Monday, May 18, 2009

Piano rock by Gavin Bishop

Piano Rock, A 1950s Childhood by Gavin Bishop

This book has been beautifully illustrated and written, and is a finalist for the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards this year. I spent a lovely evening with it last night. The book feels great to hold, the paper is nice and thick, and the print large. For anybody who had a country up-bringing this book will have lots of little reminders of your childhood. I grew up in Alexandra, not very far from Kingston, where the book is set, and found that the stories of cold mornings getting dressed by the fire, building huts in pinetrees, washing being done in the copper, walking for miles to a friend's place and stories featuring box brownies, drives on winding unsealed roads that made you feel sick and catching crawlies (or yabbies as they were in my house) in the streams and ponds, really rang true.

It is easy to read, and will appeal to lots of people young and old, and teachers would be able to use it to talk to classes about old ways and how New Zealand has changed since the 1950s. I'm going to lend the book to my parents who I think will love it. It has an old fashioned feel and is full of nostalgia, especially the artwork which is just great. An real treasure of a book. Will it appeal to the boys, well certainly not all of them, but for some it would start a great conversation with parents or grandparents.

Ms Schaumann

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