late-2000-s - gavinbishop

Books by Gavin - Late 2000's

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. 

There Was a Crooked Man

- Winner of the Russell Clark Medal

This is a book for the very young with brightly coloured pictures and robust pages.


"A sturdy board book that because of the vertical format my two-year-old granddaughter calls her "long book". Beautiful illustrations and lots to talk about and enjoy with young readers." – H.S. Storylines Book List Nov. 2009

- CLFNZ Notable Book 2010
Traditional rhyme illustrated by Gavin BishopPublished by Gecko Press 2009 | ISBN Board book:978-1-877467-24-0 | Full colour picture book, 16 pages. Page size: 195 x 195 mm | Level: 0 – 5 years

Counting the Stars

Retold and illustrated by Gavin Bishop

A third in the series of Maori myths for children this book is a companion to TAMING THE SUN and RIDING THE WAVES. The four stories in this book are “Mother Earth and Father Sky”, “The Battle of the Birds”, “Kae and the Whale” and “Hinemoa and Tutanekai”.Aimed at children 4-10 years, these myths are simply yet elegantly written. The illustrations are stunning - the different colour palette for each story and the strong mix of techniques create bold and beautiful images that integrate with the words in a powerful and meaningful way.


"A welcome follow-up to Taming the Sun and Riding the Waves. As always, a joy to hold and behold." – A.C. Storylines Book List Nov. 2009

- Shortlisted for the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards 2010
- CLFNZ Notable Book 2010
Published by Random House NZ Ltd 2009 | ISBN Hard cover: 978-1-86979-072-1 | Full colour picture book, 48 pages  
Page size: 210 x 280 | Level: 4 – 10 years


Written by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Further witty and heart-warming stories about the ups and downs of a friendship between Snake and Lizard who live in the Arizona Desert.


"Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop are back with Friends, a worthy sequel to their Snake and Lizard, which won the 2008 NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Book of the Year. Cowley's funny, touching stories develop a whole cast of memorable characters around the two central desert-dwellers, whose lively, occasionally testy friendship embodies a wealth of wisdom about how to live with other people. Bishop's simple pictures are amazingly expressive." – 50 Best Children's Books of 2009, The Listener, December 2009

"Tremendous… Some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen from Gavin Bishop. The colours are saturated and beautiful, the miniatures are fantastic... The illustrations and the text are working beautifully together, never repeating each other but enlarging each other… I think it’s a genius book – the writer and illustrator are at the top of their game." – Kate de Goldi, Radio NZ, November 2009

- Shortlisted for the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards 2010
- CLFNZ Notable Book 2010
Published by Gecko Press 2009, Wellington, New Zealand | ISBN Hardback 978-1-877467-26-4 
 ISBN Paperback 978-1-877467-25-7

Cowshed Christmas

Written by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Its Christmas time and all the farmyard animals come mooing, barking, clucking, baaing, quacking, oinking and meowing to the cowshed door. Something wonderful has happened in the cowshed...

This is a simple Christmas story with brightly coloured pictures firmly set in New Zealand. Designed with very young readers in mind.


"A wonderfully New Zealand-centric Christmas story." – A.C. Storylines Book List Nov. 2009

- Shortlisted LIANZA AWARDS 2012
- CLFNZ Notable Book 2010
Published by Random House NZ Ltd 2009 | ISBN Paperback: 978-1-86979-073-8 | Full colour picture book, 32 pages
Page size: 255 x 215mmLevel: 2 – 5 years


Story and Pictures by Gavin Bishop

This story is based on the real life of Katarina (Catherine) McKay, 1842-1935 and has special meaning for the author. Katarina was Gavin Bishop's great-aunt and her brother Banjo was his grandfather. 
In the winter of 1861, Katarina, a young Maori woman, leaves her tribal home in the North Island of New Zealand and travels south to join her Scottish husband in the far south of the South Island. 
In 1863 Governor Grey begins his assault on the Waikato, Katarina's home, in an attempt to force the Waikato Maori to give up more of their land to European settlers. Katarina's contact with her northern family is gradually lost until her brother Banjo suddenly joins her


“The story of Bishop's great-aunt has fascinated him since he heard as a child of the journey of his Tainui tupuna from the Waikato to Fortrose in Southland... 
In this picture book for older children Gavin Bishop beautifully mixes Maori and Pakeha in text and picture... Maori words and concepts fit easily into the English sentence structure, conveying that blend found in the speech of many older Maori, and extending the reader's knowledge too...This book...adds another significant story to our bicultural history.” - Ann Packer, Wellington Evening Post, NZ, January 1991

“Katarina is a story of love, courage and hope...This is a history far more exciting than anything found in a text book.” - Ann Packer, Wellington Evening Post, NZ, January 1991

- Finalist for Russell Clark Medal 1991
Published by Black Cat Books, Random Century 1990 | Reprinted as a NZ Classic by Random House NZ Ltd 2008
ISBN Hardback 1-8694-1202-8 | Story with pictures for older children, Page size: 195 x 195 mm, Level: 8 - 12 years


Written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Rats! is a quirky, lively fun story with stunning illustrations.

Polly Piper's house is infested with rats - they are everywhere. She calls in an exterminator (closely resembling the Pied Piper) who leads them all away.When they go, Polly finds her life is empty and boring. Miserable, they plead to come back - so of course Polly agrees - and they all live happily ever after!This book stands out for its finely detailed and exciting illustrations - they are beautiful and will give readers plenty to discover and delight in.


"It will come as no surprise that Rats! is wonderfully illustrated… very recognizably Bishop's style – full of detail and humour" – Waikato Times

- Shortlisted for the NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2008
- LIANZA AWARD 2008, Russell Clark Medal
- CLFNZ Notable Book 2008

Published by Random House NZ Ltd | ISBN Hardback: 978-1-86941-902-8

Piano Rock

Written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Growing up in Kingston, beside Lake Wakatipu on a diet of girdle scones, marmite sandwiches and roast mutton.
Gavin Bishop's memories are classic Kiwi fare, and the subject of this beautiful and fascinating book.

Read about the book launch here!


Dear Gavin, I'm delighted to see that Piano Rock's shortlisted. It has some of the loveliest plain strong prose I've read in ages. I read it at Christmas when my daughter gave it to me, and have just enjoyed re-reading it. It's not often we see emotion well-earned. Best wishes for the finals. - Hooray, Jack Lasenby

"This gem of a book captures five years spent in the railway town of Kingston. Tiny details embroider this record of a simpler time – roast mutton and girdle scones, a royal visit, Guy Fawkes night and the smells associated with a new baby are all faithfully recorded." – Ann Packer, The Press Nov 1st 2008

"Gavin has again been handsomely served by his publisher. Hard cover, quality paper and a classy design all combine to showcase the elegiac text and abundant illustrations, both in black and white and colour." - Tessa Duder, Australian Women's Weekly Nov. 2008

"PIANO ROCK is a little package of pleasure – for its intended audience but also for baby-boomers, especially those who grew up in rural New Zealand." – Anna Rogers, NZ Books, Winter 2009

- Shortlisted for NZ Post Children's Book Awards 2009
- Shortlisted for LIANZA Elsie Locke non-fiction prize 2009
- BPANZ Design Award 2009- CLFNZ Notable Book 2009
Published by Random House NZ Ltd 2008 | ISBN Hard cover: 978-1-86979-010-3
Non fiction book, 120 pages | Page size:145 x 195 mm | Level: 8 – adult

Snake and Lizard

Written by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Witty and heart-warming stories about the ups and downs of a friendship between Snake and Lizard who live in the Arizona Desert.


"The charming illustrations are suffused with warm desert colors, and the evocative landscapes enhance the brief adventures. One endearing picture shows the red, black, and white striped snake and tan-colored lizard lying facing one another, their features expressively genial, as they "talked and talked as though they'd known each other for years." Lovely bookmaking includes small pictures interspersed with the large, bold font, some to the side of a decorative letter that begins the text of a chapter." – US School Library Journal Starred Review, December 2008

"Cowley’s award-winning book, with its beautiful illustrations by Gavin Bishop, has the feel of a classic tale that will be read by children for generations." – Nicky Pellegrino, NZ Herald on Sunday, 25 May 2008

- Winner of Junior Fiction Section of the 
- Children’s Book of the Year - NZ Post Children’s Book Awards 2008
- CLFNZ Notable Book 2008 - White Raven Book 2008
- Pumphouse Theatre production 2009
Published by Gecko Press, Wellington, New Zealand | ISBN Hardback 978-0-9582720-7-0 | ISBN Paperback 978-0-9582787-3-7

There was an Old Woman

Traditional rhyme illustrated by Gavin Bishop

A board book for babies and the very young of the traditional English rhyme illustrated with bright, lively and funny pictures.
The vertical format of the book reflects the influence of “The Flight of the Old Woman who was Tossed Up in a Basket”, etched by Aliquis, London, published by D. Bogue, 1844. A process that combines monoprint and over-painting with acrylic paint was used to produce Gavin Bishop’s illustrations.

Published by Gecko Press 2008 | ISBN Board book:978-1-877467-16-5 
Full colour picture book, 24 pages | Page size: 195 x 195 mm | Level: 0 – 5 years

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