Book Reviews: My New Zealand 123 Book, My New Zealand Colours Book, My New Zealand ABC Book, by Te Papa Press

Available now in bookstores nationwide.

These three board books from Te Papa Press are beautifully presented and published. cv_nz_colours_bookEach of them use objects from Te Papa Museum’s collection to illustrate the basic alphabet, numbers, and colour concepts.

The text is sparing, simple and playful. It encourages the reader to look more closely at the images shown, giving quips and quirky suggestions that accompany each image perfectly. Each of the key elements are indicated both in English and in Te Reo, an important addition for any kiwi version of these toddler staples – but one that is often overlooked. I, for one, never realised that the Maori word for ‘grey’ was kiwikiwi – what an appropriate word for the bubbling Rotorua mudpools that illustrate the colour grey. Pāua is a unique kiwi addition to the colours also, and a very important one – but it won’t stop kids arguing whether a pāua shell is mostly blue, mostly green, or mostly purple! cv_nz_123_book

The Te reo Māori pronunciation guide at the back of each of the books is important for parents as much as for children, to give the best start possible for learning Te reo at home.

I can’t think of any collection of basic-concept board books that do as well as these at providing children with real-life examples that they can relate to as kiwi children. Equally, they show the unique flavour of life here in New Zealand for those from abroad.

The breadth of art that the images cover is incredible. Modern and classical sculpture, cv_my_NZ_ABC_bookfashion, antique jewellery and artifacts, photography, model airplanes, modern jewellery, puppets, gold nuggets. This alone teaches children how broad and interesting our world is here in the deep south. The images are evocative and have the feel of something ‘found’ rather than something sought. Te Papa’s curators must have enjoyed contributing to these books, and I am certain authors James Brown and Frances Samuel enjoyed coming up with the accompanying words.

My favourite rhyme is from the illustration for ‘C’ – a car made of corrugated iron:
C is for car
all rusty and crinkly.
Too long in the bath
has made it go wrinkly.

I expect these to be available at every bookstore, giftstore and kiosk in New Zealand as fantastic gifts for children, grandchildren and friends. My copies are going straight to my kiwi friend, who lives in Canada, for her baby girl.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

My New Zealand 123 Book
Text by James Brown and Frances Samuel
Published by Te Papa Press

My New Zealand Colours Book
Text by James Brown and Frances Samuel
Published by Te Papa Press

My New Zealand ABC Book
Text by James Brown and Frances Samuel
Published by Te Papa Press

4 thoughts on “Book Reviews: My New Zealand 123 Book, My New Zealand Colours Book, My New Zealand ABC Book, by Te Papa Press

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Count with Maisy, cheep cheep cheep, by Lucy Cousins |

  2. Pingback: Book Review of Gus’s Garage, by Leo Timmers and Q & A with James Brown |

  3. Pingback: Having a baby? You’ll need (kiwi) books! |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s