Posts Tagged ‘Maori Myths and legends’

Rona Moon. Ko Rona Mahina by Tim Tipene, illus Theresa Reihana.

September 2, 2020 Comments off

Rona-Moon-Cover-LRRona Moon. Ko Rona Mahina by Tim Tipene, illus Theresa Reihana. Pub. Oratia, 2020.

Maori myths and legends are as good as any culture on the planet but like many old stories they can do with a revamp to make them more relevant to today’s world and today’s children. That is exactly what this new version delivers. Written in English and Maori.

Rona acts like a spoilt brat. She is defiant, angry, unreasonable and all her whanau suffer from her actions. She pout she stamps,  she hits her brother, rolls her eyes and says whatever to any request to behave.

Then one dark night when the moon is high she is swept up to the moon and meets Whaea Rona, the woman on the moon. Whaea Rona urges Rona to use her anger to create change not to attack others. Love and kindness is the way. Great message.

The star of this picture book for juniors and primary student are the illustrations. The moon and Earth look great, Rona is the perfect brat with her pouting lip, her nana, father and brother are beautifully drawn. Check out the brother’s facials when Rona smiles.

An excellent publication with a place in every household with children and in the school library. Legends don’t come better told than this. Great cover.

The Stolen Stars of Matariki by Miriama kamo, Illus. Zak Waipara

May 7, 2018 Comments off

matarikiThe Stolen Stars of Matariki by Miriama kamo, Illus. Zak Waipara. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

When I went to school I never heard of Matariki or Pleiades as the Greeks called it. The Maori have always known about it and it is an important celestial entity in their culture.

I first read children’s literature about it in the 90’s and it has since been a point of celebration in schools and the community when it first swims into our ken.

Miriama Kamo in this excellent picture book has added mystery and legend to the existence of Matariki and she has added it to the mystique of that powerful piece of landscape known as Birdlings Flat, a place noted for it’s steep shingle shoreline , it’s eels and the thunderous surf that slams into it during a southerly storm.

Amongst the shingle beach are pieces of agate that look like gemstones and it is conjectured that they are part of two extra stars now missing from these Seven Sisters.

Zak Waipara’s digital animation gives life to the written text with the gems appearing in the stars of Matariki, the agate of the shingle beach and in the wonderous eyes of the children as they go eeling and searching with their grandfather and grandma.

We need these myths and stories to enhance our understanding of the place of humankind in this vastness of the Universe. Children of all ages will love it.

Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts. Ten Tales from the Deep Dark Woods by Craig Phillips

April 12, 2017 Comments off

giants trollsGiants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts. Ten Tales from the Deep Dark Woods by Craig Phillips. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

The telling of stories of myths and legends was the reason the storyteller had the best seat by the fire. Here are ten myths legends and fairy tales from nine different cultures that talk about all the mythical creatures mentioned in the title.

Most of the stories you will know already although there was one I hadn’t heard of and it is a beauty. From Sweden is The Boy Who Was Never Afraid. He goes looking for his cow that was stolen by a an old Troll. Who hasn’t? he can’t afford to be afraid and after confronting bravely some formidable opponents he gets his cow back and becomes a hero at the same time. Brilliant.

You get Irish giant Finn  McCool, Russian with Baba Yaga and Momotaro the peach boy plus others. You can’t beat that.

What makes these tales more accessible than they were before is the fact they are written in wide screen comic book illustrations that bring life to the tales. Visual readers will really get into these and so they should.

Less than 30 bucks will get you this impressive book that will appeal to reluctant readers and good readers alike. High boy appeal.

Maui – Sun Catcher by Tim Tipene, Illus. Zak Waipara.

November 10, 2016 Comments off

suncatcherMaui – Sun Catcher by Tim Tipene, Illus. Zak Waipara. Pub.Oratia Books, 2016.

The strength of any culture is how it changes and evolves with the changes in the modern world. Every New Zealander knows the story of how Maui and his brothers capture the sun and stop it moving too fast across the sky. I have known it for over 60 years and it was always a favourite.

This hard cover bilingual picture book retells this story in an urban setting with references to a different kind of struggle in a world where Maui his mum and his brothers have lived in the darkness too long.

Maui and his brothers are in modern super hero suits and Maui is still referred to as a trouble maker. Superb modern illustrations  from Zak Waipara  that will appeal to modern children .

The story ends with Maui deciding to go fishing. I wonder what he will catch?

Primary and intermediate in appeal but older students and adults could do with looking at this classy picture book. Good for studying the Maori language too.