Review: Toitoi 31

Toitoi is a wonderful magazine written and illustrated by children and young adults. Recently, Toitoi started accepting contributions from young people up to age 18 (previously only 5-13 year-olds), and from next year, will be going from quarterly to annual publication. Twelve-year-old Elvy Cottle reviews the latest edition.

Within this edition of the Toitoi magazine, there is everything from a grasshopper in a boy’s sock (My Brother and Me, by Evie Cui) to picking cherries at the orchard (The Cherry Pickers, by Juliet Young). I encourage you to read the Toitoi  magazine as there is a mix of stories and poems written in different styles and lengths. Emma West writes a fun five-lined poem about Wellington, while Madison Macmillan writes a three-page story about adventures on the farm. Two stories made me feel a bit sad as they were both about people passing away, but others made me laugh like Maia Sisson’s story, The Naughty Kiwi. 

It was amazing how the pictures clearly related to the story; the colours stand out from a distance, and the expression on the girl’s face is very well done.

One of the stories that stood out to me was The Triathlon (words by Te Ao, pictures by Mae Gibson). It was amazing how the pictures clearly related to the story; the colours stand out from a distance, and the expression on the girl’s face is very well done. I love how in the story the main character helps another girl ride her bike knowing that she might not win but then she still comes first – amazing.

All of the stories and pictures were great but another one that I really enjoyed was Sassy’s Cafe (words by Elsie Anderson, pictures by Emma Jiang). It was really funny and I would’ve wanted to eat that bacon butty; terrific work.

I am very proud of all the young artists because I am quite artistic myself so I know how much effort and time has gone into these pictures. 

Illustration by Chloe Marsh for Kakaruwai by Emily Tubman

A picture that stood out for me was the art piece by Chloe Marsh from the story Kakaruwai. It was really funny how in the poem that Emily Tubman wrote, it says “body puffs up like a cheese ball” and the kakaruwai is eating cheese balls in the picture – looks as if watercolours were used. Throughout the magazine there are many different art forms used, including paint, pencil, computer-generated and photography.

Another picture that stood out to me was from The  Punishment (pictures by Alice Neal) as I know how hard it is to draw faces, and they captured the expressions really well using coloured pencils. The story is very funny and relatable, my brother and I always fight over the front seat too.

Illustration by Alice Neal for The Punishment by Marika Cutforth

I struggled to find something I didn’t like within this issue of Toitoi; these stories are all very New Zealand, and I particularly loved reading the stories with te reo in them. The magazine finishes with a poem about Matariki which is very relevant as we are nearing our Matariki celebrations:

The blessed lands and the winter nights, lit up by the sun and stars.

Saana Martin

How to submit to Toitoi

Toitoi 31

Published by Toitoi Media

RRP: $17.25

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Elvy Cottle

Elvy Cottle (she/her) is a Year 7 high school student from Golden Bay. She spends most of her time outdoors adventuring, or if she is inside, she's doing something creative like felting mushrooms or drawing in her sketchbook. Elvy is dyslexic but that doesn't hold her back and she hopes to inspire other dyslexic kids.