Tag Archives: oneTree House

Poetry Box review: ‘Rush! Rush!’ by Elena de Roo, illustrated by Jenny Cooper

Rush! Rush! by Elena de Roo, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, One Tree House, 2021

Over the fence,

and down with a whoosh!

Onto the track!

Into the bush.

Elena de Roo is my favourite New Zealand poet for children and I have long hoped for a collection from her. Her new book Rush! Rush! is definitely a start. The book-length poem is an absolute JOY to read. A young girl is racing to get from home to the beach. Maestro illustrator Jenny Cooper has painted the girl in her pyjamas and dressing gown, because she has pulled the curtains back, peeked at the beautiful day, and then whizzed through the door. Rush! Rush! Rush! The illustrations are sublime. So full of exuberant life. Read the book and savour the images as you race along with the poem and the girl. You will get breathless too!

Every word is pitch perfect. One of the reasons (and there are many) I admire Elena as a poet is because she has a deft musical ear. She listens to how the line sounds. She avoids the clunky predictable rhythms and rhymes of so many picture books. She catches the rhythm of a child rushing, breathing in sights and sounds, and who is too excited to stop. The rhymes are a treat, especially the near rhymes that add knottiness to the musical flow (blind / time; sheep / bleat). She dances between soft and sharp sounds. Ah! she is a poet musician extraordinaire!

It felt like I read the story poem in one delicious breath – and I really liked the ending. A perfect ending (a single word!) to open the story wide like the girl’s arms stretched wide on the cover.

This book is a JOYFUL INVIGORATING POETRY treat and would be the very best book to read aloud to a class or your children. I was reminded of Margaret Mahy’s fabulous A Summery Saturday Morning. I love Rush! Rush! And it has given me an idea for my April Poetry Challenge.

Swoop round the shed,

In a ground-hugging loop.

What’s all the fuss about?

Rattles the roof.

Elena de Roo completed this book when she was the 2020 University of Otago College of Education / Creative NZ Children’s Writer in Residence. She has written a number of award-winning books and lives in Auckland.

Jenny Cooper is an award-winning illustrator and has illustrated more than 70 books. She lives in Amberley, Christchurch.

One Tree House page

Elena de Roo website

Poetry Box summer reading: Stacey Morrison’s My First Words in Māori and Christine Dale and Ngaere Roberts’s Raumati: My summer words / Ngā Kupu Māori mō te Raumati

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My First Words in Māori, Stacey Morrison, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly

Puffin, 2019, Puffin page

 

Stacey Morrison is a broadcaster and Māori language champion extraordinaire. With illustrations by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly, Stacey has gathered words and ideas children first use when they begin to talk. The illustrations are gorgeous.

I love this book. Ka nui taku harikoa!

The pages feature: kanohi / face – tinana / the body – kākahu / clothes – whānau / family – kare ā-roto / emotions – mōkai  / pets – kai, inu  / food, drink –  whare / house – rūma moe / bedroom – kei waho i te whare / outside the house – wāhi tākaro / places to play  – tātahi / the beach – marae

 

This is what the illustrators say:

Kia ora all New Zealanders, we dedicate our mahi on this book to you – no matter how young or hold you are, no matter where you were born, if you are a New Zealander, te reo Māori is your language too!

 

Every time I hear te reo Māori spoken on the radio, on television, in the streets, in shops, in schools, I am happy. Every time I hear people pronouncing Māori words correctly I am happy (we might not always get it right but we can try). Every time I see an Aotearoa children’s book translated in Māori or first published in Māori I am happy.

Some people say we are what we eat but I also say we are what we speak.

Stacey’s book is the perfect book to snuggle into this summer with whānau; to read and let te reo Māori grow inside you. The more we speak and listen to our first language, the more this treasure will grow and glow.

 

 

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Raumati: My summer words / Ngā Kupu Māori mō te Raumati,

Catherine Dale and Ngaere Roberts, OneTree House, 2019

OneTree House page

 

Christine Dale and Ngaere Roberts have translated the experience of summer into a visual and word feast. The book matches stunning photographs with texts in both English and te reo Māori. Each language sings in its own right.

 

See the sky,

wide and windy.

Titiro ki te rangi whānui,

rangi hauhau.

 

I love this book.

All our senses are activated. We will hear the surf whakarongo ki te auheke ngunguru, eat crisp watermelon rongo i te reka o te merengi mātao, feel the sand whāwhā i te kirikiri māngūngungu, smell the cut grass rongo i te kakara o te pātītī mata.

This is another book to snuggle into with your whānau this summer  / matiti.

Say the words out loud. Listen to how delicious they sound. The writers have used their ears like poets do because every page is music. Both languages!

And summer sparkles and glitters and tumbles and squeals on the page as you read.

Wonderful!

 

I highly recommend both these books for your summer picnic kete or your trip to the tātahi or for reading under the pōhutukawa in the shade. These books were made with aroha. Ka pai!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box summer reading: Catherine Chidgey’s Jiffy, Cat Detective

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Jiffy, Cat Detective, Catherine Chidgey, illustrations by Astrid Matijasevich

OneTree House, 2019

 

 

He lay down in a patch of sun –

he’d help them find the truth.

Not one of them suspected

he was Jiff the Purring Sleuth!

 

 

Catherine is a much loved New Zealand novelist who teaches Creative Writing at Waikato University  – this is her first book for children and it is a little beauty. It is based on her own cat (she has lots of white cats) and is dedicated to her daughter Alice. For ages 3 to 7.

Mr Bee has only one shoe on his foot because the right shoe is MISSING!

Wise Mrs Bee gets him to picture where he last saw it (I always ask someone else to look and that usually does the trick). Except the last place he saw it was on his right foot!

Time to ask Alice. Alice looks but NO LUCK!

Ah one snoozing smart cat to the rescue. He’s JIFF the PURRING Sleuth!

Oh and Jiffy has one gold and one blue eye. He thinks he’s rather cool and rather clever. Pretty special cat I reckon, itching for more cat adventures.

WHERE WOULD YOU HUNT FOR A MISSING SHOE?????? Every time I ask questions like this I feel like writing a poem! I couldn’t help myself:

 

in a basket

under the mat

in a bath (filled with lemon bubbles)

in my rail-trail cap

 

But no – The shoe is in none of these places I’d thought of!

Catherine has written the story like a poet with dazzling rhyme and rhythm carrying us along to the end. I did not expect the ending which SURPRISED me! I do like a story with a FLICK in its tail!

Astrid’s illustrations are bright on the page and it’s a hard-cover book which is an added bonus.

I gobbled up this book in a flash and have my fingers crossed I will get to read more Jiffy stories. My favourite thing about this book? Jiffy!

 

OneTree House author page