Get Reddy

A booklet for primary school students

Picture of the cover of the Get Reddy cover

In the Coromandel we have gorgeous tidal beachside communities, tons of stunning freshwater streams and homes with fabulous views.

And then Auckland and Hamilton send us their bad weather and our tidal beachside communities share the water with the roads, the stunning freshwater streams all meet for a clan catch-up in low-lying areas and the winds try to help our backyards join the glider club. Trampolines are easily seduced.

Then there are the real emergencies that everyone everywhere in New Zealand needs to be prepared for.

But who wants to read a manual in an emergency? We all need something simple to remind us of what we need to have ready - or reddy in this case.

So we made this book for primary school-aged students in the secret hope they'll bring it home with a giggle and show it to the jaded and time-poor among us, that we might get off our tushies and do something to get ready.

Picture of the Go Bag kit from Get Reddy book

But why deliberately spell it wrong and on the cover at that?!!

Because the book is reddy not yellowy. It's all explained on the cover.

Inside, learn how to pack yourself now so you don't pack yourself in an emergency, and enjoy the delightful illustrations by local 15-year-old illustrator LivArtisan.

Get Reddy book picture example

The booklet was written by emergency Public Information Manager Drew Mehrtens. "Writing this book was a bit like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears," he says. "When we showed the first version with just simple pictures and very little text to a test group of students from 6-12 years-old, they turned their noses up disinterestedly and said, 'is this for pre-schoolers?' So then we produced a version with more of the detail from the piles and piles of manuals and plans we have in the Civil Defence world, and they rolled their eyes and ignored it. The first bowl of porridge was too hot and the second was too cold."

So what was the formula for success? The porridge / chair that was 'just right'?

"I decided to write the sort of thing that used to amuse me when I was a kid and make fun of some of the typical boring stuff we often have to do in government," Drew smiles. "For example, even the block of tiny text in the copyright (inside front cover) was messed with. I wanted to surprise the older readers with a touch of absurd in unexpected places, while still using effective visual language for those that didn't want to read a word."

"Most of all, I didn't ever want to talk down to anyone. I always smelt that literary stench a mile away when I was young - 'hey kiddies, come and see how hip and groovy we adults can be' - sorry, seventies flashback. I hated that, and my teenage daughter hates that kind of thing even more than I did. So we wrote for those of us with a sense of humour and who have a brain cell or two."

And it worked. Our test subjects took the third version with a shrug, glanced at the cover, then the explanation on the cover and - an involuntary smile started to curl the corners of their mouths. Then they opened the book, and smirked. Then giggled. Then laughed. And READ IT.

Just right.

And the chair didn't even break.

Ado.

Ado.

And now with no further ado, click here to download your very own copy of Get Reddy.