Book review: Te Whare, nā Ngaere Roberts, rāua ko Christine Dale

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_te_whare.jpgTe Whare is a book aimed at children learning to speak te reo Māori.  It is written in te reo Māori with pictures providing the other part of the meaning.

Te Whare follows a baby crawling through a house introducing the words for common everyday things associated with having a small child in the house. From pushchairs, bottles to keys to cots and everyday household furnishings. Even the household pets, the dog and the cat are involved in this simple but rather wonderful book.

There are very few trade books written solely in te reo Māori that haven’t been translated from English. This book is a welcome addition to an already slim selection written for New Zealand children by New Zealand authors.

I am not a te reo speaker but found I could easily understand what this book was trying to convey.  If I had any difficulty I resorted to an on-line Māori to English translation.  The joys of modern technology.

The illustrations are in black and white, with different coloured backgrounds portraying the various rooms in the house to show a normal New Zealand household. They are simply done, but help the reader get to grips with te reo Māori.  I think that this would be a welcome addition to any Kōhanga reo, primary school or young child’s library.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Te Whare
Nā Ngaere Roberts
Rāua ko Christine Dale
Published by OneTree House
ISBN 9780473397074


Book Review: Of Course You Can! | Ka Taea Tonu e Koe! by Karen Hinge, illustrated by Nicky Sievert

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_of_course_you_can.jpgJust like any child starting a new school, Jeremy was nervous. Kowhai Street Primary school looked nice and his teacher, Whae Kath was welcoming. He waved good-bye to his mother. Jeremy sat back watching the activities the other children were engaging in. After eating some of his lunch he participated in some of the activities – making a colourful fish picture to add to the class display. His first day was over but his enthusiasm was a bit mixed which is how a lot of children feel in a new environment.

On Jeremy’s second day he was invited to join in some of the activities. He was convinced he wouldn’t be able to participate but with words of encouragement and a bit of ingenuity he was able to join in. Jeremy was making new friends and finding ways to participate in all the games and the rough and tumble of a school’s playground.

This book is very cleverly put together, encouraging children to have empathy for those who aren’t able-bodied, and helping them to find a way to join in children’s every day activities.

What is also wonderful with this book is the accompanying text in Te Reo. Many schools are teaching Te Reo, so this book is a great addition to a school’s library or class text.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Of Course You Can! | Ka Taea Tonu e Koe!
by Karen Hinge Na Ngaere Roberts i whakamaori
Illustrated by Nicky Sievert
Published by OneTree House
ISBN 9780473421854

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 Review: The Kiwi Hokey Tokey, by Pio Terei, Stevie Mahardika and Ngaere Roberts

cv_the_kiwi_hokey_tokeyAvailable now in bookshops nationwide.

The Kiwi Hokey Tokey
is sure to become a firm favourite book in homes around the country and I bet it won’t just be the children who can’t stop singing the title tune!

I started reading the book while playing the accompanying CD, but by the third page I was singing the words instead – you just can’t help yourself. Sung by popular New Zealand entertainer Pio Terei, the catchy tune will be great for teaching children te reo, as the words in English are followed by lyrics in Māori, and the CD features both versions, as well as guitar-only track if you prefer your own voices to dominate.

New Zealanders will recognise the animals featured in The Kiwi Hokey Tokey – kiwi, pukeko, tuatara, kea, pigs, fantails, ducks, horse, and sheep – and have fun singing the words to go with their versions of the familiar dance. The second part of the book features the te rep Māori verses so children can learn the words for the birds and animals they met earlier.

The kiwi-as illustrations are by Stevie Mahardhika, who moved to New Zealand to study at AUT, and the Maori lyrics are by Ngaere Roberts.

This is one of those books that will never get old and tired – but your voice may, as it’s sure to be on high rotation in kiwi households.

The Kiwi Hokey Tokey
by Pio Terei and Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Stevie Mahardika
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434115

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: We wish you a Kiwi Christmas, by Lynette Evans, illustrated by Myles Lawford

cv_we_wish_you_a_kiwi_christmasAvailable at bookstores nationwide.

We Wish You a Kiwi Christmas
is a delightfully “kiwi” version of the traditional song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, with gorgeous illustrations.

The story follows an excited little Kiwi on Christmas Eve when she discovers Santa and his broken-down sleigh, calls in all her flying friends to act as Santa’s reindeer to get those presents delivered. For an extra touch of delight, as she’s sitting with Santa on his sleigh, we get the verse:

She looked all around,
And with a soft, dreamy sign,
Said, “Who dares to say
That kiwis can’t fly!”

Published by Scholastic in time for Christmas 2014, there is no need to save this one for under the Christmas tree, the accompanying CD makes this great fun to read and sing in the lead up to Christmas Day.

The story runs through once in English, then repeats with a Māori translation, with slightly different illustrations and a few more verses to a page, so there is room to discuss new aspects of the story, even if you don’t read/speak Māori. As an added advantage there is also a small glossary of English-Māori words at the back of the book, to aid in translation for non-speakers.

He mihi Kirihimete Kiwi,
mihi kau ana mō te Tau Hou,
mīharo, tumeke,
ka mau te wehi !

My only issue is that, as a non-Māori speaker, I found the phrasing quite difficult to get my tongue around. As with the English, they have kept the spirit of the song and story more than they have the metre of the song, so some of the pronunciation is quite fast, and some of the sentences are a bit crammed. However, if, like me, you don’t speak Māori, don’t worry too much, a few plays of the very clear CD and you’ll be singing along at the top of your lungs in no time.

Most of us know the tune, so although the CD isn’t strictly necessary, it does help with getting the phrasing right. However, it’s a wonderful addition just by itself. Pio Terei has a distinctive voice which lends itself perfectly to this song. He’s backed up with children singing, and bird song is brought into the mix throughout.

Wonderful illustrations, amusing text, and a lovely CD… this book definitely puts the merry in a Kiwi Christmas.

We Wish You a Kiwi Christmas
By Lynette Evans, Illustrated by Myles Lawford
Māori lyrics by Ngaere Roberts
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN  9781775432678