Staying in a tree house with a parrot called Carrot, Awatea cooks his bush kai and kai moana on an open fire, dodges dangerous encounters with leopard seals and rescues stranded seahorses. Having already fought a war with a gang of magpies, Awa is determined to find out who the mysterious tyre tracks belong to and why they keep appearing.
The freedom to roam is a big part of this story’s appeal. Awa has the odd visit from the local sheep farmer (on horseback) and the family friend who owns the treehouse. He occasionally has to check in with the family friends he is officially staying with but other than that, he is the master of his days.
For fans of bushcraft, this is a great read. Māori names are used throughout. This is a great story to inspire children’s love of Aotearoa and the unique flora, fauna and freedom it provides.
Title: Awatea and the Kawa Gang
Author: Fraser Smith (Fraser is a principal in Northland)
Illustrator: Patrick White
Date of Publication: 2019
Reviewer: Kirsten Puddick, Librarian, Holy Cross School, Miramar, Wellington
How highly are you recommending this book? Recommended
What’s the book’s opening sentence? Carrot squinted out the window then swiveled his head, looking for an audience.