E Hoa is a simple board book from indomitable Gavin Bishop (Ngāti Pukeko, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Mahuta, Tainui) that shares how to talk about feelings through a friendship between a child and their dog.
The simple board book is a great starting point to talk about feelings and friendship. Key words describe the many emotions man's best friend can go through in a short time. Meanwhile, the expressions on the faces of the people nearby convey a whole new raft of feelings while they respond and react.
This multi-layered delight joins Bishop's Mihi and Koro as the latest in his powerful series to share with our youngest readers.
E Hoa uses simple te reo Māori sentences to support learners, repeating the structure to really cement knowledge.
Bishop's illustrations match the simplicity of the text - bold and bright, full of emotion and yet so simple, they are designed to capture the attention of young readers. The board book is also perfect for little hands, with rounded corners and thick, sturdy pages ensuring it's up to the task of multiple readings by those still learning about book etiquette.
At the recent 2022 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, Bishop took out three of the big six categories. This year was the fifth time he's won book of the year, the third time taking home the non-fiction category and the fifth time he's nabbed the award for illustration.
E Hoa is yet another excellent addition to Bishop's contribution to strengthening Māori art and culture through children's books.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell