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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

New Zealand's Endangered Dolphins by Maria Gill 

More than 100 years ago, the pahu (Hector's) and popoto (Māui) dolphins were so plentiful that beachgoers saw thousands of them around the coasts of both islands, up rivers and along estuaries. But now, they're endangered. 

New Zealand's Endangered Dolphins introduces children to these special creatures and what can be done to save them. This illustrated nonfiction book is extensively researched and author Maria Gill distills that information in an age-appropriate way. Each spread features a question about the dolphins, with Gill offering the answer perfectly pitched for primary-aged students. A handy 'dolphin dictionary' and further resources are included at the end of the book. 

The book is slightly let down by the font used, which seems a bit nit-picky. But font plays a subtle yet powerful role for readers. Unfortunately, the font used isn't the best for readability and, in this case, impacts the aesthetics. There are a few pages where younger readers may feel daunted by the sheer amount of text to process. 

I would have liked to have seen some photographs within the pages too, but there are maps and illustrations to help visual learners. Illustrator Marco Ivancic creates detailed and accurate pictures to sit alongside the text. His drawings are intricate yet clear, and help pull young readers into the page. For younger readers who aren't quite able to decode or understand Gill's text, there's plenty of information to be gathered from within the illustrations without reading the pages.

Gill's first picture book, The Last of Māui's Dolphins, was published 10 years ago. It's clear her love and passion for protecting these special dolphins is still as strong now as it was then. New Zealand's Endangered Dolphins will introduce the special mammals to a new generation. It is an essential resource for any school library or ocean lover.


Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

White Cloud Books


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