"You put your pokey beak in,
you put your pokey beak out,
you put your pokey beak in
and you SHAKE it all about."
Join the fun as the cool-as Kiwi clan invites friends to a dance party down on the farm. There are lots of actions for kids to perform. This is a board book edition designed especially for very small children. It includes vibrant illustrations by Stevie Mahardhika and a link to a downloadable song performed by Pio Terei.
I was so pleased to see that this story had been issued as a board book because the target audience of pre-schoolers often wants to take charge of the page turning, but little ones are often lacking in coordination and the result is a flood of tears as a beloved book is ripped. No such issues with this book: it features sturdy binding and lovely thick boards which are designed to withstand plenty of rough if loving treatment. From the start, it was clear that this book belonged to Miss 20 Months and nobody else; she was the boss and in the first 24 hours of receiving it she had pressganged everyone into singing it to her and joining her with the actions. Everyone lost count of how many times it had been done after the number reached 12.
Not only Miss 20 Months, but also her parents, were overcome with fits of laughter as they tried to emulate the actions that all the animals were doing. Her mother even made a short video of her dancing with her father to the music while they tried dance moves like hip-hop and hula. When Kea made an appearance, there was a short break while she raced off to find her own squeaky kea - this is her favourite toy, so had to come and listen to the story too. She loved the other animals as well, but Kea remained the favourite and no doubt will accompany the book each time it is read to her so that he can listen too.
The featured creatures, although drawn as colourful caricatures of the real thing, are still recognisable because their key feature is emphasised. Kiwi has a "pokey beak", Pukeko "lanky legs", Tuatara "spiky tail", Kea "scratchy feet", Kunekune a "snuffly snout", Piwakawaka a "cheeky tail", Putangitangi "waddly feet", and Hipi a woolly coat. Only poor old Horse, who has a "funny face", is not instantly recognisable through his description - you have to look at the graphic! However, this opens up a conversation which can be broadened when the child encounters those animals and birds in real life.
This is possibly one of the most immediately successful books I have ever shared with a young child. The colourful pictures, the accessibility of the song, and the inclusion of a few everyday Maori words to set it firmly within a New Zealand context meant that it resonated with her and generated lots of enjoyment both for her and for the family. It is simple and straight to the point, deliberately aimed at the very young and guaranteed to foster a love of books. The bonus is being able to download the music so that less musical adults can still deliver the full song-and-dance experience and share it with their little ones.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Deep in the forest, a very bad bear is baking a fabulous pie. All the woodland animals want to help him find the perfect filling, so they bring him their favourite foods: berries, nuts, honey and salmon. But the bear has a better idea for what can go in the pie... the animals themselves!
With wonderfully humorous illustrations from the internationally bestselling Guy Parker-Rees and a superb rhyming text from Gareth Edwards, the creators of NEVER ASK A DINOSAUR TO DINNER are on fine form with this fun-filled romp through the forest.
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