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Reviewed by Karen Seth. Teacher, Upper Harbour Primary School, Auckland.
Opening sentence
The sun rises over a tiny, cliff-bound island, Where seabirds peek out of burrows, Skinks scoot across the forest floor, And wētā watch from tree hollows.
As soon as I picked up this book, I knew this was going to be a special book. I ran my fingers over the embossed cover and appreciated the beauty of the artwork it enhanced. I flicked through the pages to see more stunning paintings of small creatures native to New Zealand, including the Giant Centipede which, strangely enough, I had encountered for the first time, on my doorstep the night before. I knew I was hooked without having read a single word.

Katie Furze informs us of the significance, and the history of the tuatara through a rhyming narrative. She mixes poetic and scientific vocabulary in an unusual way that would be great to capture the interest of both those children who love stories and those who are the avid scientists. Fact boxes add further information to bolster the images’ storytelling.

Because of the beauty of the illustrations and the language, I recommend this book for any students in the years 3-7 range. It could also work being read to some younger groups if this was an area of study.

One thing which disappointed me a little was that the cover was a little flimsy - the corners are curling and I think I will have to protect it with a plastic book covering which might detract from the beauty of the embossed picture on the front.
Author & Illustrator: Katie Furze, illustrator: Ned Barraud
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9781775437987
Format: Paperback
Publication: Jul 2023
Ages: 7-12 years
Themes: Aotearoa, New Zealand nature, ecology, and history