It wouldn’t be Christmas without another Kiwi-themed picture song book from Scholastic. The cartoon illustrations are bright, repetitive, and very in-your-face. The jolly-looking birds and animals involved in the familiar dance range from kiwi to sheep. Most of the book is taken up with the English text, with the Maori version on the last seven pages. There’s also an accompanying CD with popular Pio Terei singing the song. This is a good pre-schooler present for under the Christmas tree, especially if you think you’re going to suffer from Christmas carol overload… Also excellent for pre-school centres where the young ones can dance and sing along.
ISBN 978 1 77543 411 5 RRP Pb $21
Parakeet in Boots by Chris Burney, illus Myles Lawford, Scholastic NZ
This is the latest title in Scholastic’s well-known Kiwi Corkers series (Great New Zealand Yarns). It’s a local-flavoured version of the old Puss in Boots story, delivered in humorous rhyming text: “There once was a farmer, who fell ill and died, leaving three sons and a farm to divide.” The digitally-created cartoon illustrations feature a cheeky and very cunning parakeet wearing ugg boots. This would be great for reading aloud to groups in pre-school centres because of the expansive and colourful pictures.
ISBN 987 1 77543 438 2 RRP Pb $14
A Is for Aotearoa: a Lift-the-Flap Treasure Hunt by Diane Newcombe and Melissa Anderson Scott, Penguin Random House NZ
It’s not long since these two produced a similarly formatted picture book called A Is for Auckland, though the first one did not contain an interactive lift-the-flap feature. This story starts with Girl and Bird discovering a message in a bottle that sets them off on an alphabetical jaunt round the country. At each location, the reader must study the clues in the double-spread illustrations, and also lift the flap to read more clues about where they are. Some of the locations are easy to identify, but others are more challenging. Fortunately there is an informative list of solutions in the back. The illustrations are done in a complex style that combines collage, speech bubbles, black-pen outlines and subdued watercolours, so there’s a lot going on in every picture. I think pre-schoolers wouldn’t appreciate all the elements in the pictures without an adult’s assistance. But younger primary-aged children would cope with the challenge of the location puzzles, and should enjoy spotting the subtle humour hidden on every page.
ISBN 978 0 14 350730 7 RRP $25 (not published till 28 November) Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman