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In her latest story, Kuwi the kiwi attempts to find a moment of peace and quiet in the chaos of parenthood. But everywhere she turns, the volume just gets louder. Tap-dancing tomtits, karate-kicking kokako, and other noisy native friends join in the rowdy fun until Kuwi can't take it any more.
Adults and children alike will laugh at the humorous storyline and the quirky illustrations. The story also offers a heartwarming yet subtle message about being happy with what you have.
20 cents from each book sale goes to support kiwi conservation projects in New Zealand.
I think Miss Two is one of Kuwi's greatest fans! She listens to each word with real understanding (and heaven help the dad or other reader who dares to change a word or skip something), and looks at each picture as if for the first time - there is always something new to discover. Add the cute, colourful characters and the positive messages that each Kuwi book contains, and you have a true recipe for success among pre-schoolers.
When she found out that she was to be lucky enough to own the latest in the series, she was overjoyed. She insisted on discussing each page as it was read to her in turn; this involved some stopping and starting of course as she looked at previous pages too! With maturity, she is starting to be aware of other people's feelings and to show empathy with them. This brought the book's themes home to her as she related to her own experiences with friends and family.
After she had finished the book, she chose a few pictures that had struck a particular chord with her. She even related to the way that parents sometimes get tired of constant noise and would appreciate a little peace and quiet. She can be quite rowdy when she is with other children of similar age, so although she is still very young, she understood exactly what that meant! She identified with Huwi and thought it would be nice to have some friends who looked like his. The picture on the title page, depicting Huwi lying on his back surrounded by building blocks, really resonated with her!
The farting whio made her giggle, She said they were making bubbles in the water. She also loved the poo-pitching pekapeka (and was able to work out from the picture what a pekapeka was without need for translation, so there was a new word she had learned as well). These are things every two-year-old can certainly relate to, and find utterly hilarious (as are most bodily functions at that age). Every one of Huwi's friends made a different noise, and Miss Two repeated them with great enthusiasm and plenty of volume.
We loved the way the backflap opened to reveal the ending of the book. This was a simple but very clever technique which prompted Miss Two to play a game of peek-a-boo. If I had any doubts before about the value of this book for little kids, this was the clincher: one of the most positive and user-friendly books I have come across. It is educational in an enjoyable way - there is even a short glossary of Maori words and a fact sheet on the kiwi at the end of the book. Miss Two and I can't wait for the next in the series.
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