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The week before Christmas…and…the night before Christmas!

Twas the Week Before Christmas

A Holiday Recollection

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas and all through the house
Nothing was ready, which bothered my spouse.

The stockings weren’t hung – they were still in the attic.
(My neighbor’s were up, but then she’s a fanatic!)

The children were all flying in in three days.
Which is why I was praying for long flight delays,

While hoping they’d manage, somehow, to adapt
To the fact that their gifts were unbought and unwrapped.

My tree seemed to lean at a precarious angle,
Unadorned, wih its lights on the floor in a tangle.

I hadn’t bought groceries or baked any pies.
I meant to of course, but oh my how time flies!

My Christmas card envelopes still weren’t addressed,
And my white linen tablecloth hadn’t been pressed.

At Christmas I’m usually more energetic,
But this year I was gloomy and quite apathetic.

This procrastination was really insane,
This putting things off had caused a migraine.

So I downed Ibuprofen and curled up in bed
While visions of shopping malls danced in my head.

When out from the den there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter!

Away through the kitchen I flew like a flash,
Tripped on an old house shoe, and knocked over the trash.

When what with my wondering eyes did I see
But a mess that was caused by no one but me.

A huge box of ornaments, trinkets and more
Had spilled all its contents out on the floor.

Oh why had I placed it so high on that shelf?
I cried when I saw it, in spite of myself.

A major disaster was this one – and how!
Well dash it all, dash it all, dash it all now.

There was nothing to do now but clean up the mess,
How long it would take me was anyone’s guess.

I might as well tackle the job, and I knew it,
So I poured me some cocoa and got myself to it.

I’ll start with this tinsel, I said with a shrug,
Its glitter’s embedding itself in my rug!

As I wound up the silvery stuff round my finger
I found myself pausing a bit, just to linger

Recalling my Mamma’s aluminum tree
With its rotating light wheel in colors of three!

I next picked up ornaments many years old
Of dried macaroni, spray painted gold.

These preschool creations so clunky and brittle
Were gifts from my children, back when they were little.

I picked the next ornament up and I tarried,
Twas on our small tree the first year we were married.

It was made out of plastic (we hadn’t much money)
But we hung it together, just me and my honey.

I then saw our manger scene under the table
Mary and Joseph and the crude little stable.

I’ll never forget what a tempest was tossed
The year baby Jesus was mysteriously lost.

He seemed to have vanished right into thin air!
I know, for believe me – we looked everywhere!

In toy chests, in closets, in pockets and sofas,
In Cheerios boxes and old penny loafas.

We searched high and low til at last he was found
Asleep in the doll house, safe and sound.

A letter to Santa with Lauren’s wish list
In 5-year-old scribble caused my eyes to mist.

A few tacky knickknacks I should have re-gifted,
But with each decoration my poor spirits lifted.

Who knew such a chore could bring me such pleasure?
Each item I touched held a memory to treasure.

So what if the tree was still naked and bare?
If I didn’t make mincemeat would anyone care?

Who cared if the stockings remained in the attic?
(Well, maybe my neighbor, you know – the fanatic.)

Though the stuff still remained on the floor where it scattered,
I now had the secret of what really mattered.

So next time the holidays have you all stressed,
Revisit your memories – I’m sure you’ll be blessed.

May your days all be merry, and joyful and bright;
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!




What’s on? Kids activities during Summer 2018/19.

 “The Amazing Read” Summer Reading Programme  for children 2 to 10 years

The programme runs from 3 December 2018 to 18 January 2019. There are still places available. Parents must register the child*.

Children are required to do a short verbal summary (‘report-in’) of a library book to library staff or volunteers, who will discuss and encourage. Reports are limited to one report at a time, and up to two in any one week (e.g. one report on two different days).  Rural children may report via email (written) if they are unable to visit the library. Children receive a small incentive gift after each report, and may complete a fifth bonus report if they wish.  At the end of the programme, each child who has completed four reports, is invited to our Finale to receive a certificate, free book, and enjoy some entertainment.


iRead “Reading Adventure” Programme  for children school Year 7 or 8

The programme runs from 3 December 2018 to 18 January 2019. There are still places available.  Parents or children may book a place*.  Kids are required to do written reviews of library books that they have read (at their current reading level and ability). A booklet is provided for this. Library staff or volunteers assess these reports; for every three reviews, kids can select one new book as a reward (up to 4 books), and also earn auction vouchers. There are extra challenges throughout the programme to earn more auction vouchers. Everyone who completes at least three reviews can use their vouchers to bid on prizes at the Finale.  * You can book by telephone or email too – as long as the paperwork is completed before the programme starts. 


Little Dog Barking Theatre Group – “Twinkle” suited for children aged two to eight. Duration is 45 minutes.

  •  Dannevirke Library :    9 January 1.30pm
  •  Woodville Library :       9 January 10.30am
  •  Eketahuna Library :    14 January 3.15pm
  •  Pahiatua Library :       15 January 10.30am

Kids learn to knit before winter!  Dannevirke Library only:


Zappo – magician extraodinaire!

One of the best children’s entertainners in NZ. Don’t miss this amazing free performance.

  •  Eketahuna Library :   Tuesday 8 January 2019 –  3.15pm to 4.15pm
  •  Pahiatua Library :      Wednesday 9 January 2019  – 10.30am to 11.30am
  •  Woodville Library :    Tuesday 15 January 2019  –  2pm to 3pm
  •  Pahiatua Library :      Tuesday 15 January 2019  –  4pm to 5pm

The impossible boy

‘The Impossible Boy’ by Leonie Agnew is set in an undisclosed European country in the midst of civil war. Six year old Benjamin is caught in a train explosion and his parents have disappeared and quite possibly died. Ben has an older childhood friend, Vincent, who takes him under his wing and finds an orphanage for him to live in. However, Vincent is mysteriously different. He is not possible. The orphanage is overcrowded with children to the point where as soon as they turn fourteen a child must leave and take their chances on the wartorn streets.

‘The Impossible Boy’ tells how the children cope with extreme stress and hardship. They resort to criminal activities in order to survive. It is a story of adversity, courage, friendship and belief.

Written for Year 7/8 and older children (11+), this story is disturbing, thought provoking and, above all, an amazing read. And yes, it does have a satisfying ending.

PS (The Impossible Boy won the David Fickling Master of the Inkpot Award 2015 and the Storylines Notable Book Award 2017)


New movies

Our library has a wide selection of DVDs for members to rent.  Yes, it’s a bit old-fashioned in these days of streaming, however, in a District of many rural residents, not everyone has access to unlimited internet – and so we still have a DVD collection!    Some of the new DVDs we’ve purchased lately:

The Winchester – starring Helen Mirren, this movie is based on the true story of the widow, Sarah Winchester, who inherited the vast Winchester (repeating rifle) fortune.

During her lifetime, Sarah built a mansion, but she never stopped building. At one point it had seven stories with 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms (one completed and one unfinished) as well as 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys, two basements and three elevators. According to the movie, Sarah was haunted by the victims of the Winchester rifle, and the only way to lay the ghosts to rest was to rebuild the room they died in, to assist them to cross over. Once that ghost was gone, the room would be boarded up or remodelled for the next one.  In the film, a pyschiatrist has been employed to assess Sarah’s mental state, in a bid to take over the Winchester company. He stays in the residence for a time and is thoroughly frightened by the experiences. In my opinion, it’s only the presence of Helen Mirren that saves this movie. It has a few small frights, and plenty of potential, but never quite reaches the level of horror it could have. At least I learned a bit of history! 6/10


I, Tonya – as a fan of figure skating (and being old enough to remember the scandal involving Tonya Harding) I was quite keen to watch this.  It was illuminating as a biography of Tonya Harding, as I hadn’t realised quite what a difficult life she’d had, but I really didn’t enjoy it much. It wasn’t really drama but it wasn’t comedy either, in my opinion. 5/10

Jumanji, Welcome to the jungle – what a rip-roaring adventure comedy!  Set in the modern day as a semi-sequel to the original Jumanji starring Robin Williams, this movie catapaults some teens into the game (instead of the game into this world, as previously). The kids become avatars, and have only five lives to spend in their efforts to get out, or they will be trapped there forever. Very funny. Highly recommended for the whole family.  8.5/10

Downsizing – in a world where the population has grown out of control, a scientist has discovered how to miniaturise people!  Therefore, whole miniature cities can be populated by miniature people, saving Earths resources and ultimately, the human race. In my opinion, this movie disguised a serious commentary on human nature in the guise of a comedy drama. It was sad at times, particularly when Matt Damon’s character is left stranded in his new miniature life when his wife fails to complete her miniaturisation procedure. It was interesting, and had a few funny moments, and a few touching moments, but to me it seemed like a film that didn’t quite know what it wanted to achieve.   Overall, 5/10.

Mission Impossible : Fallout – Ethan Hunt and his team are in another race against time in this unrelenting action movie. Incredible stunts.  9/10.



The Breaker Upperers – two women have created a small business assisting people to break up with their significant others.  But things get a little complicated … Hilarious NZ film.  8/10

If you have a movie or TV series that you’d like to suggest we purchase, remember you can do so from our website (see the ‘submit a suggestion’ button on the left column) or using the tab on this blog.

Bastion Point: 507 days on Takaparawha

This is one of the ‘My New Zealand Story’ series. Each book is written as a fictional diary of a young person living during an important event or time period in New Zealand history.

Erica has plans for the summer. She will be spending the holidays training and caring for her horse ‘Silver’. However, her parents decide they will join the occupation of Takaparawha. We follow events, as they happen, in Erica’s diary. She is annoyed, frustrated and cannot understand why everybody seems determined to wreck her life. However, she is also a considerate, respectful and intelligent young lady and, as the occupation continues, Erica begins to understand and be proud of the reasons behind the occupation.

Most of New Zealand watched this event unfold through the media, through the eyes of the politicians. Though the expression ‘fake news’ has sprung into common usage recently, tall tales masquerading as fact have been around for a very long time. Erica’s diary tells us how it really was.

A very interesting read, it made me want to revisit New Zealand’s history of that time.  It was a finalist in the Junior Fiction category of the 2017 Zealand Book Awards for Children.

Highly recommended.


Summer Reading Programmes for Kids – Dec 2018

Summer Reading Programmes for children & tweens aged 2 – 12 years. Two separate programmes as detailed below.
The programmes are designed to stimulate children to read, with their caregivers involvement, and to develop their communication skills, confidence and self-esteem.

The programmes run from 3 December 2018 to 18 January 2019.

REGISTRATIONS ARE OPEN FROM 26 NOVEMBER 2018 – fill out the form at your local library or book a place by phone/email & complete paperwork later
. Places are limited. Parents must register the child for SRP but children can register themselves for iREad.

 “The Amazing Read” Summer Reading Programme for children aged 2 to 10 . 

The “Amazing Read”  requires children to do a short verbal summary (‘report-in’) of a library book to library staff or volunteers, who will discuss and encourage.  E.g. 5-10 minutes.  Each report earns the child a small incentive gift.

Reports are limited to one report at a time, and up to two in any one week (e.g. one report on two different days).  Reports can be done by email if the child lives remotely or at other participating libraries along the East Coast if you’re going away.

Children receive a small incentive gift after each report, and may complete a fifth bonus report if they wish.  At the end of the programme, each child who has completed four reports or more, is invited to our Finale to receive a certificate, free book, and enjoy some entertainment.

Places are limited so make sure you do your enrolment from 26 Nov.

iRead “Power to Read” for children in Year 7 and 8  (11 & 12 years)

Kids are required to do written reviews of library books that they have read (at their current reading level and ability). A programme booklet is provided for this.

Library staff or volunteers assess these reports; for every three reviews, kids can select one new book as a reward (up to 4 books), and also earn auction vouchers. There are extra challenges throughout the programme to earn more auction vouchers.

Everyone who completes at least three reviews can use their vouchers to bid on awesome prizes at the Finale.


For more information contact or telephone your local library:

  • · Dannevirke Library ph 06 374 4255
  • · Pahiatua Library ph 06 376 0121
  • · Woodville Library ph 06 376 0218
  • · Eketahuna Library ph 06 375 0219

You can get “Out of the woods” of depression!

‘Out of the woods’ is a graphic novel (comic), by New Zealander Brent Williams, and is an excellent book to share either with those possibly suffering depression or to learn about it, if you know someone who is affected. It’s easy to follow, few words … so this makes reading it achievable if you are depressed and have no motivation or energy to read.  Or if someone is perhaps not that good at reading, they will be able to glean the storyline from the excellent artworks.  

It’s based on the true story of Brent Williams, who suffered severe depression in his 40’s.  Fortunately, he was able to find his way out of it with help, but the story shows how he was very resistant to believing it was a mental health issue at all, and then asking for help with it … something that many New Zealanders do, particularly males.   For this reason, it is also a good book for someone who might not believe they have depression – they might recognise themselves in these pages.

Highly recommended.


Out of the Woods – A Journey Through Depression and Anxiety has won a silver medal at the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Awards at a ceremony in Texas in April 2018.

Other graphic novels in our catalogue

The New Zealand division : Western Front 1916-1918

“From the uttermost ends of the Earth : the New Zealand Division on the Western Front 1916-1918” by John Gray

This book had the possibility of being something great…unfortunately it didn’t quite make it. It’s not however the books fault but how it’s sold and portrayed to the reader. I was looking for a book of military history  with a little bit of the authors travels through what would become the battlefields of Europe. What I read (and this may just be my interpretation) was a book of a person’s travels through the battlefields of Europe coloured with a little bit of history.

Don’t get me wrong (well you can if you like, I am a male). There have been a lot of these books showing peoples  travels through various battlefields of the world and they can be very interesting, but that is not what I was looking for. The author would tell us where he was going, how to get there and little information on the importance of the spot. To me it reads too much like a Jason’s or Lonely Planet guide.

This book does have some merit.  Anyone planning a trip and around this area could find it a god send. It’s beautifully illustrated and to be fair, it is written from the author’s personal experiences which should always be taken into account. However, at the end of the day, if this was a book to learn about the history and experiences of World War 1, then it’s a bit of a let-down.

I’d love to know your opinion on this – I will gladly reread it with renewed eyes if someone else will open them!



Commemorative Armistice Coin 2018

Te Ara – First World War

Other books about the Western Front

What’s on? November 2018

You may also like to follow our Facebook page to keep up with events/dates, or visit our website.

Dannevirke Library

Stepping Up is a FREE class that builds your digital skills and knowledge in small easy steps. A friendly library tutor will be there to help you. Each module takes two hours, in a relaxed and sociable format using our public computers.

The modules on offer are listed below:


1 November – Microsoft Word session 1
8 November – Microsoft Word session 2
15 November – Email session 1
22 November – Email session 2
29 November – Spark Jump (for families with no internet)
6 December – Computer basics

Classes are limited to 6 participants so you must book in. Either contact the library, or visit the website to register. To find out more, talk to your friendly librarians. Ph 06 374 4255.                               PS: Stepping Up is also offered at Pahiatua Library through Wairarapa Reap – please contact Reap.


NEW:  Knit & natter (Dannevirke Library)

Kath Mulinder

Learn how to knit or crochet with instructor Kath Mulinder.
Beginning Wednesday 7 November 1.30pm to 3pm, and every Wednesday thereafter (adults only)
Free lessons, just bring 4mm/size 8 knitting needles or crochet hook, and some yarn/wool.
Everyone is welcome (men and women). Adults only.
Yak & Yarn (Woodville Library)
Every Friday at 1.30 to 3pm, join the ladies from CWI to knit and crochet. Beginners or experienced, all welcome.
Work on projects together, share your knowledge, meet some people!
NEW: Family Tree Goup (Eketahuna Library)
Have you ever wanted to research your family history? We want to help you get started! Stop putting it off, come along and discover your past. We would love to see you.

First meeting Thur 8 November 2018 1pm, then 6 December and 10 January.  Please follow our Facebook page to keep up with dates, or visit our website.

Our public computers will be reserved for you, so you are guaranteed access to (which is free at the library) or whatever site you like, so you can research your family history. Or if you have had experience doing your tree, please come along and share your knowledge and tips.



NEW: Eketahunian Writers Guild (Eketahuna)

A monthly group for writers of all levels and abilities.
Whether you’ve written a novel already, or just have aspirations, this group is for you.
All welcome!
November 14th at 1pm, then 12 December 1pm.
YOLO children’s book club (Dannevirke, Pahiatua, Eketahuna)
For children aged 8 to 12 years. Discuss books, complete challenges, play games!

Dannevirke : Mon 15 Oct, 5 Nov, 26 Nov, 10 Dec at 4 to 5pm. Led by Nikki Price.

Pahiatua:  Mon 15 Oct, 5 Nov, 26 Nov, 10 Dec at 3.30pm to 4.30pm. Led by Wyn Davidson.

Eketahuna : Thursday 1 Nov, 22 Nov (3rd theme), 6 Dec 2018 at 3:15 to 4.00pm.

Themes (do these before the meeting)

1st meeting: Read a book about witches, wizards or dragons.

2nd meeting: Read a book from the “You Choose” series  (not Eketahuna)

3rd meeting: Read a book with a boring cover.

Last meeting: Finale – games/prizes.

Little Ears storytime (Dannevirke, Pahiatua, Eketahuna, Woodville)

Little Ears is a free weekly story-time programme for pre-schoolers held during term time. Children can have fun joining in with songs and movement, learning rhymes, having stories read to them, and making small craft to take home. Everyone is welcome but caregivers must stay with the children. This is a great way for you and your child to make new friends, as well as introducing your child to books.  

  Dannevirke Library – Mondays 9:30 to 10am

  Pahiatua Library – Tuesdays 10.30 to 11am

  Woodville Library – Wednesdays 10.30 to 11am

  Eketahuna Library – Tuesdays 11 to 11.30am

  (only during school term time)

A mass shooting in a movie theatre…

It’s been a while since I read a Nora Roberts novel, and as soon as I read the blurb of “Shelter in place”, I added it to the top of my reading pile!

Simone, Mi and Tish – best friends, sixteen years of age and waiting for the movie to start. The theatre in the DownEast Mall was busy, as was the mall outside the doors. Families shopping, people laughing and having a good time. Until the shots started, and the screaming began…

The book is divided into sections.  The first part is the shooting itself. How it began, how different people reacted, what the survivors experienced. It was sad, heart breaking and put the reader at the scene. The second part concentrates on several different characters and their lives after the shootings. The aftermath, not just the immediate time following the shooting, shows how this event has shaped their lives. The story does seem to jump around a bit, however it doesn’t matter as it is an integral part of the story.

The third section is a romance that develops between two of the characters, along with a murder-mystery of sorts. We know who did it the whole time, and we see that person’s viewpoint too, it was just a matter of them being caught. This final part reads more like Nora’s regular romance-mystery type stories. The female is artsy and a commitment-phobic girl. The male is a great guy who is trying to win her over. Overall, it was a great book, but there were tough moments. I think Nora did a good job imagining how living through an experience like that would affect the rest of the person’s life.

People are being shaped by events like mass shootings world wide, (at least 288 school shootings in the US since 2009; ​​) and their lives are being altered by surviving. How adaptable a person is to trauma can really alter a person’s perspective, unfortuantely I don’t think we have seen the last of these horrific events and I find myself wondering how it will change – if we are now able to read (in detail) a love story which stems from these events, are we starting to expect this is the norm?



Review: Playing with fire / Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen

This novel is very different than Gerritsens’ usual offerings. Usually she writes thrillers or mysteries, but this title is essentially a love story. Set prior to World War II, in Venice, it’s the story of a young Jewish man who is a marvel with a violin. Nurtured by his grandfather, a music professor, he is encouraged to do a duet with a lovely young woman who plays the cello, so they can enter a prestigious competition.

During their practices, they fall in love. However, by this time the Nazis have instigated the Final Solution and are taking measures against the Jewish people. The young woman tries and fails to save him, but he is sent to a camp, where he is drafted into the commandants orchestra. They play to drown out the screams from the creamatoria, of those not quite dead being burned alive. On the night his love suffers a terrible fate, the man composes a wondrous piece called “Inferno” which is a song of hope and death.

Many years later, a violinist on holiday purchases an old book of music and finds this handwritten score inside. The first time she plays it, her three-year old daughter stabs their cat to death; the second time, she stabs her mother in the leg. Horrified, the woman takes her daughter for tests, even playing a recording of the ‘Inferno’ but there is no further incident. Unable to fully trust her child, the woman determines to find out the history of the music. Meanwhile, her husband is convinced it’s her who is crazy, not the child, and is seeking to have her committed.

Escaping to Europe, the woman traces the history of the piece and discovers that a descendent of the camp Commandant is now an important politician. The existence of ‘Inferno’ proves his grandfathers link to the camp – proves his link to a war criminal – and he will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence. Then comes the twist – it really isn’t the child who has a problem. But I won’t spoil it for you….

This romance is liberally sprinkled with history and musical references. Interestingly, Tess is a violinist herself, and composed ‘Inferno’ for the book, which is available for download on iTunes. The last few chapters were a bit rushed, and the fate of the lovers is dealt with quite briefly. If I’d realised it was a romance, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up, but it did hook me until the end.


The boy behind the curtain … a national treasure

Hi, I’m Muriel Cowan and I’ve been using our library for seventy years. And so I have decided to share with you some of the books I have enjoyed; because they are entertaining, inspiring, insightful and informative.

A book that I’ve read recently that meets all the above is Tim Winton’s ‘The boy behind the curtain’.

Tim Winton is a Western Australian writer, who has an abiding love for his country, its people and the ocean.  (In 1997 he was named an Australian Living Treasure). This book is a compilation of his life story, interspersed with articles about the environment and his progress as a writer. But it’s much more than that. His skill as a writer lifts his prose to the sublime. It is the beauty of his descriptions.

I found I could identify with his life experiences. There seems to be parallels with Kiwi kids of the era. And then there are quirky observations that are pure Australian. And of course, there is his devotion to the surf. I often watch the mood and movements of the sea; but never with the single-mindedness of a surfer, waiting for a break. They seem so still with only their squinted eyes swivelling – a different state of consciousness.

For me, this is truly a top ten book of a lifetime.



Sale time!

Jake in space … far out!

“Jake in Space, Moon Attack” by Candice Lemon-Scott

In the year 4040, after failing his driving test 30 times, 11 year old Jake is sent to remedial space car driving school on the moon. While he was there, when he was sleeping he heard something strange, the door opened and he could not believe his eyes, it was his friend, Henry. He went out onto the moon’s surface, with no space suit on! He follows Henry to a cone shaped hole in the moon’s surface and learns of a plot that would be evil enough to destroy the moon and earth! Jake and his friends must then discover a way to stop the enemy plan to destroy the moon and earth. In a race against time, Jake ends up having to use his driving skills to try and save everyone.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked how it was set in space and it was packed with mystery and adventure. The story was very exciting and made me want to keep turning the page to find out what happened next. If you like space adventures then this is the book for you!


The Genius Files are … genius!

The Genius Files, Mission Unstoppable by  Dan Gutman

In a cross-country drive across America, Coke and Pepsi discover that they are part of a secret organisation… The Genius Files! Aided by Bones and Mya, they must stop a terrorist attack on the largest ball of twine in the World and get to the mysterious Infinity Room whilst going to strange oddball places with their parents. However, they also have to face armed dudes with bowler hats and a crazy health teacher who are all hired to kill off every member of The Genius Files by a crazy and totally insane man who tried to fix the World.  

I thought that this was a very funny and enjoyable book. It was also in my favorite genre of books as it was an adventure and mystery book. It also had a lot of crackpot places such as the Duct-Tape Museum and the Bonneville Salt Lake which is made entirely of salt! I also learned about a new place called ‘Boring’, which is a town in Oregon. I really enjoyed this book and hope others who read it do as well.  

Adam (guest)