“I just wanted to say that I’m so happy to see these republished – Phyllis stayed with us in 1988 and did a creative writing workshop at my intermediate in Napier. My uncle married her niece Wendy, and I still have a photo of May at Wendy & William’s wedding. I am planning on replacing my books – I lent them out and they were never returned (autographed and all) & I have been looking for them for years. Anyway, this is wonderful, will be replacing my books as soon as I can. Blessings”

Donna, via a trademe question!

“Hi Nia

I would love both books please. I have loved the series ever since your amazing Grandmother came to Piopio Primary and read some of Black Boots close to 30 years ago (I’m now 37, eek!) I have even been inside the school house at Paemako where May went to school. My grandparents lived on Paekaka Rd just past the Tarrent farm & I would always think of Black Boots as we drove past. I very much hope the rest of the series gets printed as well, although I was only aware of A Comet in the Sky.

Many thanks to you and Phyllis”

Kelly, facebook

“I just wanted to pass on how valuable these stories are to us. I have the first three books and my kids love them. My wife and I remembered them from our childhood but couldn’t remember the author or names of the books. We finally tracked them down through Trademe after my wife’s uncle, a principle at Tirau, told us he remembered the stories and Phyllis visiting Tirau School. Phyllis is New Zealand’s own Laura Ingalls and by preserving her family’ story, she has preserved an important part of our identity for all of us. Please let me know when you re/print the remaining two books. I’d love to buy copies. I’ll keep in mind the reprint of 1 and 2 for Christmas presents in the meantime.”

Matiu, facebook


I loved these books as a girl and still have my copies and now my daughter is reading them. Such a great slice of history.”

– Brenda, facebook

I have read these books to so many of the children I have taught, they are so great. Kids have loved them and couldn’t believe there was no T.V. or computers or power. And yet kids couldn’t get enough of the stories. “

– Claire, facebook

‘We had Margaret Mahy come to our school as a special event to announce the release of this book. It was set in my back yard (kind of: It was set in Mocauiti and I lived in Te Kuiti, New Zealand) and it was exciting to read something so close to home but from what seemed like such a long time off (set in early 20th century) and in such a time when men were off clearing the bush and trying to make a life for their families, with the families living in mud up to their waists. What I remember most about this series is the small things, like the main character (I don’t remember her name) saving up to buy a sewing machine through the mail order catalogue and her brother falling on a knife and loosing his eye, with no doctor within cooee to call upon. I think this may have been my first experience of home grown fiction and looking back, I realise it had an extremely positive effect on my subsequent reading choices and horizon. I think Phyllis Johnston is still going strong and writing her children’s lit. I owe her a debt of enormous proportions for such a fabulous book. Thank you”

– Naomi, Goodreads

‘A great book on Old New Zealand and early settlers. Yes, a bit ‘all good’ as it is for children, but great description of what life was like. In these old books, as the Laura Ingall’s ones, I really like the simple life people led but also the great sense of wonder that children had: they were enjoying simple things, and extremely happy at simple things just found in nature…”

Isabelle, Goodreads