12 Huia Birds
by Julian Stokoe
with illustrations by Stacy Eyles
12 Huia Birds tells a sad history of Aotearoa through the dwindling into extinction of our native huia bird.
As their numbers count down, the story is told in lush, colourful illustrations and verse, with sometimes flighty rhythm and rhyme, and lovely, truly emotive imagery.
The mood, tone and light are marvellously captured in the pictures and there are standout descriptions in the text like:
4 huia birds
flee to the misty hills.
Soft flute songs of loss and sadness
warble from their bills.
The structure of counting down the poor huia page by page, along with the visual and described threats brought by humans, animals and progress, really brings their extinction home and is a good reminder in the world today.
The accompanying app (free for download on both Apple and Android devices) is a gorgeous addition. It's wonderfully illustrated with lots of interesting huia facts, visuals and sounds and even offers three versions of a memory game.
This hardback picture book is a special way to encourage New Zealand children to talk about conservation and the stories of our past, and to honour the huia with an uplifting ending to their tragic tale.
Author: Julian Stokoe
Illustrator: Stacy Eyles
Publisher: Oratia Books