Remarkable Animal Stories by Maria Gill
Twenty-eight stories inspired by the heartwarming, and at times hilarious, antics of animals on both sides of the Tasman, Remarkable Animal Stories is a fascinating and informative book.
Author Maria Gill profiles Charisma the champion horse, Moko the dolphin, Kahurangi the talking kōkako and Paddles the Prime Minister's cat, alongside a veritable zoo of other creatures big and small.
Gill includes the stories of many instantly-recognisable New Zealand animals, but also that of creatures in Australia. From astounding animals - including a swimming cat - to those dedicated to conservation - including a koala detecting dog - there's an animal for everyone to fall in love with.
Gill is a former primary school teacher, and trained as a journalist, and these skills are evident. Her text is accessible - she knows how to make non-fiction both informative and entertaining.
The book also includes interesting facts and information about the animals, wildlife hospitals and sanctuaries, as well as a well-researched bibliography and links for further information.
Her stories are accompanied by illustrations by Emma Lovegrove. Her passion and love of the natural world is evident, with detailed yet playful illustrations. There's plenty to spot within the pages - from Paddles tweeting, to a cheeky kea's collection of clothing. Lovegrove doesn't just illustrate the animals, she creates intricate landscapes and settings, providing lots of context for readers. Her illustrations are also accompanied by photographs of each animal.
Animal lovers both young and old will adore this book, which celebrates some astonishing animals and their feats. Gill and Lovegrove have created an intriguing, educational and fun book that celebrates our feathered, furred and scaled animal friends.
Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell
Scholastic, RRP $24.99