Book Review: Flit the Fantail and the Flying Flop, by Kat Merewether

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_flit_the_fantail_and_the-flying_flopThis is the first in a new series from Kat Merewether, the author of Kuwi the Kiwi.

Flit is a fantail chick. He is not allowed to fly as his wings are not strong enough. Ma and Pa Fantail want him to stay safe in his nest while they go off to find food to feed Flit. Flit feels safe up high in the Kowhai tree in his nest but he is soon bored so he climbs to the edge of the nest to try and get a tasty midge. He stretches but cannot quite reach it. He spreads his wings but of course the inevitable happens, he first of all floats then he falls. Flit tries to fly back up but no, he falls down to the ground.

Kiki the Kaka chick comes down to see what the fuss is about. He thinks he can help Flit get back up to his nest. He puts Flit onto a fern and then tries to flick Flit back up in the air to get back to his nest, but no, Flit flip flops down again.

Bit and Bob, the black robins come along and offer to help. This time they pick Flit up by the feet, holding on trying to fly at the same time. Of course, this doesn’t work either. Keri the Kiwi and Ruru both try their luck as well, to no avail.

This is a great story about what can be achieved when everybody uses their individual strengths. Gorgeous illustrations tie this wonderful story together.

I read this to 3 ½ year old Quinn. She was quite sure that Flit could manage to get back all on his own but loved the fact that he had so many friends who thought that they could help.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Flit the Fantail and the Flying Flop
by Kat Merewether
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775435105

Book Review: Kiwicorn, by Kat Merewether

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_kiwicornThis is such a cute, positive book. It celebrates individuality of all types, with a tiny bit of toilet humour thrown in to stop it from being saccharine.

The Kiwicorn is a unique creature, part Kiwi-part unicorn as the name implies. The illustrations present a cuddly, cheeky little creature that would make a great soft toy. Each double page spread has three descriptions and opposite a summary sentence, kind of like a value statement. For example, the left hand page asks, ‘Who is gentle, gutsy and good-hearted?’ The right hand page answers with, ‘Kiwicorn! I care about others and they care about me.’

Kiwicorn would be a great book for families to share to encourage self-acceptance and to celebrate the personality of their child. A wide range of attributes are included in the story, from politeness to rebelliousness, with a lot in between, so there will be something for everyone. The illustrations are delightful and engaging, with extra little details to spot.

I can imagine this book being a lovely shared book for children as young as two, and I will be using it with my class of 6-year-olds this year to build acceptance of differences and individual strengths. And also, just because it’s rather charming.

Recommended.

Reviewed by Rachel Moore

Kiwicorn
by Kat Merewether
Published by Illustrated Publishing
ISBN 9780994136428

Review: Tāwhirimātea: A Song for Matariki, by June Pitman-Hayes, illustrations Kat Merewether

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_TawhirimateaMatariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades, and for many Māori it heralds the start of a new year. This title has been released just in time for 2017’s Matariki celebrations.

Māori mythology and Matariki are woven together to tell a story of the seasons. Each page is dedicated to celebrating our Earth, sky, seasons and whanau. The text flows and rhymes its way across each page, moulding with the illustrations effortlessly. It’s a beautiful waiata and June Pitman-Hayes has been perfectly matched up with Kat Merewether to illustrate. Kat’s drawings are vibrant and full of meaning.

‘Tawhirimatea, blow winds blow. Ra, warm us up with your sunshine glow’.

Having Maori words integrated with English in the first half, and then the whole story retold in te reo in the second half is a great way to encourage young readers to explore both languages.

This book doesn’t disappoint and there is lots to look at on every page. My daughter and I spent ages pouring over each page, exploring them. It was fun to read aloud – or sing aloud rather – and a bonus that you can listen to the CD too, which is a beautiful addition to the book.

Reviewed by Nyssa Walsh

Tawhirimatea: A Song for Matariki
by June Pitman-Hayes, illustrations by Kat Merewether
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434139

Musical Book Reviews: Angel Star, by Chris Sanders, illustrated by Kat Merewether; Nee Naw the Little Fire Engine, by Deano Yipadee, illustrated by Paul Beavis

Angel Star, by Chris Sanders, illustrated by Kat Merewether
Chris Saunders and Kat Merewether have teamed up to create this wonderful book.

cv_angel_star‘She looked up, into the sky,
to pick an Angel from the stars.
A shining light,
stood out that night,
so she reached out
to give it life.
And as her hand it touched the light.
it flickered down towards the Earth.
Just as if it was, all meant to be,
Like picking apples from a tree.’

This book comes with the added bonus of a CD with Chris Saunders singing and playing his guitar. The illustrations by Kat Merewether lend a whimsical and mythical air to a rather lovely book. A really wonderful way of introducing the idea of a new baby into a family with a small child.

My 2 ½ year old granddaughter Quinn was read this book and immediately grasped that this was about a new baby in a family and gave herself the role of the baby and the little girl as her big sister Abby, which I found incredibly cute.

Nee Naw the Little Fire Engine, by Deano Yipadee, and Paul Beavis
The idea began as a spark when Deano’s friend mentioned her son was always saying ‘Neeee-naw w w‘ and pretending to be a fire engine. I think a lot of children are fascinated by the sound of sirens, copying the sounds they hear.

cv_nee_naw_the_little_fire_engine‘There was a dinky little fire truck
hidden away,
with a dent on his bottom
and a door painted grey.
The new fire engines thought
he couldn’t help at all
because he wasn’t very shiny
and he wasn’t very tall.’

The newer fire engines may have been flasher, with shiny bodies, but Nee Naw saves the day when one of the big engines gets stuck in the mud.

This book also comes with a CD with music and lyrics by the author Deano Yipadee, along with rather fun illustrations by Paul Beavis.

I had to play the CD twice to my 2-½-year-old granddaughter as she rather liked making the fire engine siren noises.

Reviews by Christine Frayling

Angel Star
by Chris Sanders, illustrated by Kat Merewether
Published by Chris Sanders
ISBN 9780473356026

Nee Naw the Little Fire Engine
by Deano Yipadee, and Paul Beavis
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775433927