Kuwi’s Rowdy Crowd is a delightful story about a frazzled kiwi Mum, the latest in Kat Merewether’s popular Kuwi the Kiwi Picture Book series.
All Kuwi the kiwi wanted was a few minutes to enjoy her freshly brewed cup of kawakawa tea in her burrow. But no sooner had she taken the first sip when her chick Huwi, who had been playing quietly with his blocks, started hollering and thumping around.
Kuwi sighed and, carrying her cup of tea with her, headed upstairs for a bubble bath. But Huwi soon followed accompanied by a flock of farting whio who frolicked in the froth.
When Kuwi escaped to the kitchen with her now warm cup of tea Huwi turned up again with a couple of karate-kicking kokako.
Everywhere Kuwi tried to find a bit of peace, whether it was in the spare room, on the terrace, by the swamp or the pond, her hyperactive chick interrupted her with more of his noisy friends, a troupe of tap-dancing tomtits, a singing swarm of cicadas, a pair of poo-pitching pekapeka and a brass band of buzzing beetles.
As a last resort she went back into to her burrow but Huwi and his noisy friends shattered her peace yet again. An exasperated Kuwi had had more than enough. She roared angrily at the noisy crowd. They slunk away.
Surely now she would be able to finish her by now cold cuppa. But the irrepressible Huwi had other ideas.
This humorous story, with its lively colourful illustrations, lots of alliteration and the funny noises the creatures make is sure to appeal to pre-schoolers.
Adults will enjoy the clever touches like the portrait of Mona Lisa with a long kiwi beak, the Huwi Potter undies and the can of Eggmond’s baking powder.
Last weekend, as part of a group of volunteer guides, we overnighted in the bunkhouse at Tiritiri Matangi (an open scientific sanctuary in the Hauraki Gulf). In the evening when darkness had fallen we put on our headlights, covered in red cellophane to dim their brightness, and went kiwi spotting. We were lucky as we hadn’t gone very far at all when there was a rustling in the bush and a kiwi ran out swiftly across our path seemingly oblivious to our presence. Minutes later we spotted another kiwi foraging around deeper in the bush. These were magical moments I’ll never forget.
On this predator-free island, the little nocturnal and flightless spotted kiwi can safely breed without fear of mammalian predators. They are the lucky ones.
Two hundred years ago millions of kiwi lived in forests throughout New Zealand. But over the years their numbers have hugely decreased to about 70,000 and are still declining by 2 % each year.
It is only in the very few predator-free zones that kiwi are safe. Elsewhere possums, stoats, rats and dogs and cats attack them and eat them. Kiwi chicks are hugely vulnerable. Fewer than 5% of them reach adulthood.
Kate Meriwether is passionate about kiwi conservation and is an ambassador for Kiwis for kiwi which supports native kiwi conservation projects throughout New Zealand
As part of her role she travels around meeting kiwi kids, gives talks about how to write and illustrate books and helps to educate them about kiwi conservation. For each of her books sold 20 cents goes to Kiwis for kiwi. To date, she has been able to donate $30,000 dollars from the sales of her books.
Kuwi’s Rowdy Crowd written and illustrated by Kat Merewether is published by llustrated Publishing. RRP $19.99
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Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook