Kiwi picture books chosen to keep a future king happy

A NOVEL IDEA: Chief book judge Barbara Else with Prince George’s gift from the NZ Post Book Awards.
A NOVEL IDEA: Chief book judge Barbara Else with Prince George’s gift from the NZ Post Book Awards.

The royal nanny will now have a cache of Kiwi picture books to keep Prince George entertained while his mum and dad perform their duties.

Courtesy of the NZ Post Book Awards, the baby prince will receive copies of all five finalists in the picture book category.

He would also be sent autographed copies of the award finalists every year from now on, chief book judge Barbara Else said, as he graduated from picture books to young adult books.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to make it clear that children need books - who better to demonstrate that than the baby prince?"

The five books in this year's gift covered a wide age range, from newborn to 8, Else said. At his tender age, Prince George would probably gravitate towards Boats, by Catherine Foreman: "It's got lovely bright colours for a baby to respond to."

Gay Hay's Watch Out, Snail!, about the night-time adventures of a native Powelliphanta snail, would also teach the future king a little about New Zealand's unique wildlife. While the tales would be above the 8-month-old's head, he would still pick up a great deal from being read to, Else said.

"Even when a baby is very small, learning how to turn pages, learning that there's a surprise on each new page . . . Even when they're very, very little they can respond to the excitement and the drama of the voice - especially when it's a loved voice - and become very involved.

"When you see them patting the page for the first time, indicating they want it turned, it's one of those wonderful moments when you realise they're responding to reading and to story and picture and illustration."

Illustrator Donovan Bixley said it was "really cool" to know his book The Three Bears . . . Sort Of could potentially become a royal family favourite. "It's got some really nice voices that the parents can do."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit coincided with the announcement of the NZ Post Book Awards finalists today.




Machines and Me: Boats by Catherine Foreman

The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka

The Three Bears . . . Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley

Toucan Can by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis

Watch Out, Snail! by Gay Hay and Margaret Tolland


An Extraordinary Land by Peter Hayden and Rod Morris

Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story by Philippa Werry

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber and Brian Lovelock

The Beginner's Guide to Hunting & Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson

Wearable Wonders by Fifi Colston


A Winter's Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik

Dunger by Joy Cowley

Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe

Project Huia by Des Hunt

The Princess and the Foal by Stacy Gregg


A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman

Bugs by Whiti Hereaka

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox

Speed Freak by Fleur Beale

When We Wake by Karen Healey

The Dominion Post