by Anna Kenna
“In the land of the kiwi the borders were shut,
planes were all grounded and services cut.
Cities were empty, people unseen.
All because of a virus called COVID-19.”
The tale in this attractive well-produced picture book is based on an event that lightened the mood of a nation coming to grips with such changed social conditions brought about by the virus; being the story of the granting of essential worker status to the Tooth Fairy, along with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
Six year old Ruth’s dilemma over a lost tooth with no chance of recompense is put together with Val the Tooth Fairy’s sadness at not being able to visit her, and others in the same situation.
A solution is needed, and it is met at the highest level.
The story is told in rhyming couplets. Though the metre is irregular, the reading reasonably easy.
Illustrations are suitably New Zealand. Even though the tradition of the Tooth Fairy is of Northern European origin, the pictures supporting the verses reflect the local aspect of the true event that sparked this story. Planes grounded at the airport have the koru on their tails, it’s a tui perching on a tree branch, and there’s no mistaking the cartoon-style likenesses of Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.
The book has a dedication to “all New Zealand workers who kept New Zealand running during the COVID-19 pandemic (including the Tooth Fairy).”
So, it’s very much a kiwi story, but it would be nice to think it will follow the pandemic much further – to countries wherever the fairy herself works.
Author: Anna Kenna
Publisher: CP Books with Tiromoana Publishing