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Reviewed by Phillippa Hibbs, English Teacher, Auckland
Opening sentence
"Turn your torch on", whispered Millie.
Millie and Toby are on a tramp with their mum when an accident leaves her badly injured. The two children are left with no option but to leave their mum and go for help. They very quickly get lost, and when they find help, it’s from an unexpected friend.

Night Tribe is set on and around the Heaphy Track. The author, Peter Butler, is an experienced outdoorsman, and his knowledge gives the descriptions of the landscape a rich level of detail. This is a land that is alive with native plants and creatures (and some not so native). It is also a hostile environment, and the children’s struggles in the great outdoors make for excellent, tense reading.

However, the underground world that Mollie and Toby find (and its inhabitants) are what make this novel unique. Though the folk living there are described as human, and Butler grounds their story in New Zealand history, there remains something fantastical about them. This blend of fantasy and adventure gives the novel the feel of classic children’s literature, where magical worlds mix with our own, and young people see things that adults never can.

This is an enjoyable read, and its fast pace, simple characters, and action-packed plot will likely make it popular with reluctant readers.
Author & Illustrator: Peter Butler
Publisher: OneTree House
ISBN: 978199003533
Format: Paperback
Publication: Aug 2023
Ages: 11-15 years
Themes: Friendship, animals and history