Picture Book Nook: Seesaw Po by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Katz Cowley

Read me for NZ Book Month!

Kyle Mewburn has done it once again!  He’s created another clever and fun-filled picture book that children and adults alike will love, and it features a loveable hippo called Po.

Po and his friends love the playground.  “I want to swing!” said Uta.  “I want to slide!” said Madi.  “I want to spin!” said Raff.  “I want to do everything!” said Po.  They all rush off to the playground and have a go on everything.  Everyone, that is, except Po.  Poor Po is just too big to go on anything…until he gets to the seesaw.

Children absolutely love Seesaw Po!  I’ve read it numerous times to children from 2-7 years and they were all captivated by the story.  Older children know right from the start that Po is too big to go on the playground and they feel sorry for him, but they don’t see the surprise ending coming.  It’s a story that all children can relate to because they all love going to the playground and they all have their favourite thing they like to go on (for me it’s always been the swings).  Katz Cowley’s illustrations are as marvelous as always.  You can really see the joy on the faces of the characters as they whizz around on the roundabout and whoosh down the slide.  The favourite illustration of the children I read the book to was Po stuck on the slide and they liked to point out that Uta was trying to pull Po down the slide by his ears.  Book Design deserve a special mention for the wonderful design of the book.  I love how the words follow the characters down the slide and around the roundabout, while still making the text easy to read.   It’s also great to see Scholastic NZ publishing Te Reo versions of their New Zealand picture books, especially these younger picture books.  Seesaw Po is a great collaboration from two of our most talented authors and illustrators.

4 out of 5 stars

Picture Book Nook: All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, Illustrated by Katz Cowley

Christmas is nearly upon us again and one of the first new Christmas books for the year is an illustrated version of song, All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, originally by Don  Gardner.  This catchy little song has been brought to life by the quirky illustrations of Katz Cowley, who also illustrated the best-selling Wonky Donkey and Willbee the Bumblebee.  I’ve loved Katz’ illustrations ever since I first saw how she’d perfectly portrayed the Wonky Donkey from Craig Smith’s song.  The song is about a child who has lost their two front teeth and wants nothing more for Christmas than to have them back again so that they don’t have to keep talking funny.  Katz has taken a different take on the song and instead she uses a monkey to tell the story.  The monkey’s two front teeth have gone missing and he doesn’t know who to blame.  The teeth police are on the case and they try to find where his teeth are gone.  The monkey can see that everyone else has all their teeth apart from him and thinks up all the ways he could get new teeth, including asking Father Christmas, and replacing them with buttons or leaves.

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth is the perfect Christmas gift for young children.  Katz’ illustrations are quirky and fun and will make children laugh.  I particularly like the page where the monkey is holding up a pair of teeth that he has drawn.  Like the other books that Katz has illustrated, there are lots of things happening in each of her illustrations, especially with other characters, so watch out for these.  Not only are the illustrations wonderful, but the book also comes with a CD of Craig Smith (of Wonky Donkey fame) singing the song (and a monkey version), as well as one of his own songs, called Toothless.  If you loved Wonky Donkey, Willbee the Bumblebee and The Fidgety Itch, then you’ll love All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.