This board book displays a familiar New Zealand landscape showing the process in building a road from untouched fields to the opening of a motor way. The text is written entirely in Te Reo Māori. It makes use of print features with lively font and repeated words on each page that get bigger and bolder with each word “Peita –ti! PEITA-TE! PEITA-TA!” (Paint, paint, paint). The increasing size of the text helps to emphasise so to encourage the reader to dramatise (through their voice) the action taking place on the page. The reiteration of the words also serves to promote the idea that building a road is arduous and repetitious work.
Positive values are portrayed through the illustrations from sustainability, gender equity to healthy eating. One of the final pages shows people re-planting New Zealand natives back in the ground along the newly built motorway. Both male and female road workers are represented as the norm. The workers are shown eating healthy kai on their lunch break.
The illustrations are kept simple but with just the right amount of detail for children to notice and point out features of interest, thus inviting discussion. The illustrations communicate the story so meaning can still be conveyed through the pictures for readers who are not proficient in Te Reo Maori. Pages show a mixture of different points of view, from eye-level to a bird’s eye view of the action, highlighting the changing landscape through various views.
Some interpretation of Te Reo Māori at the back of the book would be helpful but not entirely necessary as there is also an English version.
Publisher: Walker Books
Date of Publication: August 2019
Age Range: 3 plus
Reviewer: Cydnee Reed, Early Childhood teacher, Karanga Mai Early Learning Centre
How highly are you recommending this book: Highly Recommended
Opening sentence: Maheretia! Maheretia te aramatua.
You can buy this book here
Sally Sutton is available to visit schools through the Writers in Schools programme