Poetry Box reviews: Ned Barraud’s ‘What Happened to the Moa?’ and ‘Where Is It?: A wildlife hunt for Kiwi kids’

Ned Barraud Where is It: A wildlife hunt for Kiwi kids Potter & Burton, 2020

Where Is It: A wildlife hunt for Kiwi kids gets you hunting in a range of Aotearoa New Zealand habitats. You might go to the beach, forest, rockpools, wetlands, the ocean, or estuary. On one side of the page is a habitat, on the other side, pictures of things you might discover. In the forest you can go looking for a wasp, a land snail, a velvet worm or a kererū (and more!). You really have to use you best hunting eyes to see how many things you can spot. At the back of the book there is information on all the things you go hunting for.

This is such a cool idea for a book. Sometimes when I go for a slow walk at Bethells Beach I see how many different things I can spot. Especially birds. Some are easy to see but are some are camouflaged on the sand, or high up on a cliff.

How many things can you spot on each page? How many things can you spot when you visit the beach or an estuary or a forest? How many things in the book have you seen? Have heard of?

Terrific illustrations, terrific idea – this book is an essential exploring guide.

Ned Barraud, What Happened to the Moa? Potter & Burton, 2020

If you are fascinated about moa then this book is a treasure trove of fascinating facts with realistic drawings to animate the prehistoric bird. Ned Barraud was inspired by the discovery of moa prints in a Central Otago riverbed in 2019. Geologists investigating the site thought the prints might be several million years old.

Here is a taste of fascinating facts: There were nine different species. DNA shows the closest relative is not the kiwi but the tinamou, a family of South American birds. I was fascinated by the drawings of the human standing next to the wing span of the Eyles’ Eagle (slightly bigger) and the wing span of Hasst’s eagle (way way way bigger). So yes, the moa was always in danger from the Haast’s eagle, the biggest bird of prey that ever lived. I was also in awe of the moa’s egg!

The book takes you on an informative journey, from the moa-filled settings to the possible last sighting in 1880 and its extinction. A fascinating book for the curious child.

Ned Barraud has been illustrating children’s books since 2000, after studying art at Victoria University. He has illustrated seven books in the highly successful Explore and Discover series of books about different ecosystems in New Zealand, and five other books on his own, including Watch out for the Weka, 2018’s acclaimed book on insects New Zealand’s Backyard Beasts and two further books in 2019, Tohorā and Rock Pools. He lives in Wellington with his wife and three children.

Potter & Burton Where Is It? page

Potter & Burton What happened to the Moa? page

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