Another great Kiwi Christmas sing-along from Scholastic, sure to be a hit! We wish
you a Kiwi Christmas, a sweet-as Kiwi Christmas, a cracker Kiwi Christmas and a kapai New Year! Little Kiwi dreams of riding through the skies with Santa, and is surprised one Christmas Eve to come across Santa with a broken-down sleigh. With the help of some of her bird friends, Little Kiwi finally gets her wish!
"We Wish You A Kiwi Christmas" - the title says it all! Christmas is traditionally meant to be all about snow and sleighbells and Santa and all sorts of other things starting with "s" - but it just does not work when you live in a part of the world where the seasons are reversed. So this story includes familiar words and places and the heroine is a little kiwi who just wishes she could fly.
What makes this book special is the way that the story features the traditional song "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" but with the lyrics rewritten to tell a completely new story. There are two versions - one in English and one in Maori - and there is an accompanying CD so children can sing along. Three-year-old sang at the top of her voice and before too long she was singing along in both languages!
The pictures are delightful, a celebration of colour and cuteness. New Zealand is famous for the variety of its bird life and this book certainly showcases some of our more colourful natives. When Little Kiwi realises that Santa needs her help, she is quick to call her bird friends and they all learn to work together as a team. Miss Three and I had great fun picking out different birds and trying to identify them.
When I asked Miss Three what she liked most about the story, she was very definite - she liked the CD and being able to follow the pictures as she sang along. I can see this is a great way of learning to read as the words match the pictures - already she is starting to identify some of them. The chorus repeats regularly and that is the signal to sing twice as loud! I think we can safely say that we both enjoyed this book and I would certainly recommend it to anyone with young children.
I am a sucker for anything with a New Zealand theme so having yet another well known Christmas song given a kiwi makeover was a pleasure to read.
Who could not be caught up singing along with this kiwi version when using good old kiwi slang - Ka Pai, cracker, sweet-as. What a great way to teach kiwi kids what these words/saying really mean.
I loved the way that this makeover of a traditional song used New Zealand nature and it was the kiwi who solved Santa's dilemma. By reading this book my son is now more aware of native birds and their strongest characteristic - sleek Tui, sleepy Kereru, friendly Fantail, cheeky Kea, brave Bellbird, shy Kokako. This was my favourite page and probably had the most discussion as it lead to the discussion of how it is important that we all can have different strong points we bring to society, we don't have to be the same (I did dumb the conversation down to a 3 yr old level).
The illustrations are beautifully crafted and captured a sense of movement. I love how these books come with a CD as well as it encourages us to sign along and enjoy the story together. We also enjoy listening to the story in Maori. I like exposing my children to multiple languages so by listening to it in Maori and following the written words at the same time gave the Maori language an equal value.
I gave this book a Ten out of Ten as it appealed to me on so many levels - as a teaching aid and enjoyment. It will be read over and over for many years to come.
We usually have a big family Christmas and love to share new Christmas books with all the nieces and nephews over the Christmas period. I noticed quickly that the book "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" came with a CD. It was a huge bonus that both English and Maori versions were in the book and also on the CD. I am always keen to encourage Maori as well as English with my children and nieces and nephews.
Miss Two just loved the book. We played it night after night, despite the fact that it was two months until Christmas. I think that we will play it many more times before Christmas. I found that Miss Two really liked hearing it before bed. I played the CD on my laptop and I leafed through the book as the CD played and I sang along. Gradually, Miss Two started to join in with little bits that she remembered. While the CD was playing she listened very carefully and with serious concentration. After listening to the CD, she fell off to sleep. A lovely way to end the day.
The best way to describe the book and CD set, is superb! The familiar tune, made it easy to pick up and read (or sing) along with the CD. Even without the CD, it would be natural to start singing along to. There is a great flow to the story and music in the book.
I loved the fact that the song, although well known, was modified into a special and uniquely Kiwi experience. There are expressions used throughout the book, such as sweet-as, cracker and Ka Pai, which we are all too familiar in our country. While enjoying the book, Kiwi readers will identify with these sayings and have a wee giggle along the way. The illustrations are simply gorgeous and I love the image of the Kiwi, Santa's sleigh and the Pohutukawa flowers on the front cover. There are many of New Zealand's precious birds in the book and it is great to be able to present the correct pronunciation to children by using the accompanying CD. This would be a great support to many readers and also to foreign readers who are given the book as a special gift from New Zealand to family or friends. The glossary at the back is also useful for some of the Maori words used in the book.
I enjoyed hearing Pio Terei sing on the CD. It was also great to hear children's voices too. This encouraged my children to want to sing along. There is a festive feeling to the book and audio. I found that the more I sang, the better I got at fitting the Maori words in. I think that Santa will need to also have the name 'Hana Koko' in our house from now on.
Giving this book a ten out of ten is an easy choice as I can't see anything that could be improved and it was a fabulous read. It will be read and enjoyed many times over in the years to come.
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