Pipi and Pou are cousins who can transform into superheroes. Together with their Nana, they team up to solve environmental problems. Pipi can shapeshift into a pouākai - giant eagle - while Pou can turn into a taniwha.
Tentacles of the Deep and 100 Legs of Terror are books three and four in the series, and they are just as delightful as the first two.
Tentacles of the Deep sees the cousins fight a strange creature hiding in the surf, while in 100 Legs of Terror the pair venture into a forest where people have been disappearing.
Author Tim Tipene (Ngāti Kuri, Ngāti Whātua) creates an engaging and interesting story. Te reo Māori is seamlessly sprinkled throughout the text, aiding language learning context. A glossary is included at the back of the books for those not quite so confident with their te reo Māori skills.
Illustrator Isobel Te Aho-White (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu) artwork connects readers to the story. Her drawings brim with emotion and action.
Pipi and Pou are relatable characters, with flaws and cheek, and Nana is delightful. While the books are a series, don't worry about reading them in order. Tipene offers background and introduces readers to the characters succinctly in each. Each chapter is brimming with action and the books make a lovely read aloud. The clear, uncluttered design makes it visually appealing, and the books are great for those early independent readers.
The underlying theme that runs through the series, protecting the environment, is delivered with humour and without being too preachy. I love that matauranga Māori is included within the story, making these books an important addition to any bookshelf.
The series show tamariki the importance of connecting with our environment, or being a kaitiaki and encourage them to stand proud in their identity. I can't wait to see what adventure the trio tackle next.
Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell