Nature's Alphabet: A New Zealand Nature Trail by Andrew Crowe
Take a journey around New Zealand's wild places, through the alphabet, and seek out the curious and fascinating finds within our flora and fauna.
This entertaining, multi-level approach to reading and learning is designed to appeal to children with a wide range of interests and abilities.
After its first publication in 1998, Nature's Alphabet was shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards in 1999. It's been reprinted several times, but this time it includes additional te reo Māori content and has been redesigned for a new generation of readers.
Prolific nature history writer Andrew Crowe uses the alphabet to focus on one particular animal or plant commonly found in Aotearoa.
Additional plants are creatures are included on each page - for example while A is for albatross, ants crawl across the page while aihe leap out of the ocean background. The back page includes a list for readers to check what other flora and fauna they found, or missed.
The book is truly multi-level, the youngest readers can practice letter recognition and alphabet knowledge, while older readers can use it as a reference book for their own studies.
If you're doing a New Zealand nature book, there is only one illustrator to consider, Dave Gunson. His artwork captures the curious and fascinating natural world so beautifully and perfectly. The life-sized huhu beetle and booming bittern were particular favourites of ours.
Nature's Alphabet is a brilliant addition to any bookshelf, offering a unique combination of junior nature encyclopedia and alphabet book to readers of all ages.
Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell
Bateman Books, RRP $21.99