What Happened to the Moa by Ned Barraud
Spurred on by the discovery of moa print in a Central Otago riverbed in 2019, author Ned Barraud set himself the task of researching our legendary extinct bird.
For accuracy Barraud sought expert advice from Professor Trevor Worthy and Dr Mike Dickison, both of whom gave him valuable feedback through the writing and drawing process. The result is this beautifully illustrated and instructive book, which brings the moa back to life in all its glory.
What Happened to the Moa is accessible and distils research into a comprehensible narrative for younger readers. It is packed full of facts, but written in a way that it's not a boring textbook. Barraud is experienced with non-fiction children's books, and this shines in What Happened to the Moa. He uses simple, everyday language in telling the story, and makes sure unknown words that younger readers might not be aware of, middens for example, are understood in the simplest way possible. The accessible language makes it a great book for independent readers too.
Barraud expands on his research areas, adding in factoids not only about moa but about other New Zealand flora and fauna. The Haast's eagle, Eyles' harrier and the horoeka (lancewood) are all explored through their relationship with the moa.
Barraud's detailed and realistic illustrations add to the story, and my little readers loved the comparison drawings, making the size and scale of the moa instantly recognisable against items in their lives.
The book is available in both paperback and hardback, making it a great resource to keep for years to come.
There is very little accessible information for the younger generation about these magnificent birds. Until now. Barraud has tackled a challenging, complex and intriguing story with huge success.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell
Potton & Burton, RRP $19.99