ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


Book Reviews

Ko Kiwi Ma by Ngaere Roberts with Christine Dale

Reviewed by Dr S Alexander

book review One tree house 1Number counting books can bore young active children who need a good story to hold their attention. But a new New Zealand made book, Ko Kiwi Ma, is surprisingly engaging.

As well as helping children with counting (1 to 10) Ko Kiwi Ma supports learning te reo Maori by way of NZ fauna. Each object or animal is located in the environment in which it would normally be found such as the shell is on the beach and the kahawai is in the ocean. 

The size is perfect for an adult and child to hold and look at together.

The high-contrast colour illustrations are eye-capturing.

There are two reasons why I would recommend Ko Kiwi Ma to early childhood centres and home-based ECE services.

First, as mentioned above it is ideal for joint reading times with toddlers and language extension. Any or all pages may well give rise to a toddler pointing, discussing or volunteering more information from his or her experience or lead to the early childhood service teacher or kohanga reo kaiako sharing his/her own knowledge and stories.

Second, with the clear simple text and corresponding illustrations a child will soon be able to read this book by her or himself. So for whole word reading and number recognition, Ko Kiwi Ma is an ideal early reader.

Older children could be asked to read Ko Kiwi Ma to younger peers, helping the literacy skills of both. Early childhood services could give this book to children who are transitioning to school to take home and read with their family.

At the end of the book is a counting chart for a child to use to reinforce learning. 

I wonder how long the glued pages will remain intact within the book, after several reads and children opening and stretching the book. But it’s nothing that clear tape can’t fix when this happens.

Publisher: One Tree House (
Format:  Paperback:  24 pages
ISBN: 9780473397067 
Published: 2018
Price $20

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