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Kei te aha ngā kararehe? What are the animals doing?


Kei te aha ngā kararehe? What are the animals doing? is a beautiful sturdy little board book written by Te Ataakura Pewhairangi, a mother, educator and fluent Te Reo speaker.

A bilingual picture book is one of my favourite presents to welcome a new baby into the world or for a toddler’s birthday. And this book about children playing with animals is bound to become a favourite. They will love to see them holding a cute little puppy, cuddling a cat, and feeding the ducks.

Each of the 10 story pages poses a question about what a different animal is doing, and then gives the answer. So, ten animal names and ten actions in English and Te Reo are covered. That is a great way of helping little children to build their vocabulary in easy steps.


Sharing this book with them will also give parents and grandparents a chance to grow in their own knowledge of Te Reo, which so many of my friends are keen to do. In my experience it is easy to feel diffident about speaking Te Reo out loud, but babies and toddlers are a very uncritical audience and will enjoy doing it with you. The question-and-answer format provides lots of possibilities for further conversations too, about the animals, where they live, what they are doing and what the children are doing.

The beautiful full-page photographs of the Glauser family, Mum, two small children and a baby were taken by well-known photographer Jane Ussher. I really like the way she has not asked them to pose for the camera but just allowed them to be themselves, enjoying their visit to Donna Doolittle’s Animal Rescue in Kaitāia and Caro’s Crazy Critters Mobile Farm. The uncluttered green pasture in the background helps to make the children and animals stand out. The baby looks diffident about stroking the small sniffing pig, the little girl concentrates on bottle feeding a goat, and the small boy gently leads a miniature horse along a path.


At the end of the book there is a Rāranga Kupu word list, as well as a Reo Awhina language Tip of how to use the word Te when you are referring to a single individual and Ngā for more than one.


Te Ataakura Pewhairangi is passionate about creating quality Te Reo Maori resources for which there is a gap in the market. I hope we will see more books like this from her soon.


Reviewer: Lyn Potter

Massey University Press