“Inside New Zealand’s Wildlife”, “Which/ What? Why?” (subtitled NZ Country Life) and “Which? What? Why?” (subtitled NZ Forest Wildlife”) by Dave Gunson, published by Bateman Books. Price (each) $19.99. Reviewed by Tony Orman.
People are becoming increasingly detached from the world outside of the urban areas and particularly young people. Talented North Shore author and artist Dave Gunson has set about rectifying the trend by writing and illustrating wildlife books with the target readership 8 to 12 year olds.
The author apparently delights in bush walks near his home and his knowledge and deep motivation for delving into the natural world shines through in his trio of recently published books.
“Inside New Zealand’s Wildlife” is an intriguing book with Dave Gunson illustrating with cross section illustrations that go inside the creatures as to their functioning. What does an insect’s eye actually see? What of the bat’s radar system? Of fish like snapper, insects like the weta and birds like the kiwi, fantail and others.
In all three books, the author’s writing is judiciously informative without being too scientific and he his adeptly achieves “technology transfer” to the young reader.
Young readers? It’s not only youngsters who will learn – many adults will pick up a lot of natural world facts they did not know.
The book features a striking lenticular cover in which held at slightly different angles, a takahe’s head is shown with plumage and then internally.
“Which? What? Why? on country wildlife answers a good many interesting questions about wildlife in the countryside that curious youngsters are likely to ask. Well illustrated with an injection of cartoon humour.
Which? Way? What? on forest wildlife is in similar vein to the country one, looking at kereru (pigeon), tuatara, snails, kakapo, wetas, kiwis, pururi moth, cicada and others.
He pops in amusing questions such as “do insects fart” and the answer is “probably most of them do, yes.,” and “can you make tea from tea-tree?” and the answer is “yes, Captain Cook’s crew did.”
Go get a copy of each for your children or grandchildren. And read them yourself. All three are highly recommended.