Monday, October 27, 2014

A delightful new kiwi story

Kuwi's First Egg by Kat Merewether

Find out how Kuwi the Kiwi looks after her newly laid egg. She knits a scarf, sings a waiata and takes it out to play but Egg doesn’t seem too impressed. When the egg begins to crack Kuwi thinks she has not done a very good job  – what can she do?
Read this delightful imaginary story about a clueless kiwi looking after her egg.
Note, in real life the male kiwi incubates the egg - parents can start a discussion with them about that. Children will enjoy the pictures, as the burrow expands and new insects make their own little homes around it, and the little kiwi’s expressions are rather gorgeous. A book that will be asked to be read again and again.

Kat has illustrated many books for authors before but this is the first book she has written and illustrated and published herself. I spoke to Kat about her book and she said that her father had worked for the Department of Conservation for many years and now works as a volunteer at Maungatautari Reserve with Kiwi Conservation so she had talked a lot about the father/egg incubation. 
"In the story there is a bit of the background that I hoped parents might pick up on… Why is Kuwi alone? (maybe the father/mate has succumbed to a predator?).  That is why she doesn't know what to do with the egg either, as it is not in her nature to be the nurturer.  

I couldn't add the gatefold 'flaps' to the digital book, but on the back cover 'flap' it has facts about the brown kiwi and a link to the website to find out more about them.  On the website I have explained more about the background of the story and about the father being the caregiver in most scenarios.  I wanted to tie in the more factual and important side of Kiwi conservation with the fun/funny story that appeals to very young children." 

On Kat's website she says:
THE IDEA BEHIND Kuwi's First Egg.

I first came up with the idea behind Kuwi's First Egg when I was surviving through the perils of life with a newborn. I felt a little like we were learning to be parents through trial and error! I made mistakes, had to ask for help, and learned so much. Kuwi is me, and any parent who feels a little like they were thrown in the deep end (and totally clueless) when they became a parent.

I had 2 year old Willow and was pregnant with my third daughter Florence, when I actually put pen to paper to write and storyboard the book. I had been reading very basic and un-stimulating books to
Willow, aimed at her age group. I wanted to write something I could read to a child of that age, that
they would enjoy as much as the parent reading it.

In my research, I discovered that the male Kiwi typically cares for the Kiwi egg. I thought that was quite interesting, and so the character Kuwi, being female, turns that idea on its head. She is a confused first-time mother Kiwi, who has found herself alone with her new egg.  The Kiwi population is so fragile, I imagine Kiwi often lose their partners to predators.  And what would happen if a pregnant Kiwi lost her mate?

I added very basic Te Reo Māori words into the story, to introduce children to a little Te Reo at a young age. The story is simply written to suit the 1-5 year age group, but it has a broader appeal due to it's sense of humour and subtle iconic New Zealand feel.

RRP $19.99
Buy back order here
Due in all good book shops mid-November

Kat's website goes live this weekend:  

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