Children's NZ picture books

ODT books editor Helen Speirs reviews children's New Zealand picture books.


Deborah Hinde

"Ten goofy geckos going on a trip'', but ''if one goofy gecko should accidentally slip . . .''

I love this counting book about the rite of passage that is the Kiwi camping or tramping trip.

Starting at ''basecamp'' (complete with longdrop), the geckos' numbers are reduced as they trek through the bush, try their paws at abseiling, catch a good surfing break, play hacky sack and enjoy a campfire, before coming back together in time for a bedtime story.

The book is sung on the accompanying CD by Pio Terei, and the Maori translation of the lyrics is by Ngaere Roberts. Ages 3+.



Vasanti Unka
Puffin/Penguin Random House

''Deep in the jungle, all was at peace.''

Until Tiger and Leopard start to argue over whose markings are the most handsome, that is!

The argument turns into a fight, then a war, until Monkey is forced to call a cease-fire and the Jungle Council called in to find a solution, but how long will it last?

I absolutely love the lush jungle colours and lively illustrations, but there sees to me to be a somewhat mixed message about conflict resolution and winning and losing, or maybe it's just never that clear-cut! Ages 3+.



Gillian Candler & Fraser Williamson
Potton & Burton

Whose long beak helps its owner snuffle out worms in the dark?

Whose curved beak helps its owner sip nectar from flax flowers?

And whose beak helps its owner swallow a karaka berry whole?

The answers are all revealed in this lovely smaller-format book about birds, their habitats, food and the science of adaptation.

Bold, realistic illustrations and short, simple, informative text combine to make this a brilliant and fun resource. Ages 2+.



Betty & Alan Gilderdale

Big, bigger and ''bigger bigger diggers'', workmen constructing roads and moving earth and stones to make big piles of rubble, lots of rain and mud, and plenty of sticky situations requiring collaboration and problem-solving . . .

The Little Yellow Digger books have it all, particularly if you are a little boy.

This Kiwi classic is now available as a treasury, containing all five books in the series, and perfect for the Christmas market. Ages: 2+.


Lynley Dodd
Puffin/Penguin Random House

There can be few children's book characters more loved than the little terrier-cross Hairy Maclary and his troop of canine friends (and feline offsiders).

The simple illustrations, expressive faces, all manner of antics and wonderful rhymes have made the books a favourite with children and adults alike.

This treasury brings the 10 Hairy adventures together, and there is a bonus CD of them all, read by Kyle Pryor, with introductions to each by the author.

A bookshelf essential. Ages 2+.


The ODT has five copies of Lynley Dodd's Hairy Maclary Treasury to give away courtesy of Puffin and Penguin Random House.
For your chance to win a copy, email with your name and address in the body of the email and ''Hairy Maclary book competition'' in the subject line by 5pm on Tuesday, November 24.

LAST WEEK'S WINNERS: The winners of Joyce Carol Oates' memoir The Lost Landscape, courtesy of HarperCollins, were: Doreen Edwards, of Balclutha, Peter & Lynne Hill, of Mosgiel, and Sue Wallace, of Wanaka.



Add a Comment

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter