In the week before the autumn school holidays I went into the junior classes at Green Bay Primary and read them the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards picture book finalists. This is what they thought of Mister Whistler:
While 95% of children thought Mister Whistler dancing in his underpants was the funniest bit, the readings were also accentuated by giggles as to the obvious whereabouts of the ticket. The children especially liked the bendy lines of Mister Whistler dancing as well as the lines of musical notes dancing alongside.
All readings were accompanied by spontaneous whistling concerts, where it soon became apparent that you cannot actually whistle (Careful, spoiler coming up) with a ticket between your teeth. Which makes the title of the book a bit misleading. But nonetheless, this book is definitely a favourite with the children of Green Bay. Almost every time I walked in the school library over the last couple of weeks a teacher surrounded by a cluster of kids was giving a rendition of this musical traveller with the elegant sense of dress and undress and the holey memory.
Margaret Mahy (writer)
Margaret Mahy is one of the world’s best and most famous authors for children and young adults. She was born in Whakatane in 1936, and wrote her first story at the age of seven. She won numerous honours for her books, including the Carnegie Medal (twice), and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for her “lasting contribution to children’s literature”. Her works have been translated into more than 15 languages. Margaret lived in Governor’s Bay until her death in 2012. And in latest news The The New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year Award has just been renamed New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award.
Gavin Bishop (illustrator)
Gavin Bishop is an award-winning children’s picture book writer and illustrator who lives and works in Christchurch, New Zealand. As author and illustrator of nearly 60 books his work ranges from original stories to retellings of Maori myths, European fairy stories, and nursery rhymes. He has exhibited internationally, and won many major awards for his work both in New Zealand and overseas. In 2009 he helped establish the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award to encourage up-and-coming illustrators in New Zealand.