The book begins with a challenge to count different objects – which is not as straightforward as it sounds! A little snail tells us that he is hiding on each page – a challenge eagerly accepted by our young readers.
This counting book goes beyond ten and gets all the way to twenty. Each number is written with its numeral, English and te reo Māori name as well as a little description of what is happening. Text is limited, which is fine, because there is so much to talk about as you turn the pages.
Donovan Bixley has infused this counting book with his characteristic illustrations that are cheerful and full of life. Each page has something to make you laugh, for example, the dogs using a digger to find a very big buried bone or the cows in hot air balloons! The illustrations are certainly what makes Bixley’s books special. They encourage the reader to slow down and really look.
The book is modern kiwi in the language, animals and scenery throughout the book. The last page deserves special mention – number twenty is a class photo of a modern NZ classroom with the diversity of our communities represented.
Bixley tells us exactly what this book is in the title: A Great Kiwi 1-2-3 book and it lives up to its name.
Reviewed by Sara Croft
The Great Kiwi 1-2-3 Book
by Donovan Bixley
Published by Hachette NZ