“Charlie and Kiwi” an evolutionary adventure
Created by: New York Hall of Science
Illustrated by: Peter H Reynolds
Age: 4 – 8 years
Theme: Science, Adventure, Evolution, History, Learning, understanding, Fun
Published: June 2011
Opening pages: This is Charlie. Charlie has to write a report for school. About a bird. He knew everyone else would write about robins and eagles and blue jays. Charlie wanted something different. Something a little surprising.
Synopsis: When Charlie presented his kiwi project in class he didn’t really know much about his unusual bird. Given till the next day to finish his project. That night by magic his stuffed kiwi came to life, and together they travel back in time, meeting his Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather along the way…. to the dinosaur age! Learning about how kiwis evolved and how they live, Charlie also discovered that although all birds are different it is believed they originally came from the dinosaur.
What I liked about this story: I was really impressed to come across a well written, fun, and entertaining flight through time about a New Zealand icon – the Kiwi. Written in simple clear text for easy understanding of ancient fossil with nature study and history, all in one. As a New Zealander this was a different approach for me, and one I found very interesting, as I am always used to the myths of the Kiwi and how it came to be such an icon. Children will love the humour in the artwork that Peter has managed to incorporate.
[The New Zealand myth not in this book is…….
Often asked “why do New Zealanders like being called a kiwi as opposed to Australians being called Kangaroo or roos or Koalas…” You will find we refer to the ancient myth of the loving, selfless, bird who gave up everything, colourful feathers, wings, daylight, and much more …to live in darkness and come out only at night to save the foliage and forestry from being killed off by bugs and insects so as other wildlife may live. It is believed the Gods paid homage ever since by declaring the kiwi would be forever known as the country’s icon and respected by all.]
Resources/Finds: Some wonderful websites about Concepts of Evolution Factsheets and Questions and Answers as well as an interactive video and exhibits..http://www.nysci.org/explore/ontour/charlieandkiwi http://www.nyscience.org/pressroom/article/charlie09 http://readperiodicals.com/201107/2390154181.html http://natureandscience.org/exhibits/charlie_and_kiwi/about.asp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNM2N9zJcjk …I loved this video.
Here is a link to FableVision founded by Peter H Reynolds and his brother Paul Reynolds… http://www.fablevisionlearning.com/ Peter is the award-winning illustrator of such books as “Someday” and “Little Boy”. Also author and illustrator of “the Dot” and “Ish”
For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Picture Perfect Book
What a great find, Diane, and what a unique approach to presenting more about the kiwi bird. I also think this is another book that might especially appeal to boys.
Ahhh… yes Joanna, I thought about that to as I finished posting to Susanna…..mmm I should have mentioned it, oh well! Yes I was quite amazed to see it sitting on a shelf in a book store, and a Peter Reynolds, to! Thanks!
I’m a huge Peter Reynolds fan! Thanks for reviewing this interesting book!
Thankyou Cathy, from one fan to another, I am glad you like this. Please come back anytime.
Fascinating, Diane! I loved learning about the myth of the kiwi – thanks for teaching me something new. I long to visit New Zealand, but am waiting for the boys to get a bit older so they can enjoy it, too. We’re nature fanatics, and NZ looks too beautiful to be true. 🙂
Thankyou Renee, New Zealand is a wonderful place to bring up kids. There is a great love of outdoor sports as well as nature walks, beaches, and interesting discoveries for the whole family. I will look forward eagerly for the day you come visiting our shores. Actually you have reminded me that I must finish my wander through Aoteoroa that I started back late last year.
Without a doubt, we will look you up! 🙂
Cool book! I will have to see if I can find it. (We love dinosaurs). Cheers. Kirsten
Thankyou Kirsten, hope you find it. It is a lovely book, enjoy!
I’ve seen a kiwi but didn’t know the background. What a great book and I can see the similarities in characteristics of the people. Great choice!
Awww thankyou Catherine, so glad you enjoyed the book review. Even I learnt a few things by reading this book.
Fascinating Diane! And a Peter Reynolds book to boot. I have no doubt it’s phenomenal.
Hi Julie, Yes I was surprised also to see it was a Peter Reynolds. Great for the inquisitive minds. Thanks for being here.
I didn’t realize the legend about the kiwi — very interesting information, Diane. And Peter H. Reynolds! That man is amazing.
Thankyou Beth. Yes its a very old Legend/Myth, the Gods of the sea, sky and earth were grateful for the kiwi, and punished the other selfish birds. (At least thats how the story goes). Yes I was delighted it was a Peter Reynolds.
Diane…I love when I read a children’s book and I learn something new and exciting! Thank you for bringing this selection to PPBF…I love myths…how clever of the author to incorporate that into a story for kids. Great review and resources. 🙂
Are sorry Vivian I have edited my post to show that the Myth is not actually in this book. This is based on factual evidence…… I do however have a book on Myths which I hope to review at some stage, just not yet. Thanks for bringing it to my attention..( I only threw the myth analogy in to show how we refer to it becoming a national icon….. nothing more)
Love the review! And it’s a book I haven’t read yet! Yay!
Hi Miranda, you will love it…. I am sure…. thanks for commenting.
I love Someday. This book sounds like a great example of how picture books can share an educational topic in a fun and adventurous way.
Hi Stacy, yes it is a fun book , kinds of reminds me of “Doctor Who” and the time machine…lol. Glad you like it.
I’ve never heard of this one, what an interesting combination of themes! Thank you so much for sharing it!
Hi Heather, sorry if I have misslead you…. the Myth is what I put up just to show what we refer to when asked why we call ourselves kiwi….lol It’s not in the book. Glad you like the review.
HI Kiwi Chum! I already had my mom request this book for our library! 🙂 I am learning a lot about New Zealand and I want to learn more about Kiwis (plural)! I am going to check out the links you gave 🙂
Oh my Erik!, I will have to sort my blog out and have some tags or something down the side so you can check out some earlier posts… my Wander through Aotearoa is snap shots of New Zealand with links to some neat places…… you should have a look at…. I am hoping to continue on with those soon. You would love it hear…. maybe oneday you will visit New Zealand….lol. Thanks for coming my chum!
What a fabulous idea-the kiwi coming to life and traveling back in time. I think my favorite part is the part about kiwis coming from dinosaurs! Love that. What a great book. And- thank you for sharing the history of the kiwi. What a great story of selflessness. I had the pleasure of spending a week in NZ, would have loved to stay longer, but I had not heard the original myth as you posted it. Thanks so much for sharing Diane!
Thankyou Tracy. Glad you liked the book and the Myth. So you visited New Zealand, gosh one week is definately not long enough….come back soon. And pop back here anytime.
HI! I have a copy (from the library) of “Charlie and Kiwi” and I love it! I didn’t know they had whiskers and I didn’t long beaks were an adaptation for eating bugs! I liked how Kiwi’s beak got smooshed against the Time Machine’s window!
— Off Topic (kind of) — Does New Zealand have kiwi fruit (meaning does it grow there)? Just curious.
Hi Erik, So pleased you managed to get a copy of this great book. Yes New Zealand grows kiwi fruit here, and we also export the fruit to overseas countries.