Saturday 21 January 2023


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Annual 3: A miscellany from Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris  {Reviewed by STELLA}
Wrap your eyes around this! The third Annual is a treasure trove of hilarious tales, heartfelt memories, captivating comic strips, and fascinating facts. Not to mention evocations to play scrabble or knit yourself a brain hat, foraging instructions complete with recipes, and how to be a young environmentalist. So it’s still the holidays and the book stack has been depleted. The favourites have been read several times and it’s too hot outside. Maybe, you’re off to spend a few days with your grandparents — they will enjoy dipping into this with you. For me, Kate De Goldi's and Susan Price’s Annuals remind me of school holidays at my Nana and Grandad’s, sifting through the not-so-interesting Bibles to find the Girl’s Own Annuals and the old National Geographics. While these were quaint when even I was a child, they are doubly so now. Annual 3 is anything but quaint. It’s adventurous and thoughtful — a great mix of stuff from some of our best authors and illustrators. Gregory O’Brien and Eve Armstrong discuss art, Art Sang makes a comic strip of Maurice Gee’s 'The Champion', and there’s a diary entry for the campaign (ambition) to be class rep. There are doll stories of very different natures, one about belonging by Henrietta Bollinger, and the other rather more sinister from Airini Beautrais. Austin Milne introduces us to a girl, Holly, who would rather (can’t help but) draw ornate ‘plus’ signs than do equations; dotted throughout is Old Dingus — the ‘uptight’ dad (parents read this as exasperated); and if you are hanging out with friends or siblings you could try out the play, read poetry or board game away with Camp Kuku or practice your te reo with Ben Brown’s crossword puzzle. Aimed at 9—14-year-olds, there is plenty of food here for a hungry mind. If you’re lucky you might rustle up a lunch of kawakawa frittata and maybe Grisela Clarkson’s lovingly illustrated 'Big Spread'. You choose! Daily delights abound in this wonderful miscellany. 

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