Te Rãtaka a Tama HûngoingoiKo by Roderick Kei Runga
The Wimpy Kids series of journals of a teen’s daily life expressed through simple stick drawings and handwritten notes are widely known throughout children's readers collections. This te reo Mãori translation is equally hilarious.
The Wimpy Kids series is written by Jeff Kinney and published in the USA gaining many awards as a favourite book. There are fourteen books in the series and this (the second in series) is the first to be cleverly translated by Heni Jacob. She acknowledges a number of assistants but has maintained the presentation in simple format and vocabulary.
The handwritten notes and stick figures illustrate a teen’s daily encounters with peers and teachers, highlighting the constant embarrassment of a teenager desperately trying to be popular, and “cool.”
There seems to be no difficulty moving the images into New Zealand cultural surroundings. It appears that troubling times of the “best years of your life” at school are the same the world over. Social ineptitude and opinions of teens as they mature through misadventure are clearly displayed. There are lessons within the journal items to help children form decision making and to develop independence. The vocabulary is clear and illustrations pertinent.
There needs to be more of this type of material for New Zealand te reo learners to enjoy. It is funny, appealing and translates well. We need this practise to enlarge our vocabulary and to make reading enjoyable for children.
Here’s hoping for further te reo translations of the Wimpy Kid Series.
Reviewer: Sonia Edwards
Penguin Random House, RRP 17.99