Monday, December 21, 2015

A trip down memory lane

The Adventures of Hutu & Kawa by Avis Acres (Penguin)

Parents and grandparents are sure to remember this classic series, but probably haven't laid eyes on it for a while. The book was originally published in 1955 and has been republished to celebrate the 60th anniversary. The publishers have produced the book in a special padded hardcover, which will help it survive in your household, classroom or library for many years to come.

The author sets the scene with a large pohutukawa tree and introduces us to the main characters - little pohutukawa babies Hutu and Kawa. With the help of Grandpa Kiwi Hutu and Kawa build a canoe and begin their adventure exploring the river. Before they go, Grandpa Kiwi gives them a whistle to blow in case of an emergency and sage advice about how to keep safe. It's not long before they experience danger and wish they are home.

At the back of the book is a page about the author. Avis wrote and illustrated three books in the Hutu & Kawa book series. She also wrote a children's comic strip based on the characters for the New Zealand Herald. Avis also wrote and illustrated the popular book 'Opo the Gay Dolphin' about the friendly dolphin who frequented Opononi beach.

The story and art work has an old-world charm. Young children will enjoy the story and I'm sure there will be a few adults who will buy it for nostalgic reasons. Would the story have been published in these times ... An editor probably would have wanted to make the kiwi family more realistic - only one species of kiwi stay together as a family. Young kiwi find their own food and the parents don't feed them. Editors might be wary nowadays of publishing a story that has young children going off on an adventure along a river, too - for safety reasons.

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