Ko wai kei te papa tākaro ? Who is at the playground? is the second charming bilingual board book for preschoolers written by Te Ataakura Pewhairangi, Ngāti Porou. She chose a playground for the setting because these are places where tamariki love to go to with their whānau. Her local playground is a favourite with her own five and seven year old tamariki.
On each page there is a question about who is playing on a piece of playground equipment followed by the answer, in Te Reo first and in English underneath e.g.
Ko wai kei runga i te retireti?
Who is on the slide?
Ko te kōtiro kei runga i te retireti.
The girl is on the slide.
The full page photographs alongside were taken by well-known New Zealand photographer Jane Ussher. The triumphant grin on the little boy’s face as he balances on a large ball, his look of concentration when halfway up a climbing frame, and the sheer pleasure on the face of the little girl on a see-saw perfectly capture the fun they are having.
The question and answer format is a great way to encourage tamariki to join in and to practice asking and answering questions out loud. And introducing the new word for a different piece of equipment on each page will help to build their vocabulary. When they have learnt these they will undoubtedly want to use them each time they visit a playground.
At the end of the book there is a useful Te Rāranga Kupu / Word list of the new words introduced in this litttle book as well as a Reo Āwhina / Language tip about using Ko wai when you ask the question Who? And using Ko to answer Who did it?
My review copy of this beautiful little board book for preschoolers arrived in my mail box on the eve Matariki. It made me reflect on how special it is that we are all celebrating the Māori New Year together as a nation for the first time. And how learning te reo along with our preschoolers as we read Picture Books like this together brings us closer,one small step at a time, to becoming bilingual in a very enjoyable way.
Reviewer: Lyn Potter
Massey University Press