Picture Book Nook: If You’re a Kiwi and You Know It! sung by Pio Terei, illustrations by Stevie Mahardhika

Children love singing and dancing to songs like ‘The Wheels on the Bus,’ ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm,’ and ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It.’  In the last few years there have been a number of books, based on these action songs, that have been given a Kiwi twist.  Donovan Bixley’s The Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald’s Farm, and Do Your Ears Hang Low by The Topp Twins and Jenny Cooper, are recent favourites of mine.  Scholastic New Zealand, along with Kiwi entertainer Pio Terei and illustrator Stevie Mahardhika, have just released a Kiwi version of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It,’ called If You’re a Kiwi and You Know It!

They have taken the original action song and given it a Kiwi twist by adding in some of our wonderful wildlife.  Kids can join in the song and dig for worms like a kiwi, dive and play like a dolphin, strut around like a pukeko, slither away like an eel, and many more.  The actions are easy to do and you can have a lot of fun pretending to be different creatures.  Stevie Mahardhika’s illustrations are beautiful and they get funnier as you go through the book.  I love how each of the animals pretends to be a different animal (the kiwi and pukeko trying to dive like a dolphin and flap their flippers like a seal are absolutely hilarious!).

The book comes with a great CD of Pio Terei singing the song (and just the guitar accompaniment), as well as a Te Reo Maori version of the song.  Thank you so much Scholastic New Zealand for including the Te Reo version of the song on the CD and for including the Te Reo lyrics in the back of the book (rather than as a separate book).  This is a godsend for librarians like myself who will use this book and CD in their preschool sessions in the library, and for parents all over the country.  We certainly need more bilingual books of this quality.  Get a copy of If You’re a Kiwi and You Know It! from your library or bookshop now, and sing and dance along with our wonderful wildlife.

4 out of 5 stars

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