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Home > Categories > Books > Kids - Junior > Tales of Aotearoa - 3 - Maui and the Secret of Fire review

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Score: 9.4/10  [3 reviews]
4 out of 5
ProdID: 8716 - Tales of Aotearoa - 3 - Maui and the Secret of Fire
Written by Donovan Bixley

Tales of Aotearoa - 3 - Maui and the Secret of Fire
Sample/s Supplied by:
Click to search for all products supplied by Upstart Press

Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been supplied to KIWIreviews by Upstart Press or their agents for the purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
September 2020

Tales of Aotearoa - 3 - Maui and the Secret of Fire product reviews

Proud to promote NZ productsDonovan 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.

Check out Upstart Press onlineClick here to see all the listings for Upstart Press Visit their website They do not have a Twitter account Check them out on Facebook They do not have a YouTube Channel They do not have a Pinterest board They do not have an Instagram channel They do not have a TikTok channel

darryn joseph   donovan bixley   fire   humour   keri opai   legend   mahuika   maori   maui   nzmade   tales of aotearoa
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Product reviews...

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Click here to read the profile of cath_champ

Review by: cath_champ (Catherine)
Dated: 26th of November, 2020

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This Review: 8.8/10
Age Appropriate:
Score 8 out of 10
Score 8 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 9 out of 10

I am a huge Disney fan with Moana being one of my favourite movies so a story about Maui is right up my alley. I am therefore trying to push this love onto my toddler son and this story book is not only an amusing and well written story but also gives him (and me) a bit of culture of Maori tales and legends.

We have read and own a few Donovan Bixley books and the illustrations are amazing. This book is well written and has some 'colloquial kiwi' language which made me giggle. The story was a little bit on the long side for my one and half year old's attention span but it will definitely become one of our regular reads when he gets a bit older.

I loved reading this aloud and was great that there was both and English and Maori words incorporated within the story. There are also translations of the Maori words at the beginning of the book to refer back to which is great for someone like me who is trying to be more bilingual.

I would definitely recommend this book as it is a fun tale for all the family to enjoy with great pictures to follow along with.

Click here to read the profile of holden05

Review by: holden05 (Tracy)
Dated: 29th of October, 2020

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This Review: 9.5/10
Age Appropriate:
Score 9 out of 10
Score 9 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 10 out of 10

The cover of this book pulled me in to read it, and when I brought it into preschool I was greeted by many children who wanted to read the new pukapuka. Maui looks fun and relatable, and in his hand is a very scared looking flame, the children were able to decode from these images that Maui was 'taking' the fire, and they were keen to listen and see what happened.

The imagery on each page, richly depicts daily life for Maui, and there is a realness to the story, Maui's natural curiosity, and his Mum walking in with the 'groceries' making it all very relatable for the tamariki. Maui uses his manners, when talking to his Kuia, and his Kuia gently reminds him oh how we must never play with fire, and treat it with respect. The realism remerges at this point in time, with Maui depicted as a cheeky child who creates a game around interacting with his Kuia. Until his irresponsible acts raise the ire of his grandmother .

The imagery depicted by the fire, is dark and real, and sends a clear message around the danger of playing with fire. The story itself is tempered with reo and is rich in cultural depiction of te ao Maori. What a fantastic resource, open opening the cover you are greeted with images and the corresponding Maori word and translation. By the end of the story Maui is a hero, sharing his gift of knowledge, and perhaps, remorseful for his wilful acts, that caused devastation and discomfort to his people. The last page of the book depicts an authentic kaurima (rubbing fire stick) and kaunoti (bottom firestick) a clear depiction of how fire was created before we all used matches.

As a teacher I found this book a fantastic resource, and I will be purchasing the other titles, as Donovan Bixley has found a way to put life into these legends and share New Zealands history. These pukapuka are taonga for our tamariki.

Click here to read the profile of samantha203

Review by: samantha203 (Samantha)
Dated: 17th of October, 2020

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This Review: 10/10
Age Appropriate:
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 10 out of 10

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.

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