Book Reviews


Juanita Pirozzi:

‘The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo is an educational and inspiring story for children with a thought-provoking message about embracing difference. This picture book introduces young readers to Kenzie-Moo, a young girl who was born blind. Kenzie-Moo and her mum travel along the East Coast of Australia with their caravan in tow. Using her sense of sound, taste, smell, and touch, Kenzie-Moo describes her exciting holiday experiences; from going on a helicopter ride in the Hunter Valley to swimming with a dolphin in Coffs Harbour to walking through Daintree Rainforest.

This lovingly told and beautifully illustrated book teaches kids about what life is like for a visually impaired child so they can learn about accepting people with special-needs. It can also help parents of such children by encouraging them not to let their disability prevent them from enjoying opportunities such as travel. Tanya Savva, whose daughter, Mackenzie, was also born blind; based her book on the Australian road trip they took in 2016.



Jane Finch:

The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo, written by Tanya Savva and illustrated by Emma Stuart, tells the story of Kenzie-Moo as she travels with her mother along the east coast of Australia. There are some clever aspects to this adventure. The author suggests that the young reader close their eyes and try to image what Kenzie-Moo is experiencing, rather than just look at the illustrations. This is a good exercise to understand describing words as well as a gentle introduction to a young reader that not everyone is the same and some children have special needs. Interestingly, at the beginning of each visit, there is a black page which explains that this is only what Kenzie-Moo can see, but as she begins to describe the experience, using her other senses, she is still able to convey the excitement and wonder that she feels. The illustrations are lovely and colourful, and the simple story, told in rhyme, is charming. This book provides a wonderful opportunity not only for a parent to discuss special needs with a child, but also to be discussed in a classroom setting. A lovely, compassionate, empathic and engaging read.



Samantha Gregory:

I thought that this was a charming book with lovely illustrations. It is a great book for children who are blind and even those who are not. It encourages those who are not to try to experience the world around them with more than just their eyes. We have five senses and they aren't used enough.

Tanya Savva has created a lovely book in The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo. The story was easy to follow and the pictures really complemented it. The fact that is based on a true story and the experiences of the author and her daughter Mackenzie makes it extra special. She is talking from first-hand experience. She understands what it is like for a child who is blind and how they 'see' the world around them. I feel that at a time when kids spend most of their time staring at screens, this book really offers an alternative way of having fun. Kids should be out exploring the world in new and different ways, instead of watching it on TV! I think it will do well on the market and it will encourage kids dealing with disabilities and what life is like for them. I would definitely recommend this book.



Sarah Stuart:

The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo by Tanya Savva, beautifully illustrated by Emma Stuart, introduces young readers to the world of a blind girl. She and her mother take a caravan trip around Australia. Kenzie-Moo has so many adventures packed into this book, but each is planned on one page and the next shows what she sees – total blackness. The wonder of it is how upbeat Kenzie-Moo is. She uses all her other senses – hearing, touch, smell, feel, as in heat or cold or water on her skin, and she carries a cane to guide her when she isn’t holding her mother’s hand or allowing the sea to let her float. The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo is fun to read, and a marvellous way to show sighted children how much the blind can enjoy.

I have the greatest admiration for Tanya Savva; The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo is based on her own experience as a single mother of a blind daughter. Savva shows, through captivating stories, how rich life without sight can be if the child is encouraged to use his or her other senses to the full. Kenzie-Moo has a ride in a helicopter, visits Marine Magic where she swims with a dolphin called Bella who plays chase with her, goes to the beach and climbs sand dunes, and swims over the Great Barrier Reef. After every adventure, she asks a question: “Do you think if you closed your eyes you’d like that adventure too?” I believe every child’s answer would be yes. The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo is a book worthy of a place in every home and classroom.