Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand wildlife’

Wobble, waddle, toddle

By Anne Hunter

Illustrated by Dave Gunson

ISBN 9781776890088

Bateman Books

This is a gorgeously illustrated collection of poems about the wildlife along the shores, and beneath the seas, from Australia, New Zealand and all the way to Antarctica.

The rhyming poems are about whales, penguins, dolphins, the Royal albatross and many more.

The illustrations are cute and show lots of personality. The last few pages provide further facts and details for extra reading.

I do love the colours. Lots of blues just like the animals natural environment.

A good choice for preschools and primary schools as children discover animals and learn about poetry.

Nature’s alphabet : A New Zealand Nature Trail

By Andrew Crowe

Illustrated by Dave Gunson

ISBN 9781776890163

Bateman Books

A run through the alphabet in this book gives us bite-sized information about a variety of New Zealand’s wildlife. I found J for the Jumping Spider very interesting. I never knew they had so many eyes; eight to be exact. That is kind of scary even though they are harmless.

Author Andrew Crowe, knows his animals, creatures, insects and trees and provides the reader with interesting facts to whet the appetite.

Dave Gunson brings his artistic talents with warmth and detail.

There is an alphabetical list at the back which is a checklist for creatures to find within the pages of the book. This is a fun interactive book.

Row, row, row your waka (New Maori and English edition. CD and sheet music included)

Written and illustrated by Rebecca Larsen

ISBN 9781776890316

Bateman Books

Meet some of New Zealand’s favourite birds and animals as a group of friends sail across the sea. Kiwi, Pukeko and Hoiho journey over the ocean heading for a holiday in Australia. This is an updated edition with bilingual Te Reo Maori and English text.

The book comes with a CD which makes it fun and a good companion for car rides for children to sing along too. The illustrations are bright and bold with a child-like quality making it a good choice for younger children. The repetitive text and familiar tune will make this fun and no doubt a favourite for younger children.

Incredible journeys: New Zealand Wildlife on the move

By Ned Barraud

ISBN 9781988550282

Potton & Burton

Author and illustrator, Ned Barraud, is well-known for his distinctive artistic style. In his latest book he highlights the journeys many animals and birds take, often repeatedly, in their lifetimes.

Each animal or bird has its own double-page spread with lots of well-researched facts, and a map of the journey’s path. The facts are informative and easy to read.

Take the humpback whale, for example. It travels up to 10,000 kilometres from the South Pacific Ocean surrounding New Zealand, down to Antarctica and back again, when it is time to breed. That is a huge distance.

Some of the other journeys include, that of the white shark, Northern Royal albatross and even the Fiordland crested penguin, which is one of the rarest of the 18 species of penguins in the world.

A good, informative non-fiction book to have in any school library or home collection.

Backyard birds

By Ned Barraud

ISBN 9781988550305

Potton & Burton

Ned Barraud has brought together yet another book, a collection of 24 of the most common everyday birds in New Zealand. They are birds we might see in our own gardens, or on native walks around local forests or parks.

It begins with a good contents page, then the evolution of birds, followed by parts of a bird, mating, nests, eggs and chicks, before introducing different species of birds. My favourites are the pukeko, piwakawaka, and the magpie. I’ve just noticed that my favourites are all quite well-known for being rather cheeky characters with lots of personality.

Each detailed illustration also provides a paragraph or two about the birds. The last double-page spread gives ideas on how to attract birds into your garden.

A good book to have at home, to help identify birds we might see around our neighbourhood.

The following books are written and illustrated by Dave Gunson, and published by Bateman Books. Gunson’s speciality is non-fiction and I have read many of his books over the years. These are just the latest ones to be published.

New Zealand Country Wildlife: Which? Why? What?

By Dave Gunson

ISBN 9781988538884

Bateman Books

Part of a series of non-fiction books about New Zealand wildlife, Gunson manages to provide interesting facts about the animals in the countryside. He does this with careful research and his usual tongue-in-cheek humour.

We learn about lizards, birdlife and goats. We learn there are many different types of butterflies in the mountains. We learn the collective nouns for many of the animals. I particularly like the words for a group of kea; a prattle, a company or a pandemonium. I love the kea birds and their beautiful colours and cheeky personalities, so I do think these are good descriptions.

New Zealand Forest Wildlife: Which? Why? What?

ISBN 97819885388877

Similar to the country book above, this book focuses on forests and the wildlife within. The language is aimed at primary school aged children, but for quick facts this will suit older readers too. The layout is in small bite-size blocks of information with the same humorous cartoon-type illustrations spread over the pages. The information is fun and clear.

Here we learn about the trees, snails, kiwi, morepork and even centipedes. Lots to look at, discover and learn about.

Inside New Zealand Wildlife

ISBN 97819885388860

This book is aimed at older readers as it has more text, a smaller font size and language a little more sophisticated than the two books above. It has an awesome lenticular cover so that front-on you see the illustration of the takahe but if you move the book side to side, you have a 3D cross-section picture of the inside of the takahe’s head. Very cool.

This is a book of cross-sections with a very good look at the insides of the bodies of many animals, birds, insects and even dolphins. The information in this book is more in-depth. I particularly enjoyed reading about the little blue penguin. So tiny and cute.

There is both an index and content page which makes finding information easier than the previous two books reviewed here. As mentioned, this one is best for older readers. An excellent addition to a school library.

Batkiwi

By Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

ISBN 9781775437116

Scholastic NZ

Melinda Syzmanik’s latest picture book, Batkiwi, is just delightful. A heartwarming picture book about teamwork, even if that team is made up of just two members.

Kiwi loves helping his fellow forest creatures and friends. Whenever one of them needs help, he gets his legs running as fast as he can, but it is just not quite fast enough. Feeling sad about not being able to help, he carries thoughts with him that he just can’t be a hero. One night, when feeling extra sad, and hiding in a dark cave, Kiwi hears a voice. The friendly voice of a Bat, offering the best advice, that together they can help in emergencies. Together, Bat and kiwi can be heroes. Batkiwi “A dynamic duo.”

This picture book is supercool. The illustrations totally fit the story. This is a wonderful, visual introduction to New Zealand’s wildlife with colourful pictures of kunekune, ruru, weta, skink, and many others.

It is lovely to see a Te Reo Maori edition also available.

24 Hours on the Kiwi Seashosre

Gillian and Darryl Torckler

ISBN 9781988538389

Bateman Books

For many years, Gillian and Darryl Torckler have collaborated on numerous books for children. Their focus is non-fiction books. Their latest venture is two books looking at life in the New Zealand bush and seashore.

Each book is filled with fun facts about what happens over a 24 hour period. We visit the nightlife and day time activities of our wildlife. In 24 Hours on the Kiwi Seashore we look at tides, birds, anemones, dolphins, seals and so much more. The photos are stunning in both books. Each book has an excellent glossary and index page.

The information is perfect for readers aged 8 through 13. Each subject has a heading and there are lots of bite-sized boxes with interesting facts. One thing I found very interesting was that the tui bird has two voice boxes. Or if you look at 24 Hours on the Kiwi Seashore, gannets can reach speeds of 145 kms an hour when diving. That is incredibly fast.

Photos cover the entire pages creating a visual feast of New Zealand’s wildlife. Each animal, bird or creature is labelled with both its English and Te Reo Māori name. These books offer a wonderful introduction to our native bush and seashore and are ideal for all school library collections.

24 Hours in the Kiwi Bush

ISBN 9781988538372

Tulip and Doug: Friends for (almost) ever

By Emma Wood

Illustrated by Carla Martell

ISBN 9781775435693

Friends come in all shapes and sizes but not too many come in the form of a potato. Tulip’s best friend is just that, a potato named Doug. They do everything together. Doug even has his own stroller and his own bed right next to Tulip’s bed.

Gorgeously illustrated, this sweet story about a one-of-a-kind friendship is just delightful.

I love the range of emotions we see with Tulip and even after a catastrophe we see hope and that is always a good outcome in children’s picture books.

 

 

The Kauri Family

By Suzy Cato and Arthur Baysting

Illustrated by Craig Fletcher

ISBN 9781775436119

 

What’s that there, can you see?

I wonder what that thing can be,

in the hole beneath the tree.

It’s part of the Kauri family.

The giant Kauri stands in the forest and we are introduced to all the wonderful New Zealand wildlife who depend on the tree. The animals might climb the tree, live inside or beside it, or they might shelter in its highest branches. The one thing they have in common is that the mighty Kauri protects them all.

And at night time, beneath the stars of Matariki the Kauri and its family unite.

Beautifully illustrated, this picture book gives readers a chance to search and find lots of wildlife on different pages throughout this very Kiwi book. This is just gorgeous and perfect for Matariki and for sending to family and friends overseas.

You can also download or stream the Kauri Family song in both English and Māori.

 

Friday the Rebel Dog

By Susan Brocker

Illustrated by Raymond McGrath

ISBN 9781775436102

 

As a child, I remember being told stories about the infamous sheep-stealer Mackenzie and his dog, so it is lovely to see a picture book about him for a new generation.

Based on truth this is a longer story than most picture books but it works well. Even though Mackenzie is a thief we can’t help but admire this man and his beloved dog Friday, who dutifully obeys his every word.

The illustrations have a very retro feel to them which suits the timeline of this historic story over 160 years ago.

If you are travelling through Mackenzie country in the South Island there is a statue of Mackenzie and his dog in the main street of Fairlie, which just goes to show how much impact this duo had on everyone, and still does to this very day.

A good old story of legendary merit to enjoy.

 

 

 

Eekily, sneakily

By Anne Hunter

Illustrated by Dave Gunson

ISBN 9781869665036

New Holland Publishers

Simple poems introduce young children to some of New Zealand’s smaller wildlife.

We meet frogs, snails, stick insects, worms, spiders, butterflies and others and even a lizard. Lots of alliteration and made up words make this a fun learning read. Dave Gunson’s illustrations are bright and cherry yet well detailed.

There is a section at the back with facts for each creature to add to their poems.

Eeekily, sneakily is a simple non-fiction book in picture book format. Many of the insects are found in our own backyards so this is good to help children identify them when they see them flying around.

The Kiwi go marching one by one

By Peter Millet

Illustrated by Deborah Hinde

Sung by Jay Laga’Aia

ISBN 9781775435129

Scholastic NZ 

A popular trend in picture books is to add a bonus CD. They offer more than just a picture book to read. Pre-schools and primary schools love them. They are great for listening along in the classroom or in the car on the way to the grocery store. Children with English as a second language use them to read and listen to the rhythm of English language. They are certainly popular in my school library. Peter Millet’s latest book is no exception. 

Peter has taken the classic The ants go marching one by one and given it a whole new meaning. A very Kiwi meaning. He introduces different NZ wildlife and our love of the outdoors. He takes us up to  the snow to meet kea, out on choppy seas to catch kahawai.  He takes us on a real Kiwi adventure

A familiar tune, well supported by the wonderful illustrations by Deborah Hinde. Her illustrations are bright and colourful but have a softness to them which just makes the kiwis so cute and very appealing. Their eyes, in particular are so warm and friendly, appealing to the reader to join them on their journey. Check out their attempts at bungee jumping! Adventurous yet gentle but lots of fun. Love the little fantail flitting between the pages.

Great gift for Christmas or for end of year teacher present. It is also great to have the song in Te Reo as well with easy to follow lyrics.