This book is a wonderful challenging puzzle and yet at the same time a sweet story. Part of every page is written in te reo and while I could recognise the odd word or phrase, I could not translate it myself. Firstly, I searched for a glossary - none. Then, I used the online dictionary to look up individual words and got a very rough idea of what I was reading. Finally, I realised that there were clues on every page in the illustrations - either the drawings themselves or English words scattered through that helped with the deciphering. Children would have seen it instantly.
The illustrations and the text are therefore intrinsically entwined and work brilliantly together. The story allegorises the power of language in use, showing how it creates a circle of connection between people and between people and nature. I think this book will enchant children and adults and will provide content for stimulating discussion in the classroom and at home.
Title: the small girl who lives next door; te kōtiro nohinohi e noho pātata ana
Illustrator: Rautini O’Brien
Publisher: OldKing Press
Format: hardback picturebook
Publication: June 2021
Age Range: From preschool upwards
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? No
Reviewer: Carola Crawford, English teacher, Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College, Kaiapoi
How are you recommending this book: Highly Recommended
Opening sentence: Once upon a time there was a boy called Jack.
You can buy this book here