Friday, June 27, 2014

Hot off the Gecko Press

It feels a lot like Christmas when a parcel arrives from Gecko Books.  Oh my.  These two books have been insta-hits with my two, and we have read them every single night since their arrival.  Like most kids, Eleanor and Garland are mad about animals (I'd even venture to say they like animals a little more than they like humans, just quietly...). For this reason, both of these books had massive appeal straightaway.  Actually if truth be told, these were insta-hits with me, too.

The Cake - Dorothee de Monfreid

"Tiger wants to bake a cake. A chocolate cake. But rabbit has a weakness for carrot cake. Monkey wants a banana cake. Dog is licking his chops thinking about a bone cake. And little Bear really wants a fish cake. Is there a way to satisfy everyone?" - Gecko Press website

I first heard of this book when I read Ange's review, and knew immediately that I would like it.  Quirky illustrations?  Tick.  Sense of humour?  Tick.  I was completely right, I do love the book!  And better yet, my children adore it.  Can these four critters agree on a cake flavour?  Well... You'll find out.

This is a nice short read, and definitely packs a punch. There is a charming naivety to both text and illustrations that I think really resonates with children.  In fact the entire situation is oh so familiar, right down to the double twist at the end, it couldn't be anything but a favourite.  And personally I can't help but smile whenever I read the line, "flour makes me sad."  Haha!  Genius.

Bonus - because this story is told in speech bubbles, in encourages you to dust off your drama skillz.  Bonus bonus - this encourages your kiddos to do the same!  We've had re-enactments of this book on a daily basis, and as this is something I've been a quite intentional about lately (learning texts by heart, reciting them, dramatizing them), I am definitely pleased to add this book to our collection/repertoire.

Ko Wai e Huna Ana? - Satoru Onishi (Te Reo Maori translation by Paora Tibble)

"Who’s hiding? Who’s crying? Who’s backwards? Look carefully! Is it dog, tiger, hippo, zebra, bear, reindeer, kangaroo, lion, rabbit, giraffe, monkey, bull, rhino, pig, sheep, hen, elephant, or cat?" - Gecko Press Website

The initial, instant appeal of this book lay in the 'find the...' game, and I don't know which of my babies was most enthusiastic about finding each animal.  There *may* have been a few scraps about this, to be honest.  But that was only the beginning!  They quickly took to the challenge identifying their favourite animals by new-to-them names, and I'm well-pleased that they are bringing some Te Reo into their everyday vocab.  In fact, it makes me feel pretty ashamed that I haven't taught them much up until now (we're changing this, stat).

During our first reading of "Ko Wai e Huna Ana?" I offered the english translation as well, but dropped this as soon as they had the meaning.  Now we read it in Maori (there isn't too much text, an absolute beginner could handle this with ease), and we have been encouraging them to answer in Te Reo too, with sentences as full as they can manage.  They are totally getting the hang of it, far quicker than I expected, and just in time for Maori Language Week - 21st July, yuss!

I love, love a kid's book that is both entertaining and educational too, but in a gentle, unassuming way.  This book is a big hit in our household, and by the sound of it Ange's too - read her review here.

Boom!  Thank you Gecko Press for providing these review copies for our family :-)  Keep an eye out for their release next month x

1 comment:

  1. Kangaru?! Love the transliteration. You are so lucky to be able to review these books, love the quirkiness of the titles they publish.