Tu Meke Tui
Author: Malcolm Clarke
BUY – Tu Meke Tui
Gorgeous stencil spray artwork, lifts this playful story of avian friendship, courage and appreciating who you are into the spotlight.
When ace flyer Tere the Tui, tries to encourage the flightless Takahe, Taihu to join him in the skies, things take a turn for the worse.
Highlighting the plight of New Zealand’s native birds, which are under constant threat from introduced predators, Stan the sly stoat nearly makes a meal of the Tui.
The authors professional passion for theatrics is evident in his use of scene setting. Children may notice the swift shift from lush sunny day to sudden rainstorm, complete with lightening, as stoat makes his entrance and pins the helpless Tui.
Some small people may find the stoat a bit ominous, whilst others will no doubt delight in the tension and uncertainty.
Taihu’s wings may be small but his legs are strong. The stoat is dispatched with a swift kick, demonstrating that differences are often our strengths.
A happy ending and middle ground for companionship is found in the sharing of their bird songs.
This book could definitely be used as a learning aid to open conversations about conservation and native creatures. Children will enjoy finding the native creatures (plus Monarch butterfly) which feature in the ‘Did you spot?’ end page.
The addition of personalised names like Pania the Piwakawa (Fantail) may complicate learning the New Zealand Maori language names for those who are unfamiliar with them and the text is a little unpolished in places.
Redeeming this, Flox’s stunning trademark graffiti artwork, is rich in detail and colour and credits this book with a collectable status.
Tumeke traditionally meaning to startle or take flight and more recently colloquialized as ‘tu meke’ meaning ‘too much’ adds a note of humour to this colourful children’s drama.
BUY – Tu Meke Tui