The title character Benson is a rambunctious ram making a bid for freedom from his paddock in Karekare during the lockdown of 2020. A rhyming tale of adventure as Benson makes his way from Karekare, Piha to Anawhata, the story weaving in many local spots, both current and historical such as the Karekau Timber and Flax Mill and smelling coffee at Peter and Jazz’s shop.
There are many illustrations to explore in this book, painterly watercolours with lots of details. Benson’s expressions are captured from running away with glee, to a fierce expression during a standoff with a policeman. The size and quantity of the illustrations make it hard to share as a read-aloud with a class group, however individual readers will get the chance to enjoy all the colourful little details.
Extra features include detailed map locations and short snippets of information about the historic places mentioned in the story. A glossary of te reo words is also included, although I think there are some omissions.
This is a wonderful community story that has wider appeal than just West Auckland readers, it is a story of adventure and spirit and perfect for animal lovers too.
Title: Has Anyone Seen Benson?!
Author: Joanne Kingston & Glenda Northey
Illustrator: Lyn Kriegler
Publisher: Piha Press
Format: Softcover Picture book
Publication: March 2021
Themes: Adventure, local history
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? No
Would this book work as a read-aloud? Yes
Is there a particular part of the country that it’s set in? West Auckland, Karekare.
Reviewer: Louana McCormack, Librarian, Opaheke School, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening sentence: Once there was a sheep called Benson, a character was he; you just couldn’t fence him.
You can buy this book here