• NZ Booklovers

The Great Kiwi Bedtime Book by Donovan Bixley


All over Aotearoa the sun is setting off to sleep. It's time for kisses, cuddles and whānau snuggles.


Put on your PJs and get comfy as author and illustrator Donovan Bixley takes readers on a trip around Aotearoa as the animals snuggle down for sleep.


When he started out writing the book, one that he's been wanting to make since his children were little, he imagined taking a drone over New Zealand.


"The book is like a single shot movie, where I take readers across Aotearoa and up over the mountains and then dive down into the oceans, saying goodnight to all the creatures as they go," Bixley said.


The result is a uniquely New Zealand book, crammed full of the flora, fauna and settings we know and love. It is also available in te reo Māori, translated by Darryn Joseph and released under the title Ki Te Moe Aotearoa.


As we've come to expect from Bixley's previous titles, there's plenty to spot nestled within his richly-detailed illustrations - from kōwhai flower lamps, to snuggling seahorse, snuggling sparrows and characters from his previous books including rugby-loving lambs.


The end-papers are delightful and instantly captured my two young readers. Bixley gives each creature a bed, with the opening end paper showing the beds empty. While the back papers reveal who belongs where, we had great fun trying to work out the clues and guess who might sleep where.


Bixley also does a great job with the story itself, slipping in onomatopoeia and some wonderful adjectives and verbs and making it a sweet bedtime story to share.


Bixley's trade-mark illustrations will have children and parents alike poring over the pages well past lights-out time.


Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell

Upstart Press, RRP $19.99