NZ Writer & Illustrator
Julian Stokoe. illustrated by Stacy Eyles
12 Huia Birds
Oratia Books 2016 $24.99hb 32pp
ISBN 978 0 9475 0612 4
Themes: Extinct birds/ Huia/Stories in rhyme/
This could so well be a lament for the passing and hunting of such a beautiful creature but instead it turns into a positive celebration of times past. It begins in the ancient forests of New Zealand and really seems to end with the sight of the first canoe paddling up the creek. Rats, dogs, powerful chiefs, scientists and ladies of fashion with big hats all have a hand in the final demise and we are left with memories in the form of paintings, displays and songs. Good illustrations appear on a forest coloured background of green and brown, blues (not too much – this is the forest floor) and oranges. The text is a bit clunky and obvious in places and not easy to read aloud. But, it is a great book to share with a group and, so long as it is not too big, to encourage finding the birds as their numbers get smaller. An app is also available.