Last night our five year old got a new book to add to his kiwi collection... apparently a best seller here. Perky is an orphaned pukeko taken in and cared for by a farmer who looks very Wal Footrot - remember Footrot Flats?
A Pukeko is a purple swamp hen. Pukeko is a much, much nicer name. Perky the Purple Swamp Hen doesn't shout "read me".
If course we've long been fans of Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy - My brother used to read them (he's ten years younger than me so I remember quite a lot about his childhood) and I liked them way back then.
Oh to write like Lynley Dodd.
With tails in the air
they trotted on down
past the shops and the park
to the far end of town.
They sniffed at the smells
and snooped at each door,
And the characters - Bottomley Pots all covered in spots, Bitzer Maloney all skinny and bony... it's fabulous!
It did take me a while to realise Hairy hailed from these parts... and now I know that the Dairy you see the corner of as he leaves for his walk is not a farm with loads of cows but a corner store or milk bar. AND it's pronounced "deery" - rather than dare-ee as we Australians would say. Very confusing for our five year old when we arrived and his first friend kept talking about going to the dairy for a treat. "Mum," he said to me, "what's a deery?"
Of course nine months on he says deery too.