How Maui Slowed the Sun by Peter Gossage.
Auckland: Penguin Group NZ, Picture Puffin, NZ Juvenile (2011).
RRP: $19.99. Pb, 32pp.
Reviewed by Anna Smith.
The latest imprint of a popular story re-told by Peter Gossage, this time in boardbook style. In October 2016, takahē reviewed his Maui and other Māori legends, his powerfully rendered publication for Penguin Random House and a collection of eight New Zealand stories in paper. While adults and older children would appreciate the paper imprint, the boardbook form remains favoured by the young – the really young, that is, whose small hands cannot grasp or manipulate the larger format.
Of all Gossage’s re-writes, the myth of Maui taming the sun is perhaps our most well-known; its theatricality and brightly coloured illustrations lending itself ideally to the smaller-size version. His rendition of the story won for Gossage the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book in 2013 but, long before then his books had become a fixture of many New Zealand childhoods, whether read in classrooms or at home in Māori, Pākehā, Pacific Islands and increasingly now, other immigrant families.
Very little power has been lost in this latest imprint’s reduction of size which puts the joys of reading right back at infancy where they most surely belong.
Anna Smith has recently retired from teaching English literature at the University of Canterbury Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha. She has written on New Zealand artists and writers as well as reviews, short stories and a work of fiction.