Rasmas (Ko Rāmā), by Elizabeth Pulford

Rasmas, the rascally goat, was a bit on the wild side. Just like Danny, Rasmas didn’t have a mummy. Soon the pair went everywhere together. Then, one day, Danny had to say goodbye.

Available in both English and te reo Māori (titled Ko Rāmā in Māori and translated by Ngaere Roberts), this beautiful story of friendship will both break and warm your heart. Danny and his father move to his grandmother’s farm, where he befriends the rascally goat. Together they have many adventures, but when Danny’s Dad marries Rona the pair move to the city. Will Danny ever see Rasmas again?

The story is heartbreaking, but also heart warming. It deals naturally and sensitively with the issues of loss and parental re-marriage. Despite the deep message, it’s also sweet, easy read on friendship and love.

Pulford has a way with words, keeping it simple for readers while evoking some pretty heavy emotions. “Danny’s heart leaked a little” is a stand-out line, while his father’s “arms full of love” will have even the most stoic parent nodding their head in agreement.

Illustrated by Jenny Cooper, the playful pictures compliment and add to the story. They are both whimsical and sweet, and couldn’t be more perfectly paired with the story.

Also available in te reo Māori, Ko Rāmā is not for those learning the language. It requires some decent knowledge of kupu and sentence structure. However, words that are not in every day usage (for example; dinosaur, wriggled, fence) are included in a handy glossary for those who may struggle a little. It is lovely to see macrons acknowledged and used throughout the story. It is also lovely to see more books being published in both English and te reo Māori. Having both standing side by side on the bookshelf will encourage and promote the future of our unique culture.

Rasmas/Ko Rāmā will make a beautiful addition to every school and home library. It’s deep themes aren’t weighted down by the story, but still pack a punch. The Māori edition is true to the English and is a valuable and welcomed addition to the literary scene. Rasmas/Ko Rāmā will steal your heart.

 

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Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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