BatKiwi by Melinda Szymanik
Kiwi lives in the forest amongst the kākāpō, kunekune, ruru, wētā and kererū. He longs to be fast enough to come to the aid of his friends when they are in need. There is just one problem, while Kiwi is fast and he has sturdy legs, they just can't carry him to the top of the trees.
Introducing a new super hero duo...BatKiwi.
Author Melinda Szymanik's sense of humour shines in this heart-warming story of two unlikely heroes. The story, all about teamwork and embracing each other's strengths and weaknesses, is a reminder that we can achieve more when we work together.
Szymanik packs plenty into BatKiwi - not just in her story of teamwork. There's deeper environmental messages too, including the impact of introduced species on New Zealand's native flora and fauna, the dangers of bush fires, and even how the sun rises from the east.
It's not all serious though, with some great word play and humour - the kunekune that assures Kiwi that "no one wants to be roasted".
The humour within the book is also conveyed in the illustrations. The silhouette of BatKiwi makes a great homage to Batman. Perhaps over the head of most younger readers, but a nice 'easter egg' of sorts for adults.
Illustrator Isobel Joy Te Aho-White showcases the beauty of our native treasures found within Aotearoa's forests. Her illustrations are bold, yet detailed with many of our native trees represented within the pages. To Aho-White also does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life - there is plenty of emotion and expression within the illustrations, aiding younger readers.
The book is also available in te reo Māori, as Ko PekaKiwi.
BatKiwi is a fun story that introduces readers to a uniquely New Zealand superhero duo.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell
Scholastic, RRP $19.99