Donovan Bixley retells the story of how Maui captured the secret of fire. This is the traditional tale but with Donovan's unique twist. The pictures are bright and bring their own level of humour to the book. Darryn Joseph and Keri Opai ensure that the story is accurate and culturally appropriate.
The language in the speech bubbles is colloquial kiwi and will resonate with younger readers.
Maui is a very well known character from traditional tales of Aotearoa, perhaps most famous for the story of how he tamed the sun and made even more famous by Disney's Moana movie where children learn even more of the incredible things Maui achieved. I just love the way Donovan Bixley retells this traditional Maori tale in a way that is so relatable to young readers, his retelling adds a fresh and modern twist while still retaining the important lessons and keeping it culturally appropriate. I think this is a great addition to the bookshelves of young New Zealanders and one that young children will really enjoy.
As always Donovan's illustrations are just stunning and add an extra layer to the story as you can get lost in the depths of the illustrations taking everything in. The first double-page spread showing the papakainga where Maui grew up drew me in straight away and I got lost in taking in all the stunning details of the village which was quite confusing for my youngest wondering why I wasn't turning to the next page to keep reading the story. Inside the cover, there is a glossary of the Te Reo Maori words which can all be found throughout the book which is really helpful, though the way the author has weaved the words into the story make it easy to know what they mean without having to look it up anyway. I thought this was a very clever way to incorporate Te Reo Maori into the story and for children to learn some basic words.
Like in the other tales of Maui Donovan Bixley has retold, we get a real sense of the mischievous, curious, and cheeky character Maui can be, I think this also helps keep the story relatable to younger readers and they can find humour in the way Maui creates mischief. We see not only Te Reo Maori used in the book but also some common New Zealand slang terms children will also find familiar and relatable like the brothers referring to Maui as an egg and Maui saying "sweet as, later Granny", my children found these particularly funny. It is great to see these traditional stories told in a way that children can thoroughly enjoy and I think this book will go on to be a very treasured book for our family.
While being a great story to read aloud and enjoy with the children I also think it would be a great teaching resource with plenty of conversation starters and educational points covered in the story including how fire can be made with wood and which wood is best for rubbing to make fire. A beautiful retelling of Maui and the secret of fire with amazing potential to bring Te Reo and Tikanga Maori into the homes of all New Zealand children. Ka Pai Donovan, yet again you have nailed this story and created a real treasure of a book for kiwi kids.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Ten funny sheep singing a silly song.
Ten funny sheep singing a silly song.
And if one funny sheep should get the words all wrong,
There'll be nine funny sheep singing a silly song.
Ten funny sheep are having a very funny day ... it's the most fun you can have counting sheep! Follow the funny sheep on all their hilarious adventures throughout the day.
After starting with a silly sing-a-long, the ... more...
All trademarks, images and copyrights on this site are owned by their respective companies.
KIWIreviews is an independent entity, part of the Knock Out News Group. This is a free public forum presenting user opinions on selected products, and as such the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of kiwireviews.nz and are protected under New Zealand law by the "Honest Opinion" clause of the Defamation Act of 1992. KIWIreviews accepts no liability for statements made on this site, on the premise that they have been submitted as the true and honest opinions of the individual posters. In most cases, prices and dates stated are approximate and should be considered as only guidelines.
"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."
Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004)