Whose Beak is This? by Gillian Candler & Illustrated by Fraser Williamson

Whose Beak is This? is a non-fiction picture book for children aged 3-6 that teaches children how to recognise New Zealand’s native birds. Instead of simply presenting the information about each of the eleven featured birds, the book is structured as a guessing game where kids guess the animal after seeing a close up picture of only their beaks. Next the bird is revealed, along with some simple facts about each bird. 

The idea is that Whose Beak is This? teaches children to be observant and helps them remember each bird by its beak – which is an important part of understanding the bird, as it gives a clue to the kind of food they eat and how they gather it. All of New Zealand’s favourite birds are here, from Kiwi’s to Toroa’s (Royal albatrosses) and each is named in Maori and English, with an emphasis on the Maori name as the first and more correct name. 

Writer Gillian Candler has a passion for conservation, and has written other award winning non-fiction books for children. Her background working in educational children’s publishing means she knows how to strike the right balance between interest and fact. 

The birds are attractively illustrated by artist/illustrator Fraser Williamson, who has illustrated other children’s books and also paints. 

The book is striving to be fun and educational, a difficult ground for non-fiction books for young readers. But the format and the engaging illustrations mean that Whose Beak is This? would be an excellent addition to any new Zealand child’s bookshelf.

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TITLE: Whose Beak is This?
AUTHOR(S): Gillian Candler
ILLUSTRATOR: Fraser Williamson
PUBLISHER: Potton & Burton
RRP: $14.99
ISBN: 9781927213643

Heidi North-Bailey Formerly working in publishing in London, Heidi is now a freelance editor and writer based in Auckland. A graduate of the Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University and The Creative Hub, Heidi also has a first class Honours Degree in Screenwriting and Directing from The University of Auckland, Heidi is passionate about good storytelling across genres and loves reading, especially literary and children’s fiction. When not being kept busy as a new mum, Heidi tinkers with poetry and is chipping away at a novel.

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