As one of New Zealand’s most prolific children’s authors, it is fitting that Joy Cowley’s latest book is Hush: A Kiwi Lullaby, a Kiwi version of the classic “Daddy’s going to buy you a mocking bird” traditional lullaby. But Cowley’s lyrics are a twist on the classic, and the book contains the words both in English and Te Reo Maori.
The CD, beautifully sung by June Pitman-Hayles, is the same – first the song is in English, then Te Reo( Te Reo lyrics by Ngaere Roberts), then an instrumental track. Having the Te Reo sung helps parents to be confident with pronunciation.
There is also a glossary of Maori words used at the back. This is a very accessible example of a bilingual picture book for children.
Stunningly illustrated by Andrew Burdan, the pictures of mother and child, shimmery fish, paua shells and silver ferns to name but a few are beautiful, richly detailed and soothing.
The age range suggested for this book is 2-4, but because this book is rich in detail, it’s also simple, and I’d say both babies and toddlers can enjoy it. The CD certainly would appeal to younger children as well.
Hush: A Kiwi Lullaby is a wonderful take on an old classic, and the CD is a great addition to the lullaby-before-bed/staying-calm-in-the-car collection. Sure to become a firm favourite.