Review Blog

Sep 30 2010

Sensational survivors, an illustrated guide to New Zealand's remarkable wildlife by Sandra Morris

cover image

Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 978 1 921150 66 1.
Highly recommended. This beautifully illustrated book is a stunner. From a user's perspective, there is a friendly Contents page, a wonderfully informative Glossary, a packed Index, and References to more books and web sites at the end. Any middle school researcher will find this book inviting and easy to use.
The information is straightforward, easy to access and readable, put into small enough paragraphs to make the take up of information a pleasure and with enough headings and sub headings to make the information easily accessible. At first we are shown the Echoes of Gondwanaland, employing an easy to follow time line of the events over the last 500 million years, leading to the animals found in New Zealand today. Over the page is a double page spread of the New arrivals, those animals that have arrived in the last century or so, then onto information about Ancient survivors. Each double page spread gives more information told in an easily digested way and with some humour.
And on we go, finding out about the long journeys flown by some birds, the food they eat, how they care for their offspring and so on. All interesting, informative and told with detail but not overloaded scientific fact. I found the pages on those animals which have disappeared, Gone forever, cheerless, as will the readers, but this is balanced with the wonderful pages at the end, Helping hand, showing the young readers how they can help these animals survive. I found this book a pleasure to read, hold and look at. I read it from cover to cover and then turned to the front and began again, this time looking more closely at the illustrations. The beautiful water coloured pictures are stunning and take this book to a level beyond most books of this nature.
Fran Knight

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