I took these three books straight to Sam to ask her to order a set. I’d just read them to three 5 year-olds in our Te Reo Māori immersion class to test out an age level for them. Being board books, even though they were really engaging to me as a reader and language learner, I wondered if our youngest learners would think they were babyish. They most definitely did not.
My three young friends – all learning to read and speak Te Reo Māori – really loved the books. They enjoyed using their own knowledge of reading to work out the phrases by looking at the pictures and matching the words. They spontaneously acted out some of the phrases. They were excited to be able to actually be able to read new books.
Because these books are bilingual – Te Reo Māori and English – they will be accessible to most readers in New Zealand. It’s a great idea to make some simple vocabulary and phrases available to readers who only have a smattering of Te Reo Māori with the English translation underneath, and there’s a really helpful pronunciation guide with phonetic spelling at the back to help.
The illustrations are just gorgeous. The children look like real Kiwi kids, cheeky and mischievous and full of spirit; you feel like you could stroke the animals. And being board books, they are robust enough to grow with a baby or toddler into a child’s first year of school; although I think the books are too lovely to be chewed on!
I will be buying these books as gifts for newborns, and for early birthday presents – I think they’d be great for children who are up to 5 and a half. I think these are such a valuable addition to the wonderful pantheon of homegrown books that speak of New Zealand; every early learning centre should have the set. I really hope that Kitty Brown and Kirsten Parkinson will produce more!
Reviewed by Rachel Moore (New Entrance teacher)