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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Gumboot Stomp by Samantha Laugesen

Luke the Pook is back for a foot-stomping celebration of a tried and true Kiwi favourite: the mighty gumboot.

The cheeky pūkeko dreams of owning a pair of gumboots just for himself. So begins his song all about the iconic Red Band gumboot, beloved across New Zealand.

Author Samantha Laugesen continues the easy rhyme seen in the first Luke the Pook book, Stuck in Poo, What to Do? which was inspired by her childhood farm adventures.

Gumboot Stomp makes for a fun read, with lyrical writing and some silliness that is sure to delight little readers. Luke hasn’t forgotten his adventures from his first book, so of course there’s plenty of poo in this follow-up.

The association with the Red Band brand is a bit more present, and therefore obvious, in this book compared to the first. But surprisingly it still didn’t really feel like an advertisement for the iconic gumboot brand. While there is no doubt as to what boot Luke quite literally puts on a pedestal, there’s other gumboots showcased too.

Kat Merewether’s illustrations shine in Gumboot Stomp. An accomplished children’s book author herself (Kuwi the Kiwi series, Kiwicorn) she understands the audience well. Bright, bold characters parade across the pages, while her signature playfulness is also present. The mother pūkeko with a wedding ring on her toe, and a fantail with a peg on her nose, were particular favourites for one of my eagle-eyed pre-schoolers.

I was surprised to see the book didn’t come with a CD or link to a companion song. It felt like a little bit of a missed opportunity. The story demands you to join in and stomp around, and it could have been a nice tie-in.

All in all though, Gumboot Stomp is a nice addition to the Kiwi children’s book collection. I can see it being a big hit with rural children and early childhood centres particularly. However, every child seems to go through a fascination with gumboots, so it’d make a great story to read together before exploring the messy fun that comes with stomping around in your gumboots. Cow poo optional.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Luke the Pook Press, RRP $20


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