turns into a series of such explosive farts that she shoots up into the sky and lands on the moon.  

And that was almost the end of the story as I discovered when Fizzy Pop was launched at Dorothy Butler’s (the Ponsonby book shop which has been there for decades and is still going strong)

It was party time for both the adults and the children. There was food and drink and a fun activity. The author read her book. The children listened spellbound.

Then Emma Vere-Jones divulged that after she read the Fizzy Pop manuscript to her own children they did not want her to be left stranded on the moon. So that is why she thought of a plan to get Fizzy Pop back to earth. It is an ingenious one which involves Fizzy Pop’s classmates in some clever recycling.  But once back on earth can Fizzy Pop overcome her addiction?

Fizzy Pop will give you and your grandchildren the chance to have good chuckle as well as being a gentle warning about the dangers of too many fizzy drinks. They will love the comic style illustrations as well. Do read it with them!

Title: Fizzy Pop Author: Emma Vere-Jones, illustrated by Kate Snushall. Publisher: Bookhead Press RRP: $19.99

bridesmaidRent a Bridesmaid

My 10 year old granddaughter and I both enjoy Jaqueline Wilson’s books. As well as being a good read they provide a window of opportunity to have some good chats about how life is now, and how life used to be.

In Rent a Bridesmaid Tilly, the main character, would dearly love to wear a pretty bridesmaid dress at her parents’ wedding. It will never happen. The marriage is well and truly over. But her dream of becoming a bridesmaid won’t go away.

When her best friend Matty gets to wear a pretty pink bridesmaid dress at her aunt’s wedding she decides to give it to Tilly after the event.

Tilly doesn’t just want to hang it in her wardrobe, she wants to wear it. So she puts an advertisement in a local shop offering to be a bridesmaid at other people’s weddings. Soon she has several offers, meets some lovely couples and even becomes a minor celebrity for renting herself out.

One of the weddings is for a same sex couple. That wouldn’t have been possible in our younger days! When I explain this to my granddaughter she will probably think we lived in a strangely conservative world. It was also a world where solo parents were, unlike today, few and far in between.

Apparently parents complained to Jacqueline Wilson that there were not enough good dads in her stories. So in Rent a Bridesmaid she created a solo Dad who is involved in his daughter’s life in a supportive and loving way. But Tilly’s Mother is the opposite. She hardly bothers to stay in touch with her daughter.

Jaqueline Wilson never shies away from the darker side of life. She feels that children who live in happy families will learn through her books that life isn’t so rosy for some, and this will hopefully help them to become more tolerant and have more empathy. And children who are having a difficult time at home will realise they are not alone.

Rent a Bridesmaid is a touching story about friendship and family dynamics. It is recommended for girls 9 years and up. The illustrations by Nick Sharratt are charming. And it’s a sizeable read so will keep my 10 year old granddaughter happily occupied for quite a while in the holidays.

Author:  Title: Rent a bridesmaid Author: Jaqueline Wilson Imprint: Doubleday Children’s RRP $35

Hats to Knit front (1)Hats to Knit

My indomitable Dutch grandmother, who had fiery red hair right into her eighties, made us sit down and learn how to knit on 4 needles when we were young.

This was not for fun; it was a way of saving money. Knitted socks and gloves were a lot cheaper than buying them in those days. I loathed it! Still I have her to thank for making me persevere and completing one sock.

When I was that age I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that my granddaughters would want me to teach them to knit a beanie on four needles for fun. Beanies are a fashion statement right now!

We will be working from Hats to Knit by Gillian Whalley-Torckler. This is a great resource for first time as well as experienced knitters with 27 stylish knitting designs for simple beanies, berets and more structured head gear.

Most are made from double knitting wool and knitted in the round. Gillian lists the kind of wool she used for each hat but challenges us to be adventurous with colour and fibre and says you can always pull it out and start again on the rare occasion that it doesn’t look great.

Also included are some rather gorgeous patterns for knitted flower brooches including a daisy, an arum lily, a poinsettia and sunflower which you can you can interchange on any hat, or use separately as a scarf pin or to dress up a jacket.

I haven’t knitted on four needles since my grandmother was alive and I’m feeling rather rusty but I’m hopeful we can work it out between us. If we get stuck on basic techniques there are plenty of YouTube videos on the net.

I am leaving it up the girls which hat they want to attempt although it will have to be one of the easy ones such as the chocolate wrap, the candy swirl beret or the green swirl cloche. It’s hopefully going to be a fun way to spend some time with them in the holidays and a chance to share a few stories with them about my grandmother,

Title: Hats to Knit Author: Gillian Whalley-Torckler Publisher: Bateman RRP $34.99

By Lyn Potter. Read more here.