There are some wonderful books that have been published about New Zealand birds, especially Ben Brown and Helen Taylor’s picture books. There are very few, however, that are perfect for younger children and wonderful to read aloud. One Little Fantail by Anne Hunter and illustrated by Dave Gunson is one of those books that entertains and informs young children about New Zealand birds.
One Little Fantail is a collection of delightful rhymes that introduce children to a variety of our native birds. Anne Hunter’s rhyming text is a joy to read aloud and each poem rolls off your tongue. I love the way that Anne can describe so much about each bird’s characteristics in just eight lines. The short, rhyming text makes the book perfect for sharing with younger children, as they don’t get bogged down in detail. You could get children to pretend to be each bird, based on the description that Anne gives you of each one. For those inquisitive children, there are more interesting facts about each bird in the ‘Did you know…’ pages at the back of the book.
Each double page spread features a different bird, with their name in English and Maori. Dave Gunson’s realistic illustrations are stunning and he perfectly captures the characteristics of each bird. He captures the mischief of the Kea, the flitting of the Fantail, and the fierceness of the Kahu.
Book Design have done a brilliant job of designing One Little Fantail. I especially like the way that the names of the birds fade into the background, while also being quite prominent on the page, and the way that the sounds each bird makes stands out in bold lettering.
One Little Fantail is a book should be in every preschool and school around the country. Grab a copy and introduce your children to our magnificent native birds.