How does the Giraffe get to Work?


Did you know the zoo animals go home to suburbia at night when the zoo closes? Yes siree. And they return to work the next day just like anybody else! That’s the premise of How Does the Giraffe get to Work? by Christopher Llewelyn, illustrated by Scott Tulloch.

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Mrs McGinty and The Bizarre Plant

Mrs McGinty

These were the last set of school holidays before my youngest daughter started school. So the opportunity to take my now three primary aged school kids to a bonafide stage show as a treat before she started school was simply too good to miss.

I must admit that this sentiment was completely lost on my three youngsters – scrapping and yelling and carrying on as usual the entire journey to Takapuna’s Bruce Mason Theatre. This was however cut short upon arrival and their faces turned to that of awe – particularly as we entered the amazing theatre.

My kids have been to a handful of stage shows before, but the fact that this was real live people and not moving pictures on a screen reminded me again that a show never loses its novelty. And all three of them were completely entranced from the outset.

None of us had ever actually read the original iconic story of Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant, so the plot itself was new to all of us. This made the experience no less exciting and it also meant my kids had no prejudice to the plot or actors.

The story is set in Christchurch – complete with the Edmonds (as in baking) factory – in the garden of a modest but beautifully kept bungalow where Mrs McGinty lives a very solitary life with her beloved cabbages. The local kids wreak havoc on her precious garden with their vivacious and imaginative games, putting a strain on neighbourhood relationships. But after Mrs McGinty purchases a very peculiar plant at the local market from a couple of hilarious stall holders, the plant subsequently reveals some very ‘bizarre’ qualities and she is welcomed not just back into her local community but as a nationwide celebrity.

The actors did a marvellous job with just the right amount of pantomime and audience involvement – literally having an almost capacity crowd of five-to-twelve-year-olds eating out of the palm of their hand. My personal favourite part had to be the market stall holders with their never-ending puns! So cheesy it was actually funny – but that’s just me. My children were particularly taken with the amazing plant set design itself, and the fact there were grown-ups pretending to be kids riding kids bikes around on stage!? Outrageous!

For a $15 a piece price tag I would definitely recommend this as a weather-proof, fully entertaining school holiday treat for the family. And with the location of the theatre literally across the road from picturesque Takapuna beach and a range of cafés; we made the trip to Takapuna into a day’s adventure and (hopefully) created some lasting memories.

I’m thinking it may even be a good incentive to curb the scrapping and yelling in the future…

Jess Daniell – My Underground Kitchen


Recipes From New Zealand’s Favourite ‘Underground’ Kitchen. It all started by word of mouth among friends, and now everyone is talking about this hip home-cook and her thriving underground business. The talented foodie behind Jess’ Underground Kitchen, Jess Daniell, makes delicious home-cooked meals for Kiwis all over Auckland who pick them up from ‘secret’ locations. Now the secret is out, as Jess shares her most loved recipes in this, her very first cookbook. With Paleo and gluten free variations, and all easily achievable, Jess’s food is fresh, healthy, flavour-packed and easy to prepare.

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Pig the Pug


When Pig’s friend Trevor comes over to play, Pig doesn’t want to share his toys. He likes to hoard them in the corners and leave Trevor to fend for himself. But Pig learns a lesson with this kind of behaviour, and everything turns around by the end.

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Taming the Tiger Parent


Mozart in the womb, Baby Einstein DVD’s for newborns and i-pad learning apps for toddlers. From the moment the umbilical cord is cut, today’s parents feel trapped in a never-ending race to ensure their child is the brightest and the best. But while it’s completely natural for us to want our kids to reach their potential, at what point does too much competition become damaging? With constant testing in schools also raising the stakes, how can we tell when hot-housing children is actually doing more harm than good? In Taming the Tiger Parent, award-winning journalist and parenting author Tanith Carey presents the latest research on what this contest is doing to the next generation.

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Roly the Anzac Donkey


Who doesn’t love a great story about a real kiwi hero? Such is the story told in Roly the Anzac Donkey, which retells the events experienced by Richard Henderson, who was a school teacher from Grey Lynn and also a medic during the Gallipoli landings alongside his faithful donkey, Roly.

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Improv for Kids

Improv for kids

Improv for Kids
The Improvisors
Circa Theatre, Wellington
7 -18 April (no Sunday performance)
$10 per person

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Disney Frozen: Sticker Scenes


THE MAGIC OF ICE with Disney Frozen! Anna and Elsa discover where their hearts lie in this epic journey through snowstorms and freezing temperatures. With the help of new friends, Anna searches for her sister, Elsa, so they can bring summer back to Arendelle. Use your stickers to complete the frosty scenes from the magical movie. Includes: 50+ stickers Ages: 3+

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Kiwi Moon (Capital E)


A little white kiwi thinks the moon might be his mother because it is white and bright and round like him. Prepare to snuffle and shuffle through the forest floor, hula with the huhu grubs, watch out for the wekas, and calypso with the handsome kakapo in this charming tale of one little white kiwi’s quest to find his place in an often strange and sometimes dangerous world. Kiwi Moon is Capital E National Theatre for Children’s brand new production of Gavin Bishop’s iconic New Zealand story.

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The Painted Cake

The Painted Cake review

If you’ve looked at an amazing sugarpaste or buttercream cake creation and wondered how on earth you could replicate it for a special occasion, perhaps this method of cake decorating might be more up your alley. British woman Natasha Collins is apparently well known in the cake-decorating community as the expert in cake painting. She demonstrates how to create The Painted Cake in her new book. The how-to guides take you through how to ‘transform cakes, cookies and cupcakes into edible works of art’.

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