5 of the best kids books by Kiwis, plus one extra!

I read to my kids every night. My eldest likes to hear a chapter of the latest fantasy novel we have found. My youngest is starting to enjoy longer books, but neither of them can go past a good picture book any night. While there is a wealth of kids books written by talented people worldwide, there is something special about a book written and illustrated by Kiwis. I guess it comes down to that unique Kiwi voice.

The books I have selected here may not be in your top five (or six), but they are some of our favourites. Maybe if you haven’t heard of any of these, you could go and check them out for yourself (click on the image for purchase).


Willbee The Bumblebee – by Craig Smith and Maureen Thomson, illustrated by Katz Cowley

Although Craig Smith’s book the Wonky Donkey is pretty iconic around here, we really love Willbee. It’s a cute story and I love that his awesome friends help him out of an embarrassing situation.  My kids and I have a good giggle and it makes this book even better. It’s funny and informative, the character is lovable and it mentions the Woman’s Weekly which gives it that Kiwi flavour.

The Red Poppy

The Red Poppy – by David Hill and illustrated by Fifi Colston

This one is read throughout April to help explain ANZAC Day and the red poppies to my girls.  There is a song on CD included as well, which I will play in the car too. Fifi Colston is an illustrating legend. David Hill does a good job of showing us that in war; there are human beings on both sides. There is injury mentioned if your child/ren are sensitive to that sort of thing.

Whats the time dinosaur

What’s The Time, Dinosaur – by Ruth Paul

Paul’s related book ‘Stomp’, is also in our library, but my kids have been reading this book most recently. My youngest really identifies with the little dinosaurs and loves it if I read all their dinosaur sounds as well. There are also some hidden characters which make the kids giggle every time. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to “read it again, Mum!”.

I need a new bum

I Need a New Bum! – by Dawn McMillan, illustrated by Ross Kinnaird

This book is just hilarious.  It’s basically about a kid who has discovered that there is a crack in his bum. He then goes through the thought process of how it got there and how to fix it. The story is fun to read and will have your kids rolling about with laughter. This is not necessarily the book to read them if you want them to settle down to sleep immediately afterwards though!

Great egg stink

The Great Egg Stink – by Kyle Mewburn and illustrated by Donovan Bixley

I really struggled to find one book by these two guys to talk about. They have done a few picture books and several chapter book series together. If your kids like dinosaurs or dragons, and gross but funny stuff then they will be a big hit. Just be aware that you might gag a little … or a lot! I did say they can be gross, right? This particular book is the start of the prequel series for Dragon Rescue. It’s written for younger readers, but unlike some early reader chapter books out there, it still feels like a good story well told.

And a new bonus book …

The Robot and the Pussycat

The Robot and the Pussycat – by A.K. McKay

I recently introduced my kids to this story. It’s about a pussycat who meets a robot and finds him to be very demanding and scary compared to his old friend. My kids enjoyed the telling of the story, though my youngest found the robot a little scary herself. There’s an important message about friendship in the story, as well as a morale about too much sugar! Pretty fun little tale.

This article was written by Kym Moore. Kym is a working mum of two, and occasional blogger. Fancies herself a writer, when she isn’t editing her kids’ vlogs or running their social media at Baby Likes Cake. Follow them on Facebook and YouTube.

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  1. Jaqui 18/10/2017 at 10:23 am

    I think reading to our babes is so important…we try and have a book every night! We love the dinosaur books from Ruth Paul…especially Stomp!

  2. Kathryn Inder 16/10/2017 at 9:52 pm

    Are you my Mother? – I loved it as a kid and my girls love it now too!

  3. Doug Ashley-Miller 11/10/2017 at 10:26 pm

    My kids really get a kick out of Craig Smith’s My Daddy Ate an Apple.

  4. michelle.whaley@xtra.co.nz 10/10/2017 at 12:32 pm

    I love you stinky face, it just has to be the cutest book ever, and explains to young ones that you love them no matter what. Truly heart warming. Thanks for the opportunity to win these awesome books, reading is so important 🙂

  5. Beryl O'Keeffe 10/10/2017 at 8:50 am

    The Red poppy- Anzac day is very special to our family

  6. adelyn84 09/10/2017 at 10:43 pm

    We love Wonky Donkey!

  7. Nickster74 09/10/2017 at 8:21 pm

    My two girls love the Hairy McCleary series. We have such good fun reading them and remembering all the characters.

  8. Dave Wells 09/10/2017 at 8:04 pm

    Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl please, thank you.

  9. Loulou 09/10/2017 at 7:52 pm

    Hairy McCleary from Donaldson’s Dairy is a favourite in our house.

    • Julie Scanlon 14/11/2017 at 3:25 pm

      Congratulations Loulou – you are one of our winners of a copy of The Robot and the Pussycat! Please email us at kidspotsocial@kidspot.co.nz with your full name and postal address.

  10. Joys 08/10/2017 at 8:45 pm

    “We’re off to find a Kiwi” has been a favourite since it came into our house

    • Julie Scanlon 14/11/2017 at 3:25 pm

      Congratulations Joys – you are one of our winners of a copy of The Robot and the Pussycat! Please email us at kidspotsocial@kidspot.co.nz with your full name and postal address.

  11. Rachael3 08/10/2017 at 5:56 pm

    I need a new bum is the cutest book ever !

  12. Mands1980 06/10/2017 at 9:54 am

    My youngest loves Thomas the tank engine series and they all love the wonky donkey we have quite a few of Craig’s books with the cd and him singing they make them so much fun

  13. Rose Mitchell 06/10/2017 at 9:40 am

    square eyes by Craig Smith – he came to Pataka and performed the song. we loved it

  14. Angelgirl081 05/10/2017 at 8:23 pm

    We love Dr Seuss in our house, can’t beat Fox in Sox. Also love the Yellow Digger books and Wonky Donkey.

  15. kymmage 05/10/2017 at 7:08 pm

    It was so hard to list just 6 great kiwi authors, that’s for sure! The Kuwi books are awesome too! We have such talented writers and illustrators here in Aotearoa

  16. Bevik1971 05/10/2017 at 6:34 pm

    Fav book is Room on a Broom by Julia Donaldson, but all of the above books look awesome, especially the Robot and the Pussycat 🙂

  17. Jen_Wiig 05/10/2017 at 6:05 pm

    The Red Poppy looks mine and my three boys kinda book!!! Anzac day to us is very special in our family and happens to be my bday too so deff keen to read this with them

  18. SarahBlair 05/10/2017 at 5:55 pm

    I love the Kuwi the Kiwi books, and the Grumble Bee by Kyle Mewburn

  19. Amber 05/10/2017 at 2:15 pm

    Jennifer and Josephine by Bill Peet

  20. Nola Hall 05/10/2017 at 12:11 pm

    Echo and Hush – A lovely New Zealand story about two working dogs.

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