Books by Gavin Bishop – 1990s

Books by Gavin – 1990s

Books, stories and pictures have provided a life-long fascination for me. Children's picture books in particular, with their intertwined rhythms of pictures and words combining to tell a story in an often deceptively simple way, have always interested me. My first picture book, 'Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant' was published in 1981 by Oxford University Press.
The Video Shop Sparrow
Written by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Gavin Bishop
“On New Year's Day, George and Harry went to town to return the video they had hired. The video shop was closed. On the door was a notice, WILL REOPEN JANUARY 13 and under the notice was a flap like the mouth of a letterbox.Harry, who had his nose pressed hard against the glass window, said, ‘Hey George! Look! A sparrow! It's flying around the shop.’ ”
And so their quest to release the sparrow begins.

- White Ravens book 2000
- Finalist, NZ Children’s Picture Book of the Year 2000
- Notable Book of the Year by the NZ Children's Book Foundation

Published by Mallinson Rendel NZ. 1999 | ISBN Hardback: 0-908783-36-1 | Full-colour picture book, 32 pages. Page size: 195 x 255 mm Level: 6 - 8 years
The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Six Aesop's fables illustrated by Gavin Bishop
About 600 BC, Aesop, a Greek slave made a collection of stories, or fables which have remained popular until today. "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" is one of six stories that appear in this collection and like all of Aesop's fables it has a moral which offers the reader helpful advice which is summed up at the end in a proverb. Other fables in this book include: "The Frogs Who Wanted a King", "The Bundle of Sticks", "Hungry But Free", "Coyote and the Goat" and "The Fox and the Stork".
ISBN Paperback: 0 -7901-1967- 6 | Published by Shortland Publications Inc. 1999 | Full-colour graded reader, 24 pages.  Page size:190 x 265 mm | ISBN: 0-7901-1966-8 | Large paperback edition | Page size: 380 x 530 mm | Level: 6 - 8 years.
Little Rabbit and the Sea
Written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop
Little Rabbit has never seen the sea. But all day long he thinks about it, and every night in his dreams he sails in his little boat with the wind in his ears.
"What is the sea like?” he asks his grandmother, his father and his uncle. They all give him different answers, which only makes Little Rabbit long to see for himself. But the sea is far away.Then one day a kindly sea gull shows Little Rabbit the sea. And it turns out to be everything he's ever imagined - and much, much more.Gavin Bishop's sweet, simple story celebrates youthful yearnings and dreams come true.


“In Bishop's tender story, a young bunny yearns to visit the ocean, and dreams every night that ‘he sailed in his little boat with the wind in his ears.” The author's choice to deny his wide-eyed hero the expected closure results in a more powerful work, a poignant and affirming tribute to the powers of imagination.
“Dressed in a sailor suit, Little Rabbit tries to find out what the sea is like. His grandmother says it is ‘wild and quiet, a bit of both.’ His father says it is ‘blue and wide, never ending” and a painter uncle describes it as ‘dark and salty, like cider vinegar.’
“When a seagull drops a sea shell at Little Rabbit's feet, he puts the shell to his ear and opens up his mind’s eye: in the final pages, he has vividly imagined himself to be the complete sailor, bounding over the waves.
“The spare text (usually no more than three lines to a page, often set on an expanse of white space) exudes the quiet rhythms and heightened resonance of poetry, and the austerity of the narrative voice makes a fitting counterpoint to the sumptuous, full-bleed water color and ink illustrations. Rendered in aquatic blues and greens with splashes of burnt orange, the pictures radiate a lustrous quality reminiscent of ceramic glaze. There is such grace in Bishop's ink strokes that every page seems animated with a gentle breeze.” 
- American Publishers' Weekly, October 1997

“The imagery is wonderfully fitting...the combination of design and short text makes this title especially accessible to beginning readers. While it will also be popular with preschoolers, it will make a nice introduction to the study of imagery and adjectives for slightly older students.” 
– American School Library Journal, 1998

Published by Random House NZ Ltd 2011 | ISBN Paperback: 978-1-86979-451-4 | ISBN Hardback: 978 1 86979 449 1Full colour picture book, 32 pages | Page size: 245 x 260mm | Level: 2-5 years

Published by North South Books, New York 1997 | Full colour picture book, 32 pages | Page size: 23 x 21.5 cmLevel: 3-6 yrs | ISBN Hardback: 1-55858-809-4  ISBN Library binding: 1-55858-810-8 | ISBN Paperback: 0-7358-1312-4 Japanese edition published by Kodansha 1998 | ISBN: 4-06-261982-2  Spanish edition published by North South 1999  | ISBN: 0-7358-1313-2

Maui and the Goddess of Fire
Retold and illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Maui's tales of mischief and adventure have been told for thousands of years throughout the islands of Polynesia.

A genius and a delinquent, a trickster and a hero, Maui was responsible for inventing many useful crafts for his people. He made the first barbed hook and the first eel trap; he invented the strongest kinds of rope, which he used to slow down the sun. He fished up the North island from the sea; he made the first dog; and he was an expert at children's games such as dart throwing and kite flying.
This version of MAUI AND THE GODDESS OF FIRE, like the the companion book MAUI AND THE SUN, is based on the one told by Wi Maihi te Rangi Kaheke of Rotorua, New Zealand, to Governor George Grey in the 1840's. It is similar to the versions told by the Maori people of the Ngati Awa and Waikato tribes from the North Island of New Zealand, from which come some of the author's ancestors.
Published by Scholastic NZ Ltd, 1997 ISBN Paperback: 1-86943-381-5 
KO MAUI RAUA KO TE ATUA O TE AHI | ISBN: 1 86943 519 2 | Maori edition translated by Katerina Mataira. 
Korean edition published by Daekyo Co Ltd. | ISBN: 89-540-0881 X Full-colour picture book, 32 pages. Page size: 265 x 215 mm | Level: 8 - 10 years
Maui and the Sun
Retold and illustrated by Gavin Bishop
Gavin Bishop has drawn on the Maori legends of his ancestors to craft an exciting trickster tale that is rich in the exotic flavour of Polynesia.
Yes indeed, Maui was a trickster all right. He played tricks on his older brothers all the time. They were not always pleased with his tricky ways, but they could not help but admire him, for Maui did some pretty amazing things. One of the most amazing things he ever did was try to capture the sun.It all began because Maui and his brothers had to cook and eat their fish in the dark. They were angry with the sun, who was in such a hurry to get back to bed that he raced across the sky each day, leaving only a few hours of sunlight for fishing. So Maui devised a daring plan. Armed with stout ropes and Maui's enchanted weapon - made from the jawbone of his grandmother - he and his brothers set out to teach the sun a lesson. After many weeks they arrived at the edge of the pit where the sun slept. There they laid their trap. But the sun was very powerful, hot and fierce and Maui and his brothers were only men. How could they conquer the sun?

- Short listed for NZ Post Picture Book of the Year 1997

The Wedding of Mistress Fox
Written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Retold by Philip H. Bailey, Illustrated by Gavin Bishop
When old Mr Fox died, good Mistress Fox, his wife, put on her best black dress and went into dignified mourning. She would receive no one - not even Mr Wolf, nor Mr Dog, nor any of the other suitors lined up outside her door. None possessed the features required: red trousers, a sharp nose, a tail tipped in white. Who could possibly fit that description?‘The Wedding of Mistress Fox’, one of the Grimm brothers’ less familiar tales, is full of the same magic and drollery as their better-known works. Philip Bailey’s sprightly retelling, complemented by Gavin Bishop’s whimsical pictures and sumptuous, makes a valuable addition to any folktale collection.


“A fine rendition of an obscure tale. The story itself is a slight one..this retelling skilfully enlarges this simple story. Here it is fittingly set in the Victorian period. Mistress Fox lives in an elegant mansion, filled to the brim with ornate furniture, knick knacks, and ponderous portraits of old Mr Fox in various triumphant poses. (One whimsically depicts him in the classic great hunter stance, standing atop a pile of dead geese.) The action is facilitated by the maid, a sly orange cat who gossips with the villagers, ushers suitors in and out and who lives happily well-fed ever after.
Bishop's wonderfully detailed pen and ink illustrations (reminiscent of Ardizzone's lively art) perfectly complement the text, and expand upon the action. Libraries with strong folklore collections will especially appreciate this excellent retelling.”
- American School Library Journal, November 1994

“Modifying one of the Grimm Brothers' classics, first-time author Bailey preserves its 19th century mood and mores. Likewise, Bishop's shadowy, cross-hatched ink and watercolor illustrations return to an earlier era, depicting a mansion decorated to excess and populated by animals in Dickensian garb... Bailey preserves the original story's combination of couplets, unrhymed prose and onomatopoeia. The old-fashioned formalities are well-matched by the art work, notable for its architectural details.”
- American Publishers' Weekly, November 1994

- Kinderjury Prize, Holland, 1996
Written and Illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Hinepau, a Maori woman with the sunset red hair and the greenstone coloured eyes is a weaver, but all of her weaving is inside out or back to front. Is she a witch? The rest of her tribe thinks so, so she is sent away to live on her own in a hut surrounded by a hundred flax bushes. There she sits all day weaving the patterns of nature into her weaving. Meanwhile, back in her village a great meeting house is built but no care is taken to say the proper prayers and give thanks to the gods of the forest for providing the huge trees that are needed to construct the new building. On the night of the grand opening of the meeting house the volcano, at whose feet the village nestles, erupts and the next morning the whole tribe wakes up to find the countryside, for as far as a bird can fly, has disappeared under a thick blanket of ash. Is it their punishment to die slowly of hunger and thirst?Hinepau, the outcast, saves her people in an unexpected way and in doing so she commits the ultimate sacrifice.
The heroine in this story, inspired by Gavin Bishop's Maori ancestry, carries his mother's name, an old family name which goes back hundreds of years. And like some of his family, she is Ngati Pukeko (Ngati Awa) from near Whakatane, on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.

“Gavin Bishop's work as both an author and illustrator of children's books has been acknowledged worldwide...” “This is his second book based on his Maori ancestry. Hinepau carries Bishop's mother's name, an old family name which goes back hundreds of years. And like some of his family, she is Ngati Pukeko (Ngati Awa) from near Whakatane.” “Fantastic pictures.. are just one of the book's assets.” “Hinepau tells the tale of a struggle for acceptance that we can all relate to in some way. A great Kiwi epic that will become well read and loved as time goes by.” 
- Leigh O'Connor, North Taranaki Weekender, NZ, January 1994

“I recommend that you read this book! Most of the story is sad, but it has a truly unpredictable ending.” 
- Shea McDonald, Marfield School, The Daily news, Taranaki, NZ, April 1994

“Gavin Bishop recently turned to his ancestors with the fine story of his great-aunt Katarina. His most recent book bears his mother's name. Bishop's striking illustrations have a warmth of character and a strong sense of place.”
- Frances Plumpton, NZ, March 1994

“Hinepau is about a young lady who got sent away from her tribe because she could not weave. She also got sent away because she had sunset hair and pounamu eyes and they said she looked like a witch. After a couple of years some men came to cut down some Totara. They didn't say a karakia. When the whare was built the volcano erupted. That's all I'll tell you.” “It was good because it taught me that you have to ask for things.” “It is a good book because it has a message in it. The message is it doesn't matter what you look like. We are all people.” 
- Anthony Solaese, Stephen McCombs, Emilia Christoforou from Clyde Quay School, City Voice, NZ, December 1993

- New Zealand Children’s Picture Book of the Year 1994

Published by Scholastic NZ Ltd 1993 | ISBN Hardback: 1-86943-227-4 ISBN Paperback: 1-86943-624-5Maori edition translated by Katarina Mataira | ISBN Paperback: 1-86943-724-1
Page size: 205 – 285 mm | Full-colour picture book of 32 pages | Level: 8 – 10 years

Little Red Rocking Hood
Written by Jeffrey Leask,  Illustrated by Gavin Bishop
This is a lively, modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood - designed to be performed by 8 to 12 year olds as a rock opera.
“Once upon a time in the neighbourhood,
Lived a red-haired girl who was oh-so-good.
She could rock'n'roll like nobody could
So everyone called her Red Rocking Hood.”
“All of a sudden, from a dark, dark alley
Who should step out but Wolf O'Malley-
A real big bopper, but real bad news,
Wearing dark sunglasses and blue suede shoes.”


“Red Riding hood, a well known children's story, has been adapted to the modern world and given a rock and roll twist as the story rocks its way across the excellent double page illustrations.” 
- Bay of Plenty times, NZ, April 1992

Published by Scholastic NZ Ltd 1992 | ISBN Paperback: 1-86943-050-6 
Full-colour picture book, 32 pages | Page size: 235 x 305 mm | Level: 8-12 years
Designed as part of the music programme for schools, sold also as a big book with pre-recorded tape of music.
Paperback edition available from Scholastic NZ, Private Bag 94407, Greenmount, Auckland 1730, New Zealand
The Lion and the Jackel
Written by Beverley Dietz, Illustrated by Gavin Bishop
All the animals were afraid of Lion because he was big and strong and brave. Lion was not afraid of anything!

Jackal on the other hand was not very big and he was not very brave. But he was clever and he liked to play tricks.In this retelling of a traditional African folk tale Jackal proves that brains can be mightier than brawn.

Published by Silver Burdett and Ginn 1992 | ISBN Paperback: 0-663-54556-0 16 pages 
Pages size: 305 x 230 mm | Level: 5 – 8 years

More Information