• NZ Booklovers

We’ve Got A Boat by Jay Laga’aia

In 2017, the New Zealand challenger sailed to victory in the 35th America’s Cup yacht race, a win that saw the return of the cup to New Zealand after a long hiatus. Written and performed by singer-actor extraordinaire Jay Laga’aia, who brings his wind-force energy to his performance on the accompanying song CD of this hardback book. We’ve Got A Boat is Laga’aia’s first self-authored title with Scholastic, having previously sung for two of its titles.

This book celebrates our Kiwi sailing heritage and our nation’s victory of the Auld Mug in an accessible way for younger readers.

The song is catchy and simple to learn, with even the youngest reader picking up the tune quickly. However, the book can stand alone, making it a great read without the music too.

Littered with references to Aotearoa and our unique culture, with references to taniwha, the ‘great fleet’ of seven waka, harakeke, and of course good ol’ Kiwi ingenuity and number 8 wire mentality.

Talented illustrator Donovan Bixley creates an hilarious cast of animal sailors set against a lively seascape with hidden extras to spot amongst the pages. His illustrations demand you to re-read the book over and over again, each time spotting something new and quirky within his artwork. Bixley’s love of sailing is evident – in his youth he was a competitive sailor – with wonderful representations of the water and boats. His cartoon Jimmy Spithill is particularly brilliant, as is Peter Burling reimagined as a cool and collected kiwi, and will bring a smile to those who follow the sport.

Included at the end of the book are photographs and information on the first Team New Zealand Cup victory, led by Sir Peter Blake and Russell Coutts, in 1995. The 2017 triumph, featuring Peter Burling, Grant Dalton and Team Emirates New Zealand, is also included within the factual pages.

A great book for Kiwi families, boaties, those that appreciate Kiwi ingenuity, and anyone who loves the thrill of a good race. Laga’aia’s song could very easily become an unofficial ‘anthem’ as New Zealand seeks to defend the Mug on the Waitematā Harbour in 2021.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Scholastic, RRP $21.99