From our reviewers: Children's books

From The Southland Times book reviewers.

Mangu & Ma 
By Megan Bowers-Vette (HarperCollins, RRP $15)

Reviewed by Naida Mulligan

This board book is perfect for little hands, the black-and-white pictures and backgrounds also providing excellent focus and stimuli opportunities for tinies.

It is a superb gift for babies but even Aedan at 14 months is intrigued by the art.

He loves all of the photographs but his favourites are the baby with the soccer balls, and the buttons. He gabbles away and tries to pick up the items and feel their texture.

Subtitled A real-life first-focus book for little Kiwis, the book is full of Kiwiana, from the gumboots on the front to the football on the back.

Megan Bowers-Vette is a 32-year-old mother of one, also a commercial and fine-art photographer with an interest in Pasifika and New Zealand, so it is no wonder that this book eventuated from her time as being a new mum.

Highly recommended.

Yucky Mucky, by Malanie Drewery and Trevor Pye
Big Mac, by Karen and Samantha Lane
That Dog at the Beach! by Janene Cooper and Evie Kemp
(All published by Duck Creek Press, RRP $30 each)

Reviewed by Jillian Allison-Aitken

These hard-cover gems are cute and quirky stories that are sure to be a hit with the littlies.

In Yucky Mucky, it's bath-time and as a dad tries his best to get his little girl into the bath, she is more interested in playing with her paints and getting ever more mucky.

Author Melanie Drewery has plenty of street cred in the world of children's books, being named a finalist in the NZ Post Children's Book Awards in 2005 with Koro's Medicine and taking out the big prize three years later with the very cute Tahi: One Lucky Kiwi.

Trevor Pye's illustrations perfectly balance the engaging story and the end result is something that will appeal to the little folk and the mums and dads who get to read the story to them.

Big Mac is also sure to become a favourite, with its tale of very hungry (and very big) cat Big Mac.

This is actually the true story of a stray ginger cat who was rescued from a life on the streets and is now settled in with his new family. He likes his breakfast early in the day and this is the story of his antics as he tries to coerce his adopted family into his way of thinking.

The mother-and-daughter team of Karen (author) and Sam Lane (illustrator) have done a great job with this one.

That Dog at the Beach! is the sequel to the award-winning A Dog Like That! and follows the story of a little girl and her some what naughty but loyal dog who really isn't like other dogs.

Anyone who has ever been a pet-owner-slave will understand the appeal of this one.

At $30 a pop, these might seem a little pricey but you are getting good-quality, hard-cover books that will stand the test of time.