Home > Categories > Books > Kids - Preschool > Ihaka and the Unexpected Visitor review
This is an original, new story about Tawhirimatea, the Maori god of wind and storms. On answering a knock at the door, young Ihaka is surprised to see Tawhirimatea swirl in. The wind god is looking for a little raincloud that has gone missing. It is needed for an imminent rainstorm.
So off the two go to check in with the gods Tangaroa, Tane and Ruaumoko. But none of them have seen the little cloud. Dejected, the pair return to Ihaka's house only to find that Ihaka's mum has a pretty good idea of where to look.
Also available in Te Reo Maori
Having already reviewed the Maori version of this book, I was delighted to get a second written in English as Mr Four and Miss Five, although continually learning plenty of new words in Te Reo, are not quite as fluent as our other children. This book is perfect as, although it is English language, there are plenty of words in Maori as well. To their delight, the children already knew most of them, but did encounter a couple of unfamiliar words to add to their vocabulary.
Mr Four was really excited when he started looking at the pictures. He took the book to bed with him, and kept holding it up to show us what was happening in the story. Because he was already familiar with the story of Tawhirimatea, he invariably mentions him whenever there is a strong wind or stormy weather. Having a book where Tawhirimatea is a main character was so incredible that he insists on having it read to him every night; he is now at the stage where he (as well as his parents) pretty well knows it by heart.
His sister, Miss Five, was just as excited as he was. Both children enjoyed repeating "Kao, e hoa!" with each character that was unable to help. This repetition is useful to help them remember words and phrases and will be of great benefit as they get older and study more Maori as part of their school lessons. They both adored the illustrations, particularly the one of the sad cloud when he was finally located. They were very happy for Tawhirimatea as he was finally able to use him for his rainstorm. Their mother liked the way colour was used in the illustrations, watercolours for the gods and more solid colours for the humans. This suggested that the story was magic, coming from Ihaka's own imagination.
It rained one night and Mr Four could not wait to tell everyone that the little cloud was still safe in the sky with Tawhirimatea. So important to recognise that all was well with the world. His mother was quietly laughing because it was Ihaka's mum who came to the rescue when the god could not find his own lost cloud. Mum power in action!
I love sharing books like this with small children. Their pleasure puts a new perspective on storytelling, and prepares them to be active readers in the future. Already Miss Five was able to sound out some of the words in the book; and it was clear that she was enjoying the experience just as much as her brother was. We all hope there will be more Ihaka stories to come.
Ihaka and the Unexpected Visitor is a fabulous book about Tawhirimatea, the guardian of winds and storms, who comes to visit Ihaka, asking for his help to find a missing raincloud. This book is a winner of the Storylines Joy Cowley Award and I can see why. Zapk Waipara's illustrations are amazing. The use of watercolours on the pictures provides a contrast of both soft and bold colors which add an edgy tone to the text.
Ihaka is a modern boy that most New Zealand kids could relate to. He's got a scooter, cool clothes, and a pendant around his neck. He lives with his mum who loves gardening and has a greenstone tiki around her neck. When Tawhirimatea turns up, Ihaka is quick to offer his help looking for the missing raincloud. The book introduces guardians, such as Tawhirimatea, Tane, Tangaroa, and Ruaumoko in a way that younger readers will be able to remember. When they fail to find the raincloud, they return home, and with the help of mum, manage to find it.
I loved the use of Te Reo in this book as it helped me and my kids (and students) practice our pronunciation. It's also a great introduction for younger readers. There is also some subtle humour in the story... Tawhirimatea sighs and nearly blows Ihaka away, and his loud laugh scares the cat. I really enjoyed reading this and my students have too. A great New Zealand book that can be read over and over again.
Random listing from 'Books'...
World-renowned swimmer and bestselling author Lynne Cox and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Brian Floca team up to bring us this inspiring story of an elephant seal who knew exactly where she belonged.
Here is the incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides to stretch out across a two-lane road, the citizens worry she ... 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.
"Making duplicate copies and computer printouts of things no one wanted even one of in the first place is giving America a new sense of purpose."
Andy Rooney (1919 - )