Whiti: Colossal Squid of the Deep by Victoria Cleal, Illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White
I’ve noticed a recent trend for lush, non-fiction picture books aimed at the 7-11 age range - and I like it.
With its entertaining yet informative text, clean design and skilful, mesmerising illustrations (complete with fold-outs of underwater scenes) Whiti is an excellent addition to the cluster - in fact, it’s a masterclass in how to do it right.
The prose is engaging right from the outset, speaking directly to the reader, putting them in the driving seat by pretending they’ve travelled down to chilly Antarctica to specifically to spot a colossal squid.
This meaty tome contains a fascinating array of facts about the eponymous squid from its time as a ngū (baby) as it avoids predators, grows to a wheke (adult squid) and dies after spawning her eggs. You’ll also discover the other creatures she shares the moana with - and her close relations. (Which is bigger - a colossal squid or a giant squid?)
An essential accompaniment to the lauded Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher.
Reviewer: Stacey Anyan