Written by Tim Tipene
Illustrated by Huhana Smith
Published by Huia, 2006
A Maori language version of this book has also been published.
NZC activities for this picture book here.
This story is told through the eyes of a young child who is mourning the loss of her Koro Jack. The story reflects traditional Maori beliefs and protocols surrounding the death of a whanau member. The text describes what is happening at a ‘human’ level – sharing stories and songs, taking them down to the marae, funeral and burial. The emotive illustrations show traditional ideas at a deeper level – tupuna (ancestors) are shown as shadowy white figures in the room and in the sky shadows can be seen, representing death. When a new baby Jack is born to the narrator’s sister, the theme of the circle of life is apparent to the reader – a new life begins as an old life passes on. This is a story about the importance of family and of losing a loved one.
Summary written by Marion McKoy
Book cover used with permission of publisher