The Kiwi Go Marching One by One by Peter Millett, illustrated by Deborah Hinde (Scholastic)
Sung in English and Maori by Jay Laga'aia, translated by Ngaere Roberts
The Kiwi go marching one by one,
They're hoping for some outdoor fun,
to play, play!
Have you guessed the tune? It's 'The Ants go marching one by one'. Peter Millet has turned this playful lyric into a kiwi version. When writing it he imagined a New Zealand (kiwi) family on holiday around different parts of the country. It celebrates New Zealanders love of outdoors and adventures 'down under'. The kiwi family in the story go tramping, fishing, camping, and even bungee jumping! But like all adventurous families they slump into bed at the end of the day tired from their exertions.
Deborah Hinde's artwork is colourful, has good use of white space, with occasional pages full of detail. Kids will love poring over all the little kiwiana extras she has included. I particularly loved the little kiwi with its tongue sticking out while it tries to fix its fishing line. I also liked how she made it a blended family - the brown kiwi and Great Spotted kiwi. (Technically that wouldn't ever happen, but Deborah has gone for a cartoon version of the kiwi and therefore can get away with it.)
The rhyming verse easily slips off the tongue and children will enjoy joining in with the onomatopoeia words at the end. Teachers and parents are going to love the fact it has the Maori version of the story in the second half of the book. They'll be able to play the CD and pick up how to pronounce Maori words as they sing along. I can see this song being performed by many a classroom for their school assemblies.
I imagine this is going to be a big hit in classrooms and young children's homes. Parents can play it in the car, as they travel to their holiday destination or even on the way to school. Be prepared to listen to it many times, it's going to be hugely popular with 4-6 year olds. Highly recommended for Junior school classrooms and families with pre-schoolers.