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Reviewed by Karen Seth. Teacher, Upper Harbour Primary School, Auckland.
Opening sentence
You can’t miss the sight of a silver fern when walking in the New Zealand bush. The underside of its huge fronds are bright white, unlike any other fern found in the forest.
'Rustle!' is a precious taonga.

It is a beautiful book filled with all sorts of knowledge which I found highly interesting. I thought I knew a fair amount about native trees and plants, having taken students hiking through the bush many times, identifying the plants we walked past, and having taught students about various native trees. Still I learned from this children’s book!

Donovan Bixley shares with readers of all ages how to identify trees, but also shares interesting information. Māori knowledge and history of the trees holds equal weight alongside European science. Relevant insect life is mentioned. Maps, diagrams and friendly illustrations add to the reader’s enjoyment and understanding in this well-structured and written book. There is enough information to inform young readers, but not too much that they will switch off.

Being a hardback book, and with strong glossy pages, this book will last well, whether in a classroom library or being well read and shared at home. I can imagine my own children pouring - and pawing - over this book when they were little. They will come back and read it again and again to identify the trees they see in the garden, or in parks or on outings.

With the scientific language in it, I would generally recommend this for 8 to 11 year olds, but there would definitely be some younger who would love it. And many who are older who would happily learn from it.
Author & Illustrator: Donovan Bixley
Publisher: Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand
ISBN: 9781869714574
Format: Hardback
Publication: Jun 2023
Ages: 8-11 years
Themes: Aotearoa New Zealand nature, ecology and history