Imaginary journeys to share with your grandchildren

The Longdrop front cover LR 1

It is only a few weeks ago that because of the pandemic we were locked in and had to stay home. But now that our team of five million has flattened the curve we can once again go and explore New Zealand although that overseas trip will have to wait for a while.

To whet your appetite for travel, here are three books to share with your grandchildren about journeys and family holidays.

The Longdrop front cover LR 1The Longdrop

This cautionary tale was inspired by a real-life event which once happened to author Joan Joass when she on a summer holiday with her family. When her husband saw there was too much paper in their outside loo, he decided the quickest solution was to light it.

In The Longdrop the Jackson family have bought a section by the beach, put an old caravan on it, bought deckchairs and installed a rain tank. They have everything they need to have a great beach holiday but there is just one problem, the public toilets are too far away, and when you’ve got to go distance matters!

Dad, the handyman decides to build one himself with 6-inch nails, some four-by-two and corrugated- iron sheets. He has even found an old white toilet seat.

But first a hole has to be dug. It needs to be eight feet deep but when his back gets sore and his hands start to ache, he calls it a day and stops at four. A big mistake, because before too long the dunny has filled up with paper. What to do now?

Dad has a bright idea, lights a match, and drops it in but with dire consequences. He did not realise that each time you do a ‘number two’ you make methane gas which is highly explosive close to a flame.

The moral of this funny story is that if you must tackle a job yourself do not take shortcuts. For a dunny you have to dig deep!

Well known NZ Illustrator and cartoonist Bob Darroch was the perfect choice to illustrate this book. His humorous illustrations capture the whacky drama as it unfolds perfectly. A book for pre-schoolers who love a bit of toilet humour.

The Longdrop is by Joan Joass.Illustrated by Bob Darroch. Publisher Oratia Books. RRP $19,99.

Elastic Island Alphabet Resort CoverElastic Island Adventures: Alphabet Resort

Elastic Island Adventures: Alphabet Resort is the fourth in a series of action adventure stories by popular New Zealand author Karen McMillan.

Children who have read the previous three books will be delighted that the four children, Kiri, Jed, twins Emma and Ethan as well as Blong the cat, have once again boarded ‘The Elastic Island’. This small sandy island with 16 palm trees sends them pinging across the Pacific Ocean to a new destination, the Alphabet Resort where they have been invited to attend the wedding of King Shiny and Princess Topaz. All the buildings here are called after famous children’s authors including two from New Zealand, Margaret Mahy and Sophie Sears.

Soon after arrival the children get involved in some matchmaking between Wombo, a terribly shy and awkward Wombat bachelor and Whitney, an alluring lady Wombat.

They also have a chance to catch up with old friends including Princess Makana and Mrs Quokka whose many illogical words of wisdom constantly annoy Ethan.

Then disaster strikes! At the Royal Highness Rehearsal Dinner Princess Topaz is kidnapped and made invisible.

The chase is on to find the kidnapper. To everyone’s surprise Wombo the Wombat shows a real talent for solving some of the riddles the kidnapper left behind.

The question is: will they be able to rescue Princess Topaz in time for the wedding?

Like the other books in this series this new Elastic Island Adventure story is well told with Karen McMillan’s usual quirky sense of humour and would be a jolly good read for 6-12-year olds.

Elastic Island Adventures: Alphabet Resort is by Karen McMillan, Publisher: Duckling Publishing. RRP $19.99

My New Red Car 2My New Red Car

Auckland writer and illustrator David Minty wrote this story to amuse his two small sons while on his way to work.

It is a little tale about two comical little square shaped creatures with beady eyes. One has a new red car. He was sure he had parked it by the side of the road, but it has vanished.

His friend helps him to look for it and to their horror they discover a trail of destruction. A red car has been squashed, one has been left dangling in power lines and another was set on fire. Each time his friend thinks this car could be the new red car but there is always a reason why the answer is no.

Whoever could have created such carnage? At last they discover the culprit, a fearsome Greedy Grabber with an insatiable appetite. Not only has he devoured the new red car, but he swallows the two friends as well and they find themselves in its dark and cavernous stomach. Now they must find a way out to save themselves and extricate the car.

There is a happy, albeit smelly ending and they can now get back into the new red car and continue on their journey. I’d rather like to think they are off on a roadie to discover New Zealand.

As well as the very simply told amusing and only slightly scary story, the brightly coloured illustrations and rhythmical dialogue help to make it a Picture Book which will appeal to small boys and will make them laugh.

My New Red Car is by David Minty. RRP $19.95. www.mintybooks.co.nz

Reviews by Lyn Potter

Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook

Read more by Lyn here.