Thursday, 26 November 2015

Hush: A Kiwi Lullaby

Hush: A Kiwi Lullaby

Joy Cowley, ill. Andrew Burdan

Scholastic, $27 hardback

Joy Cowley’s skills as storyteller and poet combine brilliantly with her gentle sense of humour in this Kiwi version of the American lullaby, Hush Little Baby. Instead of a mocking bird, the mother is promising her baby a woolly sheep.  Some of the gifts subsequently offered to the drowsy child are surprisingly playful:

“And if that kauri tree grows too big, Mama’s going to give you a kunekune pig.”

Andrew Burdan has created handsome double-page colour illustrations. For the couplet “And if that tui does not sing well, Mama’s going to give you a paua shell,” his picture shows the amused baby’s face reflected in the paua shell, while the tui flies away.
As well as the English version, there is also a Maori language translation and glossary, illustrated with charming silhouettes. The result is a handsome hard-covered picture-book, which will also be a pleasure to read aloud (or sing).

Reviewed by Trevor Agnew

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