Book Review: A Kiwi Day Before Christmas, by Yvonne Morrison & Deborah Hinde

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_a_kiwi_day_before_christmasWe all know the classic story about Santa Claus living at the North Pole along with Mrs Claus and of course not forgetting those wonderful reindeer, but now we have our very own Kiwi version.

Santa was down at the bach fishing when Mrs Claus comes along and reminds him that he needs to get cracking as the big day isn’t far away. He then remembered that it was Christmas tonight so he had better get himself organised. He packs up his gear and heads up the hill at full speed on his quad bike after a quick brekkie of toast and yeast spread (maybe marmite??). Santa’s helpers were having lots of fun and all the gift wrapping was almost completed.

All the finished pressies were stuffed in a sack and he got out his tractor. It needed a spruce up first, so Santa took it to the petrol station taking it through the car wash. With everything organised it was now time to get the team together. Where were the sheep? The last time he’d seen them was on Main Street at the Christmas parade. They’d all gone off to have a break before the big day. Santa was starting to feel a bit concerned. Shaun had gone diving and swimming with the seals while Buffy had gone shopping to find the best deals. Jason and Flossy had gone wine tasting while Bossy went zorbing and onto a zip line.

This is one heck of a story and one that will be received with a bit of trepidation by young ones, as they know that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and it’s reindeer, rather than sheep, involved in getting the sleigh through the night, delivering presents all around the world.

I read this story to 4-year-old Quinn. A look of disbelief on her face with lots of questions forthcoming. Where are the elves in this story Grandma? ‘I don’t believe this one’ – clapping a hand over her face very dramatically. ‘Are you telling porkies Grandma?’ Who knows, I might be, but then I may well not be!

A fabulous story and one that I think will be a hit this year with young ones. The illustrations are just great, capturing just the right tone, and bringing the story together.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

A Kiwi Day Before Christmas
By Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Deborah Hinde
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434108

Book Review: The Kiwi Go Marching One by One, by Peter Millett, illustrated by Deborah Hinde

Available in bookshops nationwide.

The Kiwi Go Marching One by One is a Kiwi take on the nursery rhyme “The Ants Go Marching”. It follows five kiwis pals as they embark on a camping trip and partake in the many exciting adventures New Zealand has to offer; from building bivouacs in the forest and sea fishing to sledding down snowy mountains and bungee jumping from trees. It begins with five excited kiwis marching off to set up camp and ends with five very tired kiwis marching home to a well deserved rest.

Hinde’s illustrations are lovely and manage to capture the tranquility of the New Zealand’s outdoors. Each time I read through the book I noticed more and more little details and each kiwi appears to have their own personality. Children will love scouring the pages to find familiar creatures and plants that are unique to Aotearoa.

The lyrics fit seamlessly into the tune and my preschool students and I enjoyed singing along with Jay Laga’aia. Singing is very important towards language learning and I always love finding new sing-a-long books to share with children. The te reo Māori translation is brilliant and books that promote the use and learning of te reo Māori for young children and adults alike are a great resource to have.

I would recommend this book to any child that loves a sing-a-long! It is thoughtfully illustrated and wonderfully written and children can enjoy singing along with an adult or the CD or just explore New Zealand nature and wildlife through the illustrations.

Reviewed by Alana Bird

The Kiwi Go Marching One by One
by Peter Millett, illustrated by Deborah Hinde
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775435129

Book Review: 10 Greedy Goats, by Pio Terei , illustrated by Deborah Hinde

Availacv_10_greedy_goat.jpgble in bookshops nationwide.

Young children will love this sing along book by the creators of the best-selling 10 Kooky Kiwi book, as the goats set off to the fair.

Anyone who has had goats at home will be able to relate to their antics in the book as they climb trees, eat candyfloss, run away and get into mischief.

Created to be enjoyed by 3 to 7 year old children, they will love the drawings of the goats riding quad bikes, sliding down the water slide and playing on the bouncy castle, all activities kids love to do. This is also a great resource to teach children their numbers, highlighted throughout the text in different colours, as well as each page having a number included in the illustration for the reader to spot.

Ngaere Roberts enjoys the challenge of translating the texts in fun books like 10 Greedy Goats and says ‘When such texts are sung to catchy tunes they become a useful resource for young learners of te reo Māori to listen to and enjoy’.

The inclusion of the CD is a real bonus and has been a great hit with my 3-year-old grandson. Pio Terei just seems to capture the attention of the little ones who soon latch on to the lyrics and tune.

The bright cover is stunning, with 10 goats of varying colours enticing the reader to delve into the book to enjoy all the fun of the fair.

Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh

10 Greedy Goats
sung by Pio Terei, illustrated by Deborah Hinde, with Māori lyrics by Ngaere Roberts
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434078



Book Reviews: Maisy, Max and Moo and Moo

cv_maisy_goes_swimmingMaisy goes Swimming, by Lucy Cousins

How does a picture book become a classic? It is loved to bits by the little people who read it, and remembered across the years. So when they have children, they want a new copy for the next generation. Well, that is my theory because that is what happened in our family.

Maisy goes Swimming is a revamped, reissue of a classic Lucy Cousins title. It was such fun using the flaps to jiggle and juggle the clothes off to help Maisie prepare for her dip. The images are simple and bold with matching text.

This book lends itself to repeated readings, which is the very best way to encourage literate kids. My granddaughter not only enjoyed naming and removing the clothes, she also practiced the colours and even demonstrated her own undressing ability.

What a great idea to re issue this classic. I can see it entertaining another generation of Maisie fans.

cv_max_and_his_big_imaginationMax and His Big Imagination: The Sandpit, by Chrissy Metge

What a wonderful thing imagination is, especially in childhood.

Chrissy Metge has continued her stories of Max at the beach and the safari, with an adventure in the sandpit. She takes a simple setting, Max digging in the sandpit, and adds a flight of fancy.

The illustrations by Dmitry Chizov use animation style characters which contrast nicely with the soft focus backgrounds. Faces are expressive and details add to the story. The dinosaur skeletons are used cleverly in front and end papers of the book. The text is designed to be read aloud by an adult and is kept to the bottom of the page.

Children are born with amazing imaginations and we have a responsibility to encourage their development. Creativity as adults often stems from the daydreams of childhood. I loved joining Max and the dinosaurs in his sandpit. I think you will too.

cv_Moo_and_moo_and_the_little_calf_tooMoo and Moo and the Little Calf Too, by Jane Milton, illustrated by Deborah Hinde

Sometimes we are captivated by an image and want to know more. This was certainly the case in the conception of this delightful true story.

While the powerful Kaikoura earthquake of 2016 caused devastation and fear, it also gave rise to some amazing stories. When the quake struck around midnight, large earth slides resulted in two cows and a calf becoming stranded high on a section of hillside. While the small plateau moved down the hill, these three remained high and dry above the mud. By the next morning a passing helicopter spotted and photographed the trio. This story tells of their stranding and eventual rescue.

The media quickly adopted the photo of the cows and it spread around the world.
Jane Milton, on whose farm this happened, has written a lovely rhyming tale of the stranding and rescue of the fearless trio. The Kiwi ” can do” attitude is reflected in the colourful illustrations by Deborah Hinde. Her simple images with expressive faces, Kiwi touches in the detail and a little bird hiding on each page, are sure to delight children. Similar artwork was seen in her Kiwi Night Before Christmas.

I would have loved a reproduction of the original photo to show young readers the reality on which the story was based. Perhaps copyright prevented this.

As Quaky Cat told the Christchurch earthquake story, so Moo and Moo tells of the Kaikoura event. What a positive and gentle way for children to remember the Kaikoura quake.

All three books reviewed by Kathy Watson


Maisy Goes Swimming
by Lucy Cousins
Published by Walker Books
ISBN 9781406374049

Max and His Big Imagination: The Sandpit
by Chrissy Metge
Published by Chrissy Metge
ISBN 9780473387297

Moo and Moo and the Little Calf Too  
by Jane Milton and Deborah Hinde
Published by Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781877505928

Book Review: Kia Ora, by Sharon Holt, illustrated by Deborah Hinde

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_kia_oraAuthor, Sharon Holt, is a Pakeha who started learning Te Reo Māori when she was 42.

My daughter-in-law Sarah, who is a proficient Te Reo speaker, was given the task of reading this book to my 2 granddaughters Abby (5) and Quinn (2). Sarah got the girls to tell her what the story was about from the illustrations. Both girls got it pretty right.

There are several ways to ask “how are you?” in Te Reo, depending on the region and dialect. You may hear “Kei te Pewhea koe?” or Kei Te aha?” or other variations.
Suggestions for using this book are to encourage children to talk about what’s happening on each page. Why does the boy keep asking his family members how they are? How do we feel when people are too busy to really “hear” us? How can we help others to feel “heard?”.

I found this book fascinating and a wonderful concept to introduce Te Reo. The CD accompanying this book is a great addition. Guitar chords with words putting the story to music is a fantastic idea.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Kia Ora
by Sharon Holt, illustrated by Deborah Hinde
Published by Te Reo Singalong
ISBN 9780994117137

Book Review: Hare, by Deborah Hinde

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_hareI love this time of year because we have lots of New Zealand books being published prior to Christmas, ready for the Book Awards in the New Year. And what a treasure trove. Deborah Hinde has illustrated over 65 books, but this is her first foray into writing and illustrating. It is a pleasure to pick up such a fun read.

While we all read lots of books with rabbits, or bunnies, the hare has less press. The idea of hare links most closely to the concept of being “harebrained”. Forgetful and disorganised, Hare in this story has forgotten something and needs to visit his friends in an attempt to remember. The encounters include a goose, a rooster, a hedgehog, a rabbit and a duck. Other characters flit through the illustrations, which are bright and clear. Hinde has used these characters to teach about attributes such as soft, noisy and silly. The text and the characters are beautifully matched, both supporting the ideas presented. The ending is funny and unexpected.

I read this to my class, who noticed all sorts of details in the pictures. This is what Hinde does so well. They even picked that she was the illustrator of The Kiwi 12 Days of Christmas which we had read recently.

It is not a harebrained idea to go and buy this book for someone you love. You will both enjoy it.

Reviewed by Kathy Watson

by Deborah Hinde
Published by PictureBook Publishing
ISBN 9780473362942

Book Review: The Three Little Lambs, by Sher Foley, illustrated by Deborah Hinde

cv_the_three_little_lambsAvailable now in bookshops nationwide.

Scholastic New Zealand’s Kiwi Corkers series features traditional children’s tales given a very New Zealand twist. The Three Little Lambs is a new take on the familiar story of the three little pigs, with cute fluffy lambs and a wolf instead of a weasel.

In the traditional tale, the three pigs build houses out of straw, sticks and bricks, which are then targeted by a wicked wolf, who threatens to blow their houses down. In the kiwi tale by Sher Foley, delightfully illustrated by Deborah Hinde, the first lamb chooses silver ferns, but they are no match for the wicked weasel, who blows his house down and stuffs him headfirst into a rabbit hole.

The second lamb chooses paua shells, but unfortunately they aren’t any more resistant to the weasel’s attack than the ferns, and her house suffers the same fate as her brother’s, and she joins him in the rabbit hole.

The third lamb decides to build his house of out hangi stones, a good substitute for bricks, and the weasel is foiled when he tries to blow his house down. But he doesn’t give up, instead coming up with cunning (and very kiwi-themed) schemes he hopes will lure the lamb from his home. Lambs are a bit brighter than weasels and each time the weasel misses out on lamb for lunch. You’ll have to read out to find out the end!

This book is a lovely take on a traditional tale, featuring things kiwi kids will understand, like the wop-wops, kiwifruit and hokey-pokey ice cream. Children will enjoy reading along, especially the repeated “Not by the wool on my skinny-skin-skin” and “I’ll wheeze and I’ll sneeze and I’ll blow your house down” parts.

Reviewed by Faye Lougher

The Three Little Lambs
by Sher Foley, illustrated by Deborah Hinde
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434153

Book Review: A Kiwi Night Before Christmas, by Yvonne Morrison and Deborah Hinde

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_a_kiwi_night_before_christmas16This title is a new edition of the 2003 book which quickly became a family favourite. The traditional poem is given a Kiwi flavour which includes all the familiar parts of a Southern Hemisphere Christmas. It is set in a bach, by the sea, Mum and Dad watching sport on TV.

It rhymes beautifully. Of course Santa arrives by sheep-drawn tractor and is appropriately attired in a black singlet and gumboots. Deborah Hinde has illustrated using a simple style which clearly supports the Kiwi text. I loved the details which were fun to spot: tuatara PJs, kereru in the pohutakawa trees, the Southern Cross and Dad’s fishing photo in a frame.

As a teacher, I used this book with my Junior classes and they enjoyed reading along with the rhyming text. It also leads to a comparison with the original poem and why we need a new version.

As a Granny, I will enjoy sharing this with the grandkids. It makes me want to go and get my Christmas tree ready.

Reviewed by Kathy Watson

A Kiwi Night Before Christmas
by Yvonne Morrison and Deborah Hinde
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434276

Book Review: 10 Goofy Geckos, by Deborah Hinde, sung by Pio Terei, translated by Ngaere Roberts

Available in bookshops nationwide.cv_10_goofy_geckos

This is such a great book. Earlier this year I reviewed 10 Kooky Kiwi, which my granddaughter absolutely loved. This book was received with great delight by Abby when I pulled it out of my bag to read to her. Having the CD to go with it just enhances the experience.

The illustrator Deborah Hinde has done an excellent job once again – she was also the illustrator for 10 Kooky Kiwi.

I put on the CD for Abby (4 ½ years old) and her little sister Quinn (1 year old) and then we all sat down with me pointing to the words as Pio sung. Quinn was jigging up and down with a big grin on her face while her big sister Abby was trying to dance in time to the music. I then had both little girls on my lap while I read to them in a sing-song voice. I haven’t got a musical tone in my body so it was rather out of tune, not that they worried. Abby had lots of questions about what the geckos were up to.

It starts off –

Ten goofy geckos going on a trip,

ten goofy geckos going on a trip,
and if one goofy gecko should accidently slip…….
there’ll be nine goofy geckos going on a trip.

The second half of the book and the CD has the Maori version of the song. The Maori translations for this book are by Ngaere Roberts. This adds a wonderful depth of culture to this book.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

10 Goofy Geckos
Pictures by Deborah Hinde
Sung by Pio Terei, Maori Lyrics by Ngaere Roberts
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775433231

Book Review: Matariki, Me Haere and Maranga Mai, written by Sharon Holt and illustrated by Deborah Hinde.

These three Te Reo Singalong books are an interesting and educational way for childrencv_matariki to learn Māori, and were an instant hit with our toddler. They follow a similar structure to the children’s book series published by Huia Publishers in the early 2000s, with simple verb conjugation and tense-use, using colourful pictures to make it clear to the reader what the subject of the sentence is. The repetitive sentence structure is an easy way to learn te reo, and the glossary at the back useful for parents when stuck on a particular word.

cv_me_haereMy son was particularly taken with the bold illustrations, especially the vehicles in Me Haere! and the animals in Maranga Mai. Indeed, the art is appealing due to its use of colour. The art is also uncluttered and simple, which is necessary for a book designed to teach children words in another language as it allows them to easily see what the words mean. Matariki isn’t as colourful as the other two by virtue of its subject matter, making it much less appealing for younger children. It will appeal to slightly older children, though, especially during the Matariki period.

Tcv_maranga_maihe singalong CDs are a nice companion to the books, although as the songs aren’t particularly catchy they aren’t essential to enjoying them. The CDs nonetheless allow the books to be promoted as more of a package rather than simply a book, and will probably make them more appealing to parents and early education centres. It also sets the books apart from the Huia series I mentioned above. The best of the three CDs we listened to is certainly that which accompanies Maranga Mai, as it is complete with animal sounds. A compilation CD would be useful as well, to allow parents to play the CDs consecutively without disturbing the children’s learning.

As a minor note, the translations in the back are sentence by sentence rather than word by word. For the purposes of this book and for people learning basic te reo this makes perfect sense. However, in some cases it would be beneficial for a more detailed translation, especially if the books are being aimed at people with minimal knowledge of te reo who intend to use them as a stepping stone to learn more. Te reo Maori is an incredibly nuanced language where one word can mean a number of things depending on the context; for example, the word ‘runga’ is used in Me Haere, and the translation notes that it means ‘by’ in the context of the sentence. Runga when used in conjunction with ma, however, is also used to mean ‘on’. This is perhaps a minor detail when the intended audience are preschoolers, but it would be a shame for future confusion should arise when talking about, for example, whether a cat is ‘on’ or ‘by’ a box.

I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for more books in this series, and if reasonably priced may even become a go-to gift for children’s birthday presents in the future.

Reviewed by Lauren Keenan

written by Sharon Holt and illustrated by Deborah Hinde
Published by the Writing Bug Ltd
ISBN 9780473274238

Me Haere!
written by Sharon Holt and illustrated by Deborah Hinde
Published by the Writing Bug Ltd
ISBN 9780473242459

Maranga Mai!
written by Sharon Holt and illustrated by Deborah Hinde
Published by the Writing Bug Ltd
ISBN 9780473214913