Chris Reed reviewed The The Pet Problem for NZ Booklovers, saying: "Eugene’s Island is such a wonderful experience for young readers. Creating this magical world that celebrates New Zealand islands and their importance in the great ecosystems of our native world. Teaching young readers about these elements is vital for the next generation of preserving the heritage of these animals and native fauna. Once again, Kirkby-McLeod has crafted a beautiful story encompassing kiwiana, conservation and relatable characters. It’s a classic in the making!" Read the full review here.
Magpies NZ reviewed The Birthday Solution in their May 2022 magazine: "This is one of those very rare things—a Kiwi-made beginner chapter book...There are attractive line-drawings to bring the characters to life and make the reading experience fun for those new to chapter books...Familiar challenges in an intriguing setting should be attractive to newly independent readers age 5-7, or to read aloud. Also in the series is The Christmas Visitors and I hope to see more in the future as it’s so good for our students to be able to see New Zealand reflected in their books and there is so little at this level currently."
Whatbooknext.com reviewed The Pet Problem: "Authentic characters and questions that kiwi kids really ask...Perfect for junior New Zealanders stretching their reading skills" (read full review here); and The Art Project: "The more we get to know Eugene, the more adventures we want to take with him. What will happen on his island next?" (read full review here).
Lorraine Orman reviewed the series for KidsBooksNZ, saying: "Aimed at early readers, this series has a lot to offer. Many of the themes are New Zealand and/or conservation-related. The books are a handy size for new readers, with extra-large print and appealing black ink sketches scattered throughout the text. Eugene is a resourceful hero, and in every book he sets a good example of problem solving. This is a useful series for primary school classrooms and libraries." Read the full review here.
Louana McCormack, Librarian at Opaheke School in Auckland highly recommended The Birthday Solution in The School Library (review database run by Read NZ). "Although aimed at emergent readers it still delivers real emotion and problems that readers will understand and identify with. Eugene is an admirable, likeable character, coming up with a solution to a problem and young readers will relate to his highs and lows." Full review here.
NZ Booklovers review of The Birthday Solution: "The book helps teach important life lessons like not always getting what we want in life, as well as resilience and patience. As the opening to this series, the premise is really exciting and engaging for young readers. It also provides a wealth of opportunity to share experiences, learnings and conservation techniques at a time when we need it most." Full review here.
NZ Booklovers also reviewed The Christmas Visitors: "Set against the background of conservation, Eugene’s Island is sure to become a family favourite as the values of respect for the environment, resilience in the face of adversity and responsibility are demonstrated strongly. Plus there are some kaka chicks which are ‘quite cute’ according to at least one very impressed six year old." Full review here.
Whatbooknext.com reviews The Birthday Solution, "Eugene’s problem will resonate with young readers and they will love the way Eugene comes up with a solution to not only a problem that affects the whole family, but makes sure of his favourite birthday tea" (full review here); and The Christmas Visitors "Eugene’s Island gives young kiwi kids their own hero to have adventures with and tackle day to day life with an added environmental flavour." Full review here.
“Eugene is a relatable character that I know my students will love getting to know more. We can’t wait to read about his future adventures.” - Jessie Eyre, teacher
“I loved this story of how a boy adapts to his new surroundings with joy and ingenuity—so beautifully relatable, with a real New Zealand flavour!” - Weng Wai Chan, award-winning children’s author
“I loved this book about Eugene and his family. A nice message about the importance of family in a uniquely New Zealand setting. I look forward to reading about Eugene’s future adventures!” - Fiona Pollock, teacher
“Cool kiwi books for adventure loving 5-8 year olds, perfect chrissie pressies and good feels to boot. Great work.”
“After a few minutes of excited squealing all I can hear is the rustle of pages turning… success!”
“Very happy little customer over here! She has already finished her first book.”