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Row, kiwi, row your boat, out from the wooden pier.
Come hunting for a taniwha, we're sure there's one round here.
This is a story about making new friends. Join the fun as three cheeky kiwi set out on a rowboat adventure to find a new friend - KA PAI! Children will enjoy spotting the cheeky, playful taniwha hidden in the illustrations.
Includes bonus CD by iconic New Zealand entertainer Pio Terei, with lyrics in both English and Maori. There is also a guitar-only version so children can sing by themselves.
Miss One totally fell in love with this book. She is at the stage now where she likes to be in control when she is listening to a story - turning the pages herself, and making the running as to when the story should proceed. She was captivated by the pictures and had great fun looking for the hidden taniwha; the words came second so it was a matter of her whim as to when they were read if at all!
However, this book does have a nice balance between words and pictures. There are not too many words, just enough to keep the flow of the story going and to encourage her to sing along. In that respect, the CD is useful as she can listen to it with her mother and try to join in. It is also a bonus that there are two versions, English and Maori, as children learn quickly at this age and it will encourage her to develop her vocabulary in both languages.
Basing a story on a well-known nursery song and then tailoring the words and pictures to a kiwi setting is a brilliant idea because it makes the whole book more relevant to a kiwi audience. At the same time, the tune is familiar which means that the parent or other adult (or for that matter, older sibling) who is reading the book with the toddler is already half way there. Little ones love to sing along so it is a very pleasant way of learning.
The creatures featured in the book are all locals (including the kiwi themselves, of course) and, although the drawings are stylised, they are still recognisable so that little ones can pick them out and name them without needing to actually read the words. They can seamlessly learn both the English and the Maori names for each creature as they sing along to the CD and look at the pages at the same time.
There is an added bonus inside the back cover (which contains the CD). If you then open up the back flap, there is a printed glossary with translations of all the main Maori words into English. This makes the task for the parent even easier, helping to overcome any shyness for those who are hesitant about using Te Reo in case they get it wrong. It is so important to encourage all young New Zealanders to take pride in knowing both their languages, and this is a way that parents can really get involved.
It is delightful to see children like Miss One taking so much pleasure in books like this. And, as with all fun learning experiences, the little ones don't even know that they are learning. They just know that they are having a really good time.
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