There’s a Moa in the Moonlight by Dawn McMillan
Bilingual books are brilliant. They are becoming more popular, and rightly so. They provide a lens into the bicultural aspect of Aotearoa New Zealand and really demonstrate the growing demand for te reo as part and parcel of our general understanding of our country, and of each other.
The moa has certainly held a position of immense importance and fascination in the experience of young people.
The idea of these monstrous birds that roamed our country at one stage is quite something, and Dawn McMillan has captured a bit of that magic in her new book, There’s a Moa in the Moonlight: He Moa kei rō Atarau.
There’s a Moa in the Moonlight is the third in a series of bilingual children’s books (with Māori text by Ngaere Roberts) that are beautifully illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson. The story is around a young girl looking out into her garden at night and seeing a number of now extinct animals feasting and enjoying themselves in the garden. It’s quite a magical concept with the huia, Haast eagle and kawekaweau lizard all making an appearance.
As a parent, or teacher, there is much to like about the story from an educational point of view. It allows for conversations around conservation, and of course extinction. But also the learning and development of skill around Māori tikanga and language.
This was an enjoyable read and has been a real opportunity to share some of the treasures of Aotearoa New Zealand in such a visually stunning and interesting way.
Reviewer: Chris Reed