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Reviewed by Cassidy Grace, Assistant HOD of English, Hamilton Girls' High
Opening sentence
I grew up in Ōwhiro Bay, on the south coast of Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
From the cover, to all the intricately crafted digitally painted creatures, this book is beautifully designed. In the first few pages, Donaldson shocks readers with simple black dots. As a reader, you have to unfold the pages to reveal a strikingly visual image consisting of small black dots which represent the 4000 threatened species in Aotearoa. It is a visual reminder of how much work needs to be done to help protect all of these species.

Donaldson takes the reader on a journey around Aotearoa, under the smallest rocks to fenced off hectares in Canterbury, to bring light upon some of our most endangered species.

The most memorable part of this book was learning about the Manaia pygmy pipehorse, discovered in 2017, it is the first species in the world to receive an indigenous scientific name. It blows my mind how creatures are still being discovered and how little we really know about the environment we live in.

This book is aimed towards a younger audience but as an adult I have never enjoyed learning about creatures in my own backyard more. This book can be read in one sitting and multiple times. My whānau read it, and we were all intrigued by every page. It inspired many conversations and learning opportunities. It will inspire people to do better and think about how they are impacting the environment.
Author & Illustrator: Jean Donaldson
Publisher: Potton & Burton
ISBN: 9781988550404
Format: Paperback
Publication: October 2022
Ages: All ages
Themes: Aotearoa, biodiversity