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NZ Book Council Review

Peer Review: Picture Books April 2016

Reviews by Librarians, Teachers and Principals of the latest New Zealand picture books for the NZ Book Council

Kākahu: Getting Dressed, Kanohi: My Face & Kararehe: Animals
Kitty Brown, Illustration: Kirsten Parkinson

Translation: Kitty Brown
Reo Pepi Tapui Ltd, BB - $44 set of 3 books
Age: 3+

Reviewer: Tatai Takuira¬Mita, Kaiako¬Toitoi Manawa
Fairhaven School, Te Puke

I read this set of pukapuka (books) to my junior immersion class. Most of my students were already familiar with the language used. They particularly enjoyed the interactive nature of the books. For example, when reading Kānohi: My Face, every page posed a new question; ‘Kei hea to …? The children would point to their own appropriate body part. For those who were unsure, they could use the visual cues in the pictures.

We found the illustrations realistic and sometimes comical, (with comments such as, 'That looks like my baby brother/little sister.') My students burst out laughing over the last page, at the child with big ngutu (lips) in Kānohi: My Face – which became their favourite part of the book.

The translations and pronunciation guide inside the back cover makes the books user-friendly and would be extremely helpful for teachers with limited knowledge of Te Reo.

Although repetitive, there were subtle changes in the text, and we were able to highlight the use of ‘to’ and ‘o’ for singular and plural.

In the book Kakahū: Getting Dressed, the children could fully relate to the topic of getting dressed because it is an activity they do themselves every day. Now they have Māori words to use when doing that familiar activity.

In the Kararehe: Animals book, the animals portrayed were known and common in New Zealand. My students loved these books and read them multiple times. We think this set of books would be most ideal for Early Childhood Centres and Junior classes at primary school. The hard cover and sturdy pages make them durable and easy for little hands to turn. My students thought they would also make a great gift for a baby or toddler’s birthday.

N.B. If they were available in Te Reo Māori only (i.e. without the English translations) they would be ideal for Kohanga and Rūmaki settings.