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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Hatch and Match by Ruth Paul



If you’re putting together an Easter basket for a young child dear to your heart, Hatch and Match deserves pride of place. With its tumbling cheeky chicks and hens – and the regal rooster – this colourful hard-cover picture book would also be a great addition to the bookshelf at any time of year.


Mākara-based Ruth Paul is an award-winning author and illustrator. There’s lively action on every page of Hatch and Match, and each time I read it, I spot something new. The story revolves around eight hens who are first searching for their eggs and then for their newly-hatched baby chicks. (Watch out for the greedy rat…) All’s well that ends well – by the end of the book the mothers and their chicks are reunited. “Every hen has found her nest. Now, at last, it’s time to rest.”


There’s more to this book than the story. There are opportunities to match shapes, patterns, and colours, and to practise counting too. Paul encourages us to “Sort the colours, group the types. Count the spots and match the stripes.”


Although birds and many other animals and insects are the stars of the book, plenty of people also feature. They’re a wonderful mix of age groups, shapes and ethnicities, and they’re wearing a wide variety of clothes, footwear, hairstyles and headwear. Look closely and see if you can find the person using a wheelchair, the turban-wearing man, the mother carrying her baby in a sling, the child wearing a hajib, the cyclists and musicians. Paul acknowledges and celebrates this diversity: “Same, but different. Can you see? Just the same as you and me.”


The illustrations are fabulous – particularly the eggs, which remind me of the intricately detailed decorated eggs of the Slavic cultures. Even the endpapers are a delight: Easter eggs at one end of the book and chirpy chicks at the other. Best of all, the story is fun to read aloud. Who doesn’t enjoy a raucous “cluck”, “squawk”, “c-r-a-c-k”, and “cock-a-doodle-doo”?


Reviewer:  Anne Kerslake Hendricks

Walker Books

 

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