Kiwi Books For Kiwi Grandkids

My Grandpa is a dinosaur 2My Grandpa is a Dinosaur

This is a great picture book for all Grandpas and Grandkids who share a wicked sense of humour. The text is very brief and the illustrations are full page so it’s a good one for beginning readers. They will love Wanda’s gigantic green dinosaur Grandpa who pulls lots of different faces.

Wanda knows there is something weird about her family. It is not her older sister, or her bratty younger brother, or her parents, it’s her Grandpa. He is seriously weird! He does the strangest things because he is a dinosaur!

At the Grandparents’ day picnic he is the only one who eats an entire tree. And palaeontologists are always following his footprints.

It is perfectly obvious to Wanda that her Grandpa is a dinosaur but no-one else will believe her when she tries to tell them, not her classmates, or her best friend or even her family.  Her sister thinks Grandpa is probably an alien from outer space. Her Mother tells her not to be silly.

So she finally decides to ask Grandpa himself. “Of course!” he says. He had been wondering why no-one else had noticed.

Off they go together to have lots of fun and that evening when her Grandpa takes her back to his retirement home there is an even bigger surprise!

Title: My Grandpa is a Dinosaur Authors: Richard Fairgray & Terry Jones Imprint:  Picture Puffin RRP $19.95

little kiwiLittle Kiwi, Whose Nest is Best?

This is the fifteenth Little Kiwi book written and illustrated by New Zealand cartoon artist Bob Darroch. The first in the series came out in 2001 and there has been one each year after that. He wrote them to keep his own grandchildren amused and has been rather surprised at their runaway success.

Little Kiwi, Whose Nest is Best is a really good way to introduce small children playfully to a whole bunch of our native birds and the different kinds of nests in which they live.

Little Kiwi can’t sleep. In the family nest his Dad is snoring and his sister keeps kicking him. So off he goes to find a more peaceful place.

He beds down under a fern in a quiet little glen but it makes him feel strange and lonely.  Father Kaka is happy to help out. He takes him to his own nest where lots of little kakas are tumbling, wrestling and rolling around. The party atmosphere is too much for little kiwi so Kaka  puts him on his back and flies high up to  Kea’s nest in the mountains . But up there it is freezing! So Father Kea takes him to Morepork’s nest which is warm enough but so high up in a tree that little Kiwi is scared that he might fall out. Blue Duck’s nest is no good as it is too damp and fantail’s is so tiny that he can’t squeeze into it. Could home be the best place for Little Kiwi after all?

Little Kiwi, Whose Nest is Best Author: Bob Darroch Publisher: Penguin NZ

Imprint: Puffin RRP $18, 99

little-kiwis-matariki-01The Little Kiwi’s Matariki

Matariki has become very popular in New Zealand in recent years. The Little Kiwi’s Matariki is a lovely introduction to this festival for little ones. At the back of the book there is also a more detailed explanation of the meaning of Matariki, how it is celebrated today and a myth about its origins. And the constellation is shown with the Maori name for each star.  

Matariki has become a time for all of us to learn and practice some Maori language and there are plenty of Te Reo words (alongside the English ones) to practise with your little mokopuna.

Most of the story takes place while it is still dark and It must have been a challenge to draw the bush at night time. But Nikki Slade Robinson has made it look like an enchanted place and not at all scary.

A moonbeam wakes little kiwi in her burrow. She has a strong feeling that something big is about to happen. So she rushes through the forest waking up her friends along the way including tui, ruru and katipo and tells them to kia tere (hurry). They all think she is wrong. but they join her anyway and follow her to the beach. There they find that Matariki has indeed started and the stars of Matariki are shining in the sky.

It’s time to start celebrating. All her friends do it in their own way. For Weka it’s time for kai, for Ruru it’s time for whanau, for Tui it’s time for music and dance and Katipo just wants to have fun and flings her webbed kite high to catch the wind.

Title: The Little Kiwi’s Matariki Author: Nikki Slade Robinson Publisher: Duck Creek Press RRP: Paperback $19.99 Hardback$29.99
By Lyn Potter. Read more here.