Book Review: Twinkle Twinkle Matariki, by Rebecca Larsen

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_twinkle_twinkle_matarikiRebecca Larsen continues to write and illustrate picture books with a true New Zealand flavour. She has already delighted young audiences with Row Row Your Waka and Tane Mahuta Has a Forest. In Twinkle Twinkle Matariki, we enjoy another musical tale. The appearance of Matariki, the Southern Cross, in our skies, has become the centrepiece of celebrations across the country. In Christchurch, we had a whole week of events. This book supports pre-schools and Junior classes in their activities. My own grandaughter already knew the story and song from her daycare centre. She was able to explain the ideas using the illustrations to help read the text.

Larsen uses simple illustrations based on New Zealand plants and animals. Her pictures are colourful and quirky. The text is in Maori and English so allows for a bi-cultural Reading. The inclusion of a CD song track allows the less musically inclined to enjoy the song. I found the music at a good pitch and speed to play to a class of 5 year olds.

Twinkle Twinkle Matariki is a new take on an old favourite. The pleasure of setting the song in Aotearoa allows an inclusive celebration of Matariki. This is a great addition to any family bookshelf.

Reviewed by Kathy Watson

Twinkle Twinkle Matariki
written and illustrated by Rebecca Larsen
Published by Imagination Press
ISBN 9780995114227

Book Review: Tane Mahuta has a Forest / He wao tā Tāne Mahuta, by Rebecca Larsen

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_tane_mahuta_has_a_forestRebecca Larsen is back with another sing-along kiwi adventure. Following on from her debut book, Row, row, row your boat, Kiwi, Hoiho & Pukeko are heading off for a walk through Tāne Mahuta’s forest.

Set to the tune of Old MacDonald had a farm, the three friends walk through the forest and spot different creatures as they go (including Tāne Mahuta himself!). The lyrics encourage readers to move their bodies as we meet each animal – can you crawl like a weta or stretch as tall as Tāne Mahuta?

There are two things which make this sing-along book special. Firstly, Rebecca Larsen’s beautiful pencil illustrations which are bright and full of life. All the textures and shading can be seen and admired and the birds are delightful characters to follow through the story. We laughed at the kiwi flying like a pekapeka with a little help from her friend!

Secondly, the text incorporates te reo Māori throughout the song. It provides lots of opportunities to practice vowel pronunciation for new speakers, but also weaves Māori kupu into the verses too. There is, of course, a fluent Māori version at the back, but for beginner speakers it is a great way to learn and use new vocabulary.

With so many sing-along books now available, Rebecca Larsen has developed something a little more funky that makes it stand out from the crowd. With vibrant illustrations, beautiful lyrics and music which will get all readers wriggling and jiggling along, this will surely become a favourite on your bookshelf.

Reviewed by Sara Croft

Tāne Mahuta has a forest / He wao tā Tāne Mahuta
Written & illustrated by Rebecca Larsen
Published by Imagination Press
ISBN 9780995103283