The Elves and the Cloakmaker is the latest title in the Kiwi Corkers series from Scholastic. Written by Chris Gurney and illustrated by John Bennett, I think this is one of the first, if not the first, Christmas book with a Maori theme. Chris and John have taken the idea of the original Elves and the Shoemaker story and given it a New Zealand twist.
Kahu is a cloakmaker who toils night and day to weave cloaks to sell to his customers. His wife picks the flax and extracts the fibres for the cloaks and Kahu finds the feathers. It is nearly Christmas and they must finish their cloaks in time, but when they fall asleep, four fairies come to help them. Their little rhyme is:
“Tahi, rua, toru, wha
we bring feathers from afar.
Our flying fingers weave a cloak,
for we are special fairy folk…
Each night the Patupaiarehe come to help them so that they can get their cloaks finished in time for Christmas.
Like the other titles in the Kiwi Corkers series, The Elves and the Cloakmaker is a fun twist on a classic tale and is a welcome addition to the growing number of Christmas stories for Kiwi kids.