New tactile book for tots
It’s a tall ask to expect a tiny-tot to read, but a new book is set to take story time for toddlers to a whole new level.
Taranaki author and artist Lois Parkes’ new touch and feel children’s book, How New Zealand Feels, will take preschoolers on a unique New Zealand-themed learning journey.
Parkes collaborated with children’s book specialist Diane Hartley in a bid to turn an idea of Hartley’s into a reality.
‘‘We wanted it to rhyme and my criteria to her was I wanted iconic New Zealand features,’’ Hartley said.
She said they purposely chose the touch and feel format to target the very young.
The book is jam-packed with Kiwi icons such as the ‘scaly green tuatara very rarely seen, or the spongy white pavlova with kiwifruit and cream’
‘‘I wanted a mixture of birds, reptiles, and icons like a rugby jersey and a pair of jandals,’’ Parkes said.
‘‘I liked their uniqueness. Our paua is unique, the weta, the kowhai, the tuatara and even the flounder, because he is so unusual with the two eyes on the one side.’’
Each of its kiddy-proof cardboard pages are a sensory delight of colourful illustrations with textured swatches to match, that beg to be touched by little fingers.
An artist in her own right, Parkes described her illustrations as ‘‘naive and bordering on cartoon’’.
The pictures were inspired by those from her first children’s book, Creative Creatures, published in 2015, and the pictures for that were inspired by the book Native New Zealand Animals.
‘‘I loved it as a kid. I colourised them all with my paint set I got when I was nine.’’
The book is told through rhyme in simple, yet descriptive language, and is bound to stimulate even the shortest of attention spans.
‘‘They are learning the word of what the feeling is, they are learning the colour, they are learning the name of the icon, and then they are learning what it does,’’ Parkes said.
How New Zealand Feels has a limited print run of 700 copies and is currently available for purchase from Hartley’s shop for $20. Pohutukawa Children’s Bookshop in Strandon, next to the Taranaki Hardcore Surf Shop.
Lois Parkes (right) has created the first New Zealand themed tactile (touch and feel) book for preschoolers with the help of Pohutukawa Books in Strandon. owner Diane Hartley (left).