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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Where is it in town? by Ned Barraud

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Ned Barraud, popular illustrator and writer of wildlife books, has created this new Look and Find book in which children are invited to join him on an exciting wildlife hunt.

Each double page spread is dedicated to a different urban environment. He starts in the garden and the garden shed. And then moves further afield to a creek, the sea below the wharf, a native reserve, the botanic gardens, and the countryside on the edge of the town.

His colourful detailed background illustrations evoke many different moods, from a cheerful sunny garden where brightly coloured flowers grow in abundance amongst the long grass, to the mysterious inky blues of a night garden, a spooky garden shed, and a tranquil pond in the botanical gardens.

In some of his pictures he cleverly splits some of his backgrounds in half showing what is happening above and below the surface. In the creek a dragonfly hovers above the water, while īnanga, giant kōkupu, kōura and other creatures dwell below.

One of my favourite pictures is of a flock of sheep crossing a country road at the edge of the town. It is such an iconic New Zealand image. There are also many birds to spot in this picture. On closer examination though it is not quite the peaceful rural scene we might have imagined as there is a stoat who has captured a bird lurking beside the road. Ned Barraud has not shied away from including other predators, such a rats and weasels, in some of his other pictures opening up opportunities to talk about the great harm they are causing to our wildlife and the need to eradicate them.

As in all his books he has taken great care to create accurate realistic illustrations so that children can learn to recognize the multitude of creatures he has included, the birds, mammals, fish, insects, worms, and fungi, if they encounter them in the real world.

Younger children will enjoy just looking and finding them, but for older children, who want to know more, there is also a detailed glossary with extra information about many of the creatures which can be found in this book.

There is so much to enjoy and learn in Where is it in Town for both preschoolers and primary schoolchildren. It is also bound to arouse their curiosity and make them enthusiastic about joining in a hunt to spot these creatures in the real world. Whether it is fossicking amongst the leaf litter in the garden at home for slugs, worms, and skinks, or searching for birds, fungi and beetles in a native reserve, there is lots of fun to be had! It deserves a place on every family bookshelf.

Reviewer: Lyn Potter

Potton & Burton


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