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Reviewed by Logan Rae, English teacher, Wakatipu High School, Otago
Opening sentence
About 85 million years ago the islands that were to become New Zealand were born during periods of cataclysmic earthquakes and volcanic activity which broke up the southern supercontinent of Gondwana.
Aotearoa is a land where nature has sculpted some of the most incredible bird species in the world. Moa, wrens, kiwi, adzebills, and wattlebirds were present here as far back as 28 million years ago, and many continue to thrive in the twenty-first century despite some massive ecological challenges. "The Story of New Zealand’s Unique Birds" by Alan Froggatt is a detailed exploration of our country’s diverse and unique avifauna.

Froggatt’s storytelling is one of the most striking parts of the book. He makes the information accessible and engaging for avian experts and casual readers by weaving together scientific knowledge with personal anecdotes. The book includes many photographs and sketches that capture the uniqueness of each bird. These images complement the text and allow readers to appreciate the splendour of Aotearoa’s birds. Froggatt also highlights the impact of introduced species and habitat destruction on avian species, making a case for the urgent need for conservation efforts.

If there is one criticism, it is the treatment of te reo Māori in Froggatt’s book. While the author touches on the te reo names for these birds, it seems like an afterthought. The limited use of macrons for te reo kupu and the relegation of Māori terms to small fonts under the ‘other names’ section for each bird may leave readers wanting a more prominent inclusion of these names.

Alan Froggatt’s 'The Story of New Zealand’s Birds' is a must-read for anyone who wants to delve into the world of New Zealand’s avian treasures. It is a beautifully crafted homage to our country’s avifauna and a call to action for their conservation.

Whether you are a seasoned birdwatcher or simply curious about Aotearoa’s natural world, this book is a journey you don’t want to miss.
Author & Illustrator: Alan Froggatt
Publisher: Reed New Holland Publishers
ISBN: 9781869665616
Format: Paperback
Publication: Nov 2021
Ages: 11+
Themes: Science, nature, non-fiction, New Zealand and history