The Great Kiwi 1 2 3 Book by Donovan Bixley
This is a counting book using numerals as well as English and te reo Maori numbers with the first page posing the challenge of counting the number of the animals and objects pictured and of finding the snail which will be hiding on each page.
The text is minimal, though rhythmical and musical, and has wonderfully engaging illustrations. The pages are filled with humour, action and novel and unexpected features such as ‘three triceratops on tricycles’ and the bungee-jumping sheep, all with expressions of shock and surprise. There are pages to pause over and look at closely because of the colours and the intricacy of shapes, such as the seashells and the beautifully depicted owls. The football-playing lambs are a delight in their actions and facial expressions. The book ends with twenty- rua tekau- Kiwi kids lined up as if for a school photograph with all the diversity of cultures that are common in a classroom some carrying articles that suggest a similar diversity of interests- a violin, knitting, a book.
This is a wonderful picture book with such a variety of subjects and pictures that a child-and parent-could sit for some time looking at and talking about the pictures. It’s a gem and- I think- a must for little-and big- Kiwis.
Reviewer: Paddy Richardson
Upstart Press, RRP $19.99