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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The Cats of Pāia Street by Amiria Stirling

This story takes a sneak peek at the hidden lives and adventures of cats Brucie, and Naki, and little dog Wuruhi. Brucie is glamorous, sassy and a martial arts expert. Wuruhi is crazy about cats; he’s super friendly, a bit of a trickster and Brucie’s bestie. And Naki, from the big city, is savvy, proud and a total love bug. Along with Morihana, Tiwha and Patariki, they are the cats of Pāia Street, who get up to mischief when their owners aren’t looking.

The Cats of Pāia Street is set out a bit different to your usual picture book and it took my younger readers a few reads to really understand the format.

It's a bit of a character study, intertwined with an overarching story that runs through the entire book. While it may be a little odd at first, it's great for young readers to be exposed to all sorts of formats and structures. It sparked some interesting conversations and even a few homemade homages about our own pets, so don't be put off.

Stirling (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Kāi Tahu) is a qualified teacher. It's clear she loves language because the book is packed full of wonderful words that make it super fun to read aloud.

Stirling is also known for her writing in te reo Māori; who won 'Best Māori Story, first-time author,' at the Pikihuia Awards in 2019. Her picture book is also available in a te reo Māori edition (and interestingly it has a different cover than the English edition).

Illustrator Sarah Illingworth adds to the fun, with bright and bold artwork that perfectly show off each animal's personality. There's lots of fun things hidden within the pages to spot too.

The Cats of Pāia Street is a fun, unique read with a mischievous cast of cats that will delight any animal lover.

Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell

Huia, RRP $20


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