Kua ngaro a Flit te Tirairaka me Keri te Kiwi i te pouriuri o te Wao o Tane. Ka maumahara a Flit ki te kahui whetu i kitea ra e ia i runga ake o tana kohanga, ka whakarite mahere ai e hoki pai ai raua ki te kohanga.
A heart-warming story about problem-solving with a Matariki theme.
Na Kat Quin i tuhi
Na Pania Papa i whakamaori
Since the twins are now at a kura kaupapa, where the main teaching medium is Te Reo, they are well on the path to becoming fully bilingual. Their younger brother and sister attend the attached kohanga reo, so they too are fast catching up. Children are so lucky these days to have access to quality publications in Te Reo which have kid appeal and are just the right length. Caregivers score too because children these days often have more language skills than the older generation, and it is important that the older family members are catered for. That is the advantage that many books, including this one, offer: a comprehensive word list at the end so that an elusive word can be checked before the reading starts.
With Matariki being topical right now, the children were happy to see that the latest in the Ko Flit te Tirairaka series offers a story on this theme. They loved the picture of Ruru Matau on the front cover; Mr Two asked if he could cuddle Ruru, but his sisters assured him that, although Ruru was old and wise, he was not necessarily cuddly. Mr Two put his fingers on the fluffy area on Ruru's tummy to see if he could stroke it but that did not work!
Because the children live in the country, they have lots of clear, starry nights. It is always dark at this time of year long before their bedtime so they are able to go outside and do some star spotting. After reading the book for the first time, they were keen to go into the yard and see if they could identify the kahui o Matariki themselves. They were also hoping to hear a ruru calling to them, but that is unpredictable! There are plenty of birds where they live, and a number of trees where they can roost; there are also many pukeko and other native birds including, of course, tirairaka. But many of these birds are diurnal so will not be around when the stars are out.
The children were delighted by the illustrations; they are already familiar with the other books in the series, and this one reaches the same high standards of artwork. They counted along with Flit and admired his initiative in making a map out of a leaf - something they plan to try too even though, as Miss Four said, they would have to make the holes without using beaks! Their favourite page was at the end of the book when Flit was planning his next adventure: they all joined in with a resounding "Ai-aue!". There followed a discussion, led by the twins, as to whether Flit could hope to succeed. They decided he would not.
Pania Papa's translation is written in simple Maori, making it just as accessible to little ones as Kat Quin's original English version. The girls were easily able to follow the story; Mr Two was not sure in places but with the help of the pictures he was able to follow it. He still does not quite grasp what Matariki means, but he understood that the birds were lost and their leaf helped them to get home with the assistance of the stars. He also knows about getting lost as his home is on a big section in the country and he has disappeared a couple of times behind a bush or under a tree. He was most relieved when Flit and Keri were safely back home.
Altogether, this is a lovely book for preschoolers and a bonus for those who are in a total immersion environment. There are many suitable books written in English, but it is rewarding to find a book of this calibre in Te Reo. We all look forward to reading Flit's next adventure.
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