The Pipi Swing
Illustrated by: Bruce Potter
Published by: Reed Publishing Ltd 2007
Age: 4 – 8yrs
Theme: family, fun, death and moving on.
Opening lines: “Grandpa’s up to his old tricks again, Mai!” I called to my mother. “What, honey? What’s he doing now?” she yelled back. “He’s just called me to say he wants to take me out dancing, something about a pip swing,” I shouted up the stairs.
Synopsis: A 12 year old girl whose Dad had died years earlier is asked by her Gramps and Grandma to come and have some fun and join them for something called a Pipi Swing. When she asks her Mum won’t tell her what it is. Instead her Mum insists she will have fun. When her Grandparents take her to the beach she learns not only about the Pipi Swing. but also about some much treasured memories of her Dad.
Why I like it: A touching story that will have you reaching for a tissue. What I really like is that it gives you a small window on how people in another culture deal with death. The loving family bond and relationships between a child and her grandparents. The memories she has of her father. The book is full of big clear lined simple illustrations. The author is a New Zealand-born Samoan who began writing children’s books when she found too few Pacific Island children’s books. The illustrator, Bruce was a cartoonist for a number of years and later a portrait painter specialising in oils and began illustrating children’s books in 2000. Both writer and illustrator live in New Zealand.
Research and Findings: An activity for the classroom came with this book…. http://www.pacificpicturebooks.co.nz/the-pipi-swing/
Here’s how to make Pipi fritters, even though I have never had them myself, they do look good….. http://www.nzwomansweekly.co.nz/food/recipes/pipi-fritters/
Oh. and if you are wondering what the Pip Swing is…. go down to the beach, take off your shoes at low tide, then do the twist and eventually you will feel the shells of a pipis under your feet. Enjoy and have fun! While you are all wrapped up warm against the biting chill of winter, I will be off to the beach again this weekend, and spending some time out of the big city, seen as it’s a long weekend.
Pop over and visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.