Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review :: Donovan Bixley classics in te reo Māori

I'm late to the Donovan Bixley party (but I've admired from afar), these are the first Bixley books we've put our hands on.  Well, it was worth the wait because they're crackers!

Ngā Wīra o te Pahi - The Wheels on the Bus

Translated into Māori from The Wheels on the Bus, Ngā Wīra o te Pahi features a gorgeous tour of the country in a colourful, musical bus (I love the nod to Blerta, an all but forgotten piece of kiwi history).  We didn't know every landmark, but it was fun spotting the ones that were familiar.  The kids also loved spotting the shy little Pīwakawaka on every page.  Bixley cleverly creates a familiar, kiwi feeling atmosphere with each illustration; from the sunny, beachy ice-cream day, to the (All)black sheep playing rugby under the stars.  Super adorable!

Te Pāmu O Koro Meketānara - Old MacDonald's Farm

My favourite of the two titles, the illustrations in this one are filled with gorgeous details.  There's such movement in drawings, especially so in the sweeping landscapes.  I think Bixley has successfully included every kiwi icon, though I'll have to have a hunt to see if there are any pineapple lumps.  The level of detail is exquisite, and makes for books that cannot be hurried through.  We read/sang them through, and then went back again to study each and every illustration.  We also found that the song has the most comfortable rhythm in this, of the two.

This is such a fun style of illustration and my kids will pore over these books.  They are especially fun for Garland's age-group, he thinks the animal antics are hilaire!  It's so nice to add some truly kiwi books in our collection, and in te reo at that. Big win!

Both books are available now, and so worth adding to your collection even if you have the English version.

Review copies kindly provided by Hachette NZ

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