A book in two parts, the first story, ‘Isaia Says’ is a play on the game Simon Says but uses Samoan language within English sentences. The bright and fun pictures clearly illustrate the action being described in Samoan and to back this up there is a vocabulary list and pronunciation guide at the end of the story. They are everyday instructions such as ‘Faitau your book’.
To read the second story you must flip the book upside down and start with the other front cover. ‘Analia Asks’ again and again for different items. Her family happily oblige and are rewarded with a picnic that she has put together in the garden. Her beautiful manners teach us the key words, ‘fa’afetai lava’ (thank you) and fa’amolemole (please). This story also comes with its own vocabulary list and pronunciation guide.
The pictures are simple but at the same time the artist has included beautiful details such as the varied Samoan patterns on clothes and decor, the clear food labels for a little extra reading, the name of the newspaper being the ‘Samoan Times’ and even the fridge magnets spelling out Samoa. There are more hidden gems in the school setting of ‘Isaia Says’ with a poster of Siva up on the wall and even the children reading other titles by Dahlia Malaeulu.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning from this book. It is engaging and informative, so I say, ‘Fa’amolemole, faitau this book’.
Title: Isaia Says and Analia Asks
Author: Dahlia Malaeulu
Illustrator: Darcy Solia
Publisher: Little Island Press
Publication: May 2021
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? none
Reviewer: Kirsten Puddick, Librarian, Holy Cross School, Wellington
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening sentence: Isaia says, “Pati your hands.”
You can buy this book here