Any book that encourages children to take an interest in native New Zealand wildlife must be an asset to a collection, and We’re off to Find a Kiwi is in this category.
The plot is simple and follows a popular formula for younger readers. Two children set out to find a kiwi, looking in different habitats before they find the right one and reach the end of their quest.
The pictures are charming with plenty of detail, colour and clarity, depicting the various habitats with imagination, skill and plenty of atmosphere. There is a lot for young readers to see and absorb and to discuss with parents or teachers. At the end of the book there is a page of ‘Facts about the Kiwi’, clearly told and well illustrated, which will add depth to the story.
The only minor reservation I have is with some of the rhyming text. Mostly the rhymes are well formed and descriptive, and complement the illustrations, but every now and then I feel they could be stronger (‘. . . I feel the need to wee wee/It’s coming near. I freeze in fear! And then we see a kiwi’; ‘we search the city, every bitty . . .’), as if the author was really struggling to come up with suitable words. Having said that, young readers will enjoy this book and I would recommend it to children aged 2–5 years.
Title: We’re Off to Find a Kiwi
Author: Juliette MacIver
Illustrator: Kate Wilkinson
Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand
Format: Picture Book
Date of Publication: April 2017
Reviewer: Anabel McPhee
School: The Catlins Area School