Out in the Moana by Yvonne Morrison
A retelling on the much-loved traditional story Over the Meadow, this is a new companion title to the popular Down in the Forest.
Out in the Moana features creatures from the seas that surround these islands of New Zealand.
From a moray eel to a Māui dolphin, mako shark to seahorse, each double spread sees parents urge their young to take an action. It is also a counting book, ranging from one sea lion pup to ten young octopus.
It follows the same rhythm and rhyme pattern of Over in the Meadow, with author Yvonne Morrison using alliteration to really enhance the read-aloud experience.
The salty adventure is brought to life by beautiful illustrations of award-winning artist Jenny Cooper. In pencil and watercolour full-colour pictures paint an underwater landscape in beautiful detail. Her animals are delightful, full of expression and character - the seahorse in particular are exquisite and the flounder had us in fits of giggles.
Also beautifully done is the design of the text - with each verb highlighted in bold and several font sizes larger that the rest of the type. This makes the book a wonderful addition for any classroom or pre-school.
The book is also available in te reo Māori: I Waho, i te Moana.
A double-page spread at the back of the book talks about each animal, offering some more information about their parenting styles, the te reo Māori name for each species featured, and a tidbit about their lives. Morrison has woven many elements of non-fiction into this crossover book, ensuring the science is right. Each animal can have the number of offspring and perform the actions she depicts them as having.
Out in the Moana is a lovely book that showcases our ocean-dwelling species in a fun and memorable way.
Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell
Scholastic, RRP $19.99