Tag Archives: Ned Barraud

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

For curious children: Watch Out for the Weka & Up the River

Two fabulous New Zealand non-fiction books for you to READ!



Watch Out for the Weka by Ned Barraud

Potton & Burton 2017

A few years ago our family walked the Abel Tasman track over a number of days. It was like walking inside the best postcard ever with the gleaming clear sea and the bright white sand. I love going on long long walks that feel like a huge challenge. I love getting to the place to stay all glowing with exercise and tucking into a delicious dinner.

I love walking because I love the way it clears your head and gets your skin tingling and your heart pumping and you get to see all kinds of surprising things.


I was so pleased to find this book is set in the Abel Tasman National Park,

and is full of trampers tramping ( I am more of a walker than a tramper!!)

and herons crab fishing and oystercatchers digging

but the star of this book is the curious weka

who is keen to go digging and delving for ANYTHING

especially if it is bright or tasty.


In this story a very curious weka steals

the hut warden’s clothes when he goes swimming.


Oh golly!  I laughed at loud at what happened next

and gasped at what happened after that!


You will just have to hunt down the book

to find out! A fun read with DYNAMIC illustrations.






Up the River : Explore & discover New Zealand’s rivers, lakes & wetlands

by Gillian Candler & Ned Barraud, Potton & Burton, 2017


I really love going on road trips with my family where we get to follow alongside a river or a lake or some wetlands. I feel like they are beautiful to look at in the changing seasons and changing lights but packed full of marvelous things to discover.

And that’s what this book shows. You get to find out what lives in the river or creek, and why braided rivers are like shiny plaits on the gravel beds.

Part of the magic of a book like this is when the illustrator is skilled enough to bring plants, insects, birds and fish to LIFE on the page. Ned does just that.

If you love discovering things about the world we live in, and jumping in the car to go exploring and investigating beautiful places … then this is the book for you.

There is lots of talk at the moment about CLEANING UP our rivers so we can swim in them and eat the fish from them (if we eat fish).

This is an important book because it reminds us exactly why do we need to try extra hard to look after our LIVING waterways.


Thanks for these two GREAT reads!



#NZbookweek – In the Bush -explore and discover NZ’s native forests – If you are like me, and find the bush fascinating, and love spending time in it to walk, listen and stop, then this is the book for you


This book is written by Gillian Candler, illustrated by Ned Barraud and published by Potton and Burton.


It is jam packed with great information about our bush. Everything we need to know.

The trees that grow in it.

The birds that sing in it.

The reptiles and bats and amphibians that live in it.

Some pages tell a story and some pages have information.


If you are like me, and find the bush fascinating, and love spending time in it to walk, listen and stop, then this is the book for you.

The illustrations make everything come alive so beautifully.

This is a must have book for the classroom. And bush nuts like me!


Moonman by Ned Barraud — I love every bit and bite of this book

Moonman   Moonman

Moonman, Ned Barraud, Craig Potton Publishing

Ned Barraud is one of those talented people who can tell a story (author) and create pictures (illustrator). He has illustrated lots of books, including the fabulous natural-history series that I flagged on the blog (Under the Ocean is the latest one). And he works as a texture artist for Weta Workshop! I have no idea what that is but it sounds fun.

Craig Potton Publishing is producing some gorgeous picture books for children and this is no exception. This book has lovely paper, a lovely look and a lovely feel to it. This matters in poetry books and picture books.

I love the story. Moonman is the caretaker of the moon. All is good. All is normal.  But one day he catches a ride on a shooting star to a mysterious, blue planet. Then all is strange. All is definitely not normal. Something does not suit him very well at all. I love the way the story unfolds and reaches its end (I am not letting the cat out of the bag on that!).

It is like a story in the age-old tradition of stories (like fables) that has a message. Beware of the grass-is-greener pull. Or ….  travel is wonderful and surprising, new places are wonderful and surprising, but home is home!

I love the sentences: ‘Under twinkling stars he takes his broom and sweeps the moon until its clean and gleaming.’ That’s poetry — simple and clean.

I love the moody blue illustrations that fit the story perfectly. Atmospheric. They make you want to pick up a pen and draw.

Yes, I love every bit and bite of this book, so even though I was tempted to give it away, I am keeping this one to read again!