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