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Star Star Star Star Star
Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga
by Alinka Rutkowska
Children - Picture/Pop up
26 Pages
Reviewed on 02/08/2014

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Book Review
Reviewed by for Readers' Favorite

Maya and Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga by Alinka Rutkowska takes us on yet other journey in the world of siblings, Maya and Filippo, as they travel around the world with their parents. This time the cruise ship, Fun Princess, takes them to Tauranga in New Zealand and as always, they are ready to explore. However, they get into a fight in the morning and each decides to explore on their own. Maya decides to go to a village called Maori while Filippo chooses to go and see a geyser. Each of them discovers the beauty of the place, beyond what they had ever imagined and while doing it, they also learn how to be truly happy.

Maya and Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga by Alinka Rutkowska is another beautiful story in the adventures of Maya and Filippo as they travel around the world and discover new and interesting places, and customs while learning important life lessons. The story has beautiful pictures and descriptions that will awaken any child's imagination as they embark on yet another adventure with Maya and Filippo. The book would be a fun and educational read for any child, and Alinka Rutkowska's writing style makes it very easy for kids to enjoy the stories. This book teaches kids valuable lessons using subtle messages in the story and makes learning fun and easy so kids will not be bored; it will be a valuable addition to any child's library.


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Julia Hopkinson
Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga is one of a series of books by Alinka Rutkowska, with charming illustrations by Konrad Checinski. In each book, sister and brother, Maya and Filippo, travel with their parents on a cruise ship, the Fun Princess, to new and exotic locations, learning about their surroundings and themselves in the process. In this book, Maya and Filippo arrive at the small New Zealand town of Tauranga but, due to a falling out over the consumption of an inordinate amount of chocolate mousse, the siblings go their separate ways when exploring the town. Following interactions with the local people, Maya and Filippo realise the error of their ways, and make up before re-boarding the Fun Princess for another adventure.

Alinka Rutkowska has created a series of simple, fun stories that teach children about the world around them and their own developing feelings and emotions. Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga is, obviously, about the siblings’ basic desire to be happy, seemingly at the expense of one another’s own happiness, and it teaches children that they alone are responsible for their own happiness. There is, however, an uncomfortable juncture in the book where Filippo makes another boy cry because he won’t play ball with him, which I thought was going a bit too far for young children, and the story is disrupted by one or two awkward turns of phrase. However, Konrad Checinski’s illustrations are an absolute delight and the best images, like a cheeky monkey in a tree or a mousse- (not mouse!) chasing cat, steal the scenes nicely.


Bil Howard
The “Fun Princess” cruise ship sets sail one more time to take Maya and Filippo on another adventure. Each time they venture forth, they discover a new place and learn a new lesson. In Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga, written by Alinka Rutkowska and illustrated by Konrad Checinski, Maya and Filippo have a fight. Each expects the other to apologize and make up for what they did wrong. Because neither is willing to take responsibility for making the other one happy, they spend the day going their separate ways when they reach Tauranga. Maya visits a village where she sees a dance by the Maori people who have lived there for hundreds of years. She meets a new friends who gives her some good advice. At the same time, Filippo is visiting a geyser. While he is there, a little boy wants to play with him and Filippo refuses. Suddenly, he learns a lesson as well. Will Maya and Filippo be able to work out their problem? What lesson about happiness will they learn in Tauranga?

Once again, Alinka Rutkowska teaches a valuable lesson in Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga. The concept is a simple one, but it is very important to learn how to be happy in life. Konrad Checinski adds his special touch as well with his illustrations that are colorful and give an added dimension to the action. Colorful, encouraging and thought-provoking, Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga will help young children learn a valuable lesson that hopefully will stay with them all of their lives.


Julia Schemmer
Maya & Filippo Look For Happiness in Tauranga by Alinka Rutkowska is an energetic tale about two children who visit a small town in New Zealand on their parent's cruise ship, called the Fun Princess. However, there is trouble in paradise when Filippo eats five cups of chocolate mousse while his sister is sleeping! Both are upset: Maya because none was left for her, and Filippo because he had a stomachache. Beyond the aches and pains of overeating, both children will learn the valuable lesson of choosing your own happiness and cherishing every moment with each other. If you have children, this book is a great choice for you to purchase. Written with a sense of understanding and wit, this book taught me some of the history behind Tauranga as well as the importance of family.

Family: you can't choose them, but man, sometimes that idea sounds tantalizing! Author Alinka Rutkowska recognizes this in her book Maya & Filippo Look For Happiness in Tauranga. In this book, sibling rivalry is brought to light when Filippo eats five portions of chocolate mousse, leaving none for Maya. The plot was interesting, and I loved how it brought in the cultural aspects of New Zealand such as the Maori people and the geysers. To me, that made the plot even more amazing, as it educates children about the world around them. The main theme is something a lot of us have trouble learning, whether five, fifteen, or fifty years old. People cannot determine your happiness, only you can. This book is one in a series of many, and I cannot wait to pick up the next one!


Mary DeKok Blowers
Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga, by Alinka Rutkowska, is a very cute book! It features a family going on a cruise on a ship called the Fun Princess. They even travel with their cat. While en route, the two children have an argument over some food and each thinks the other is responsible to make them happy again. The cruise stops at a port where there are several interesting things to do, and the two children go their separate ways. Each of them learns a valuable lesson and comes back to the ship with their new insights.

Alinka Rutkowska provides adorable drawings to illustrate the book. The colors are bright and there are many interesting things to look at, such as Maori dancers, a giant sea turtle, and palm trees with coconuts. There are fun details like a “Peace” poster on the wall, which is a hint to the mission of Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga. Maya and Filippo are indeed looking for peace and happiness, and they discover a key to these feelings while exploring the island port. Even the monkey in one picture appears to be acting out Maya’s emotions and she discovers the key to her happiness. Filippo comes to the same conclusion while talking to a stranger at another tourist attraction. We all have a great deal of responsibility for our own happiness, no matter what our circumstances are or what happens to us from one day to the next. My grandsons would love this book and I think most children would as well. It’s very appealing.
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