Book Review: Row, Kiwi, Row Your Boat, illustrated by Stevie Mahardika

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_row_kiwi_row_your_boat.jpgThis book has become a firm favourite in our audio story collection.  It is a cheerful, fast-paced musical telling of a kiwi going on an adventure to find a taniwha.  Along the way kiwi meets many New Zealand native animals and birds who join kiwi on the adventure.

It is beautifully written in rhyming prose and has a clear storyline of the kiwi following a river out to the sea to find a taniwha.  The story includes a repeating stanza so children can quickly join in the story-telling.  Also the storyline can be re-created in magnetic puppets or dramatic play so children can recreate it in their play to build early literacy skills.

A picture tells a thousand words and these illustrations are bright and perfectly match the text. Children can easily follow along with the visual representation of the story.  We particularly love the page which locates the adventure by showing a birds-eye view of the path the characters have taken.

Our children love to join Kiwi on her adventure to find a taniwha.  The suspense builds throughout the story as the animals work together on their mission.  It weaves messages of friendship and co-operation.

The book also includes the music and words for the story in te reo Māori.  It is possible to listen to the story in te reo Māori, and as your confidence grows it is easy to insert words into your reading in English – beginning with the names of many native birds and animals.

Reviewed by Sara Croft, ECE Teacher

Row, Kiwi, Row Your Boat
illustrated by Stevie Mahardika, sung by Pio Terei
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434931

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

The artful recreation of a Kiwi Christmas story in Hutt City – Giveaway below

cv_the_twelve_days_of_kiwi_christmasThink of your favourite childhood storybook. And now imagine yourself as a child seeing that storybook come to life. That’s exactly what’s happening in downtown Lower Hutt next month to celebrate Myles Lawford’s children’s book The Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas.

The lively picture book is a delightful take on The Twelve Days of Christmas carol. But as the title suggests, it comes with a Kiwi twist. The partridges and pear trees have gone, and instead Kiwi kids will read, and sing, about a summertime Christmas with chocolate fish and boogie boards.

To boost the festive mood, Hutt City Council is running a scavenger hunt through Lower Hutt CBD based on The Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas. Twelve shops in the CBD will display an artwork based on one of the 12 gifts in the book. Kids of all ages can then use the storybook trail map (see link below) to find the art pieces. They’ll find a letter attached to each display, which will spell out a Christmas message, and be their entry into the draw to win fantastic prizes.


Tony Yates’ sculpture of a giant meat pie is one of the 12 art displays in Lower Hutt that’s bringing a kids’ Christmas storybook to life.

It’s a neat way to promote The Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas. And for kids, it’s a fun, interactive way to enjoy the story. It lifts the story off the pages and recreates it in their world. Each artwork is created by artists from The Learning Connexion in Lower Hutt. These artists give their own spin, their own interpretation, their own ideas to the words – and what better way to show children that words in a book aren’t limited to the pages, but can take on their own forms in their imagination and be recreated as art.

Learning Connexion logoArtist Michaela Miller’s brief was to create art that reflected the book’s “eight flying Frisbees”.

Although Michaela specialises in painting, she decided to experiment in photography. For her work, she will literally have to fling and then photograph Frisbees from hilltops, before adding her creative spin through Photoshop.

The result is stunning. And without giving too much away, the Frisbees will be in high colour against a black and white background.

The artists can, and do, indulge in a topsy-turvy world. Just like Caitlin Morris’ watercolour painting depicting the fifth day of the Kiwi Christmas. Chocolate fish dangling like baubles on a pohutukawa tree? Well, why not? In art, as in storybooks, anything can happen. Real world rules don’t apply.

Tony Yates is another of The Learning Connexion artists involved in the project. His work is a sculpture of an oversized mince pie. Tony spent a week moulding the clay before painting it to give it that look of golden, freshly cooked pastry.

Tony says the kids in his family are especially excited by the project. They can’t wait to see his work displayed as part of the story trail.

The Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas also comes with a CD so kids can sing along in both English and Māori.HCC_TE AWA_lockup_CMYK_Teal TeAWA

Kids will love singing along with the book, and if they head out to Lower Hutt over the next couple of weeks, they can see with their own eyes, the ideas of The Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas come to life.

Booksellers New Zealand has three copies of The Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas to give away. Click through to their facebook page to enter, or enter below.

What: The Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas storybook trail
Where: Lower Hutt CBD
When: November 30 to 24 December

Download your Story Trail map here.

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Article by Jolene Williams, Hutt City Council, in promotion of their Christmas celebrations.