My kiwi gumboots reach up to my knees.
They are the colour of cheddar cheese.
They are different from Mum's and Dad's, it's true
But when I grow up I'll have Red Bands too.
Kamuputu kiwi kei nga pona ke,
Te tihi, te rite, o te tae.
He rereke ki otu matua,
Ka pakeke ahau ka orite.
The yellow gumboots go everywhere the little girl goes, and share all her adventures. A CD is included with the book, so you can get your own gumboots tapping and sing along in English and then in Maori with June Pitman-Hayes and Tiraya Sullivan.
The NZ themed illustrations are by Minky Stapleton, and the Maori translation is by Ngaere Roberts.
This book was advertised as being suitable for ages 2-6, and up to now we have found that Miss Two is quite receptive to books at and even well above her age group. This time, however, she was not immediately taken by the story despite the cute pictures and repetition of the chorus. She did follow the first section of the book, pointing out the illustrations and paying particular attention to the small creatures like the chickens and frogs. We had thought that she would enjoy the song, but she had difficulty following the flow. Even her dad, who was reading the story to the children, found it hard to sing along to.
A lot of care and thought had gone into the book, even down to the Papakupu at the back, and we liked the way that the two versions (English and Te Reo) were included in the same edition so that a child could flick between them. The Maori version was more condensed than the English but basically both told the same story, and certainly could be used to assist a child who was learning to use both languages simultaneously. Miss Two did like the vibrant illustrations and kept pointing to various pictures that caught her eye.
Because Miss Two had found the book a bit too challenging, I read it to another child - a friend's five-year-old, who has just started school. She loves reading and singing, so in the interests of getting another opinion, I shared it with her. It was interesting to see the difference in development and understanding. Miss Five has some brightly coloured gumboots too (although not yellow) and has even been to Taihape so we were able to explain the gumboot reference to her - something that had been beyond Miss Two. She loved the story, but she too had difficulty singing along to the CD. The chorus worked well but the verses were harder to manage. The song was quite long so that did not help. But overall the story was much better suited to the older child - she understood it, and because she is learning to read, she was able to sound out some of the words on her own.
The one part that everyone liked - Miss Two, Miss Five, and all the assorted adults - was the very last line: Po Marie, kamuputu (Good night, gumboots!) The grown-ups thought it was funny, but the girls found it entirely logical. As do I!
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