Hana discovers a secret about her best friend Puanga, and with the help of the mighty Tawhirimatea, a new star blazes in the icy winter sky.
Puanga is cousin to the Matariki sisters. Each year, she appears to the people of the West Coast of Aotearoa to signal that winter and the Maori New Year are coming.
This is her story.
Beautifully illustrated by Munro Te Whata
The Promise of Puanga, A story for Matariki is an absolutely stunning book that celebrates Matariki in a way that makes it easy for children to understand why the Matariki stars are such an important part of Maori culture and the Maori New Year in New Zealand. Scholastic has brought out some great Matariki books each year and we are starting to develop a collection of the most beautiful books to celebrate this occasion with our children.
My children are always excited when we get a new book so when they saw this arrive they both cuddled in ready to hear a new story. The illustrations drew us in straight away with a watercolour style and animated characters, while still following a traditional Maori art with the classic colours and koru patterns subtly blended in I felt the modern cartoon style characters like Tawhirimatea appealed well to children in this style while still maintaining traditional Maori art styles.
I have a 7 year old who loves a good picture book being read aloud to him and a nearly 2 year old who has already grown to love this too so it is a great book for both age groups as it is simple and short enough for my youngest and still appealing to my 7 year old who is able to pick up on the storyline a bit more. He also loved reading the book by himself and took it to school to share with his class, the other children thoroughly enjoyed having the book read to them too and the teacher remarked on what a beautiful book it is and how they may need it for the school library.
We are introduced to the star Puanga in this story who is cousin to the Matariki stars, while I have read plenty of childrens books talking of the Matariki sisters this is the first time I had heard of Puanga so I found this book very special to find out about a new star that helps signify the start of winter. Puanga helped warn the villagers that winter was coming by shining bright in the sky for all to see just as her cousins the Matariki sisters did.
Being a story about the change in seasons and preparing for Maori New Year, as well as traditional Maori mythology we loved that it had some basic Maori vocabulary in the story, words that are easy enough for everyone to have a go at and introduce children to Te Reo. I loved reading this book with my children and would highly recommend it as a book for home as well as schools.
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