Plunk! A seed landed right on Wacko Kakapo's head. "Awp! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! I must tell Tane Mahuta."
Meet some great characters in this New Zealand version of Henny Penny.
NOTE: The new paperback edition was published in July 2014, and this is the new cover.
If you are wanting a quick story with easy words I would pass on this book but if you are wanting a quite involved story with a delightful outcome that has children completely spellbound then this is the book for you. It is definitely a tounge twister and is a bit of a work out but it is fun and silly and enjoyable. At first I assumed I was reading the Kiwi version of Chicken Little but then it has a dark little twist which had both girls gasping.
I love reading Kiwiana stories, it makes it more personal and real. The names are awesome and I love the descriptive way there movements are mentioned. I also like the repetative nature of it which changes after a new animal is introduced. Then there are the pictures that are so vivid and life like and express so much. My girls just love looking at them and I have to admit so do I. I could easily look at Donovan Bixley pictures for hours. Such an extrodionary talent. Even if you do not read the story the pictures can tell you pretty much what is happening.
This is a lovely book that needs time to be read. It is one of the girls favourites, although even though it is repetative it is one of the few books they don't read along with me, I think they both get so engrossed with the book that they forget to talk. The price is great considering how long the book is and how amazing the pictures are. definitely a must have for every household.
My two year old was very excited to see the copy of "Wacko The Kakapo" and wanted me to read it right away saying "Bird, Bird please Mum" So I started the book to realise it was actually quite long, I worried it wouldn't hold my little guys attention but as the story went on he got more and more excited. He especially liked the rhyming parts of the story such as "Go Getter Weta" and repeated lots of words to me which was fantastic.
The illustrations in the book are awesome and we had fun pointing out the different birds and other creatures.
The story does have some quite big words which may be suited to an older audience. Miss 8 had a read of the book and enjoyed it, she needed help on some of the words and their meanings, but did really well and that makes it great for learning new words. She also enjoyed the rhyming and liked the "silly names" they had used for the creatures.
At bedtime this book was requested again and the three kids all enjoyed it as though it was their first time hearing it again. They all let out giggles at the quirky names used such as "Peewee Kiwi" and found it even funnier as I got tongue tied.
A great book that I can see becoming a Family Favourite!
We recently got the latest paperback version of Wacko Kakapo. This came with some new cover art as well. The front cover shows Wacko Kakapo with his wings stretched wide and being hit on the head with a flying seed. He has his beak open and his tongue out as if he is screeching. The picture is quite engaging and gives a little hint to the traditional tale that will be covered in a kiwi way inside the book.
Yvonne Morrison has done a great job mixing up the story of Chicken Licken, with our native forest animals. Each new creature comes along, with their zany name and their personality is described as well. The word count per page is pretty high. This is not a super quick read, but it has a lot of substance. I learnt a few things about each animal. She weaves little facts into the story,. For example, I didn't really understand that Kakapos make a "boom" noise. I knew that kiwis fight with their legs, but not every person would know that.
The stoat was a perfect pick for the villain. It gave us a chance to talk about introduced mammals and how they are bad for our native animals. My daughter was on her knees leaning in and whispering "oh no!" in my ear as the Stoat entered the story. In equal parts though, it was Donovan Bixley's pictures of each character and the sneaky Stoat that really brought the story together. Each of the characters have their personality shining out their face.
I just love the way, even with animal features he manages to make them so individual. Wacko has the coolest hair style, despite it all being feathers. The Kiwi' hairstyle reminded me of Edmond Hillary. The Tuatara doesn't just look like a lizard, he has a bit of wrinkle around the neck and little glasses to give him a bit of age-old wisdom.
Probably my only negative about this book, was that the names of the animals are quite a mouthful. I'm sure I will get use to them with a few more readings. But my tired brain kept slipping up especially on None-Truer Tuatara. I kept saying None-Truer Tararua. Probably just me!
This delightfully kiwi story 'Wacko Kakapo' gets full review marks from me and my daughter and her teacher too!
This book was given to my girl from her school through the Duffy book programme, as a reward for being a great reader.
She is 5 yrs old and came shooting in after school one day and said to me without taking a breath, "Mum mum you have to read this story, its the best story ever. My teacher loves it, its her favorite, and I Iove it too. We have already read it today, but please mum can we read it again..now!!!!"
And so I sat down and began to read it. I had never heard of Wacko Kakapo prior to this moment, and I have to say, I am truly loving all the kiwi versions of classic stories I read as a child, and Wacko Kakapo is now my favorite. The story is a take on the old classic Henny Penny, the story line/plot is the same.. yes the sky is falling even in this version.
I love the fantastic variety of animals and the fun and quirky rhyming names for them all; Peewee Kiwi, Go Getter Weta and more. And as the names are so fun you may (like i did) find yourself changing your voice to match each character, based not only on the type of animal but also their name. Its a lot of fun deciding on a voice to use for the characters, esp Gotta-Gloat Stoat. The names are not the only great things about this book. The artwork is fantastic, with the pictures and colours all matching that part of the story perfectly. And the new version of the original story is absolutely brilliant. Author Yvonne Morrison has done a wonderful job on this one.
This is a really fun story to read and my daughter really does love it. She made me read it again that night while she had her bath and again as her bed time story. In fact we have read it so many times now, I possibly know it off by heart.
As far as reading it alone though, it is more suited to older children who are comfortable with their reading abilities, as the names of the characters/animals can be quite difficult to get your tongue around, however with help younger readers would be ok, but they would need help for sure.
Definitely one to have on the book shelf.
The clan absolutely loved this tale. Very Kiwi version of 'Henny Penny' though I always it was 'Chicken Little' and 'Henny Penny' was about how only those who chipped in got to share the rewards. Funny how the mind starts to play tricks on you as you age, eh.
It was a lot of fun reading this to the little ones the first time, and it was really gratifying to see how they all adored it enough to keep it doing the rounds of the family for so long. Normally, if I lend out a book it comes back within a week, but this one stayed out far longer than normal, and will be heading back out again this weekend apparently. I have been told that if I am really lucky it will find its way home again before Christmas. At least its getting some great use as it circles the clan's younger bedrooms along with the other 3 in the series.
The story is endearing as always, and the artwork is stunning, though in a couple of places it didn't quite match up, like when the travellers met up with the stoat, the text said he was smirking but the artwork had him looking awfullt guilty in front of a broken-open door.
All in all another excellent Kiwi fairytale, but this time without the rhyhming, which made it easier to read out loud.
This book has been beautifully written and produced. It is a hard cover book that is very durable and I feel it will be a book that I pass on down to my grandchildren.
I had so much fun telling this story to my 3 yr old daughter. She thoroughly enjoyed it too. In hindsight I should have read it before I read it to her at bedtime as we laughed so much I had to calm her down again before she could go to sleep! Whoops!
This is truly a great New Zealand version of Henny Penny. Although when I was describing it to my friends as the story where 'the sky is falling' they immediately said oh 'Chicken Little'. Am I the only one who remembers Henny Penny?? This is a brilliant and accurate version from the original story of Henny Penny (well from what I can remember anyhow!)
The story is written in such a way that it is appealing to children. There are decent size cheeky and quirky illustrations with only one or two paragraphs per page which makes it easy on the eye. It makes a change from children's stories which just have text from the top to the bottom of the page.
This book definitely gives you value for money! I think it is a reasonable price because the book is made with great quality. And this is a story that wont go out of fashion so to speak.
With names like Wacko Kakapo, Peewee Kiwi, Go-Getta Weta, None-Truer Tuatara, Never-Fear Kea and Gotta-Gloat Stoat there is plenty of entertainment in this book. Try saying those names fast! Definitely a tongue twister!
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"A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)