A section of artwork from new children’s book sensation Skunk & Badger, by Amy Timberlake (Illustration: Jon Klassen)
A section of artwork from new children’s book sensation Skunk & Badger, by Amy Timberlake (Illustration: Jon Klassen)

BooksNovember 27, 2020

The Unity Books children’s bestseller chart for the month of November

A section of artwork from new children’s book sensation Skunk & Badger, by Amy Timberlake (Illustration: Jon Klassen)
A section of artwork from new children’s book sensation Skunk & Badger, by Amy Timberlake (Illustration: Jon Klassen)

What’s the best way to get adults reading? Get them reading when they’re children – and there’s no better place to start than the Unity Children’s Bestseller Chart.

AUCKLAND

1  Skunk & Badger by Amy Timberlake & Jon Klassen (Allen & Unwin, $26, 4+)

“One of the best books I’ve read all year … absolutely gorgeous … a sweet little hardback which has got beautiful pictures throughout … incredibly funny” – Hera Lindsay Bird on RNZ

Tweeting the image above, illustrator Jon Klassen (the I Want My Hat Back guy) explained: “when i did the drawing for this jacket i realized that Badger’s sight line was a little off, like he was looking over Skunk instead of at him, but then i left it cause it’s funnier, like he’s already at “how did this guy even get in here'”

Lizard’s Tale by Weng Wai Chan (Text Publishing $21, 9-13)

Know that if you walk into Little Unity there is a very high chance of walking out with this one – Briar, handseller extraordinaire, adores it. It won the junior fiction category at this year’s children’s book awards, too, and our reviewer Sam Brooks found it pretty delightful.

3  Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary by Kat Quin & Pania Papa (Illustrated Publishing, $35, all ages)

PSA: the Kuwi story books are bloody wonderful, and maybe more fun for the younger kids.

4  Hare Pota me Whatu Manupou by JK Rowling, translated by Leon Blake (Kotahi Rau Pukapuka, $25, 9+)

A te reo translation of Harry Potter.

5  Numbers, Colours, Opposites, Shapes and Me! by Ingela P. Arrhenius (Walker, $30, 2+)

Pop-ups.

6  Birds of New Zealand: Collective Nouns / Ngā Manu o Aotearoa: Ngā Kupuingoa tōpū by Melissa Boardman (HarperCollins, $30, 6+)

“A plodding of yellow-eyed penguins / He āmaranga hoiho.”

7  Mophead by Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press $25, 5+)

Perfect.

See also: Mophead Tu, the brand-new sequel, which is no doubt equally flawless.

8  The 130-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Macmillan Children’s Books, $18, 5+)

It’s easy to be snobby about slapstick junior fiction but books like this (it’s the 10th in the mega-bestselling series) are a godsend when your kid’s losing interest in reading and even lovely cosy bedtime stories have started to feel fraught.

9  Egg & Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook by Alexandra Tylee & Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press, $40, 8+)

By far the best kids’ recipe book on the market.

10 Nōu te Ao, e Hika e! by Dr Seuss, translated by Karena Kelly (Kotahi Rau Pukapuka, $30, all ages)

A te reo translation of Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

WELLINGTON

1  Hare Pota me Whatu Manupou by JK Rowling, translated by Leon Blake (Kotahi Rau Pukapuka, $25, 9+)

2  Skunk & Badger by Amy Timberlake & Jon Klassen (Allen & Unwin, $26, 4+)

3  The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charles Macksey (Ebury Press, $40, all ages)

Sweet sketches, via Instagram.

10 Nōu te Ao, e Hika e! by Dr Seuss, translated by Karena Kelly (Kotahi Rau Pukapuka, $30, all ages)

5  The Pōrangi Boy by Shilo Kino (Huia Publishers, $25, 9+)

The first book by journalist Shilo Kino, who wrote about its origins for us here.

6  Tu Meke Tuatara by Malcolm Clarke, illustrated by Flox (Mary Egan, $30, 4+)

The pictures are glorious, of course – it’s Flox! – and aesthetically this would be a gorgeous gift. And the story is sweet, with a subtle dose of wisdom. Unfortunately, the writing is not quite up to scratch. For example, precious words are wasted with filler like “by the name of”. And if your kid’s anything like mine they’ll be perpetually perplexed about a ruru and a tuatara being up during the daytime.

7  Code Name Bananas by David Walliams (HarperCollins, $25, 4+)

Yes, well. Walliams.

8  Egg & Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook by Alexandra Tylee & Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press, $40, 8+)

9  Treasure Beyond Measure: A Collective Noun Safari by Helen Griffiths and Simon Chadwick (Bandana Bard, $20, 5+) 

Via Stuff:

“The book itself promises to get children excited about language and the wonderful world of words, says Helen.

‘It’s really a celebration of language, all these marvellous words we have and can use. It also has a conservation element to it, it will help make children think about the world they are in and the animals we share the world with.’

Helen is a trained speech therapist, and says lockdown gave her the push to get the book finished.”

10 The 130-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Macmillan Children’s Books, $18, 5+)

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

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