Sunday, February 5, 2012

Two new Non-fiction titles

Digging up the Past: Archaeology for the young and curious by David Veart (Auckland University Press)

Throughout this book we will follow the footprints left by the people who came before us to Aotearoa and explore some of the ways archaeologists have investigated this past foreign land. Sometimes the footprints of the past will be like those on Motutapu - clear and easy to see; and sometimes they will be a litt more difficult to sort out. Unusual things like dogs, rats and woodchips all contribute to painting a picture of this varnished world.

An excellent book (for young and old) who quietly think archaeology would be a fascinating career choice. Author David Veart takes us on that journey, looking over the shoulders of archaeologists as they dig up  moa eggs, find 600 year old footprints, the carved prow of a waka and other fascinating finds. You will read the remarkable stories of Polynesian sailors and pakeha sealers, Maori gardeners and Chinese storekeepers. He'll take you from Hawai'i to Antarctica, to look at things such as rubbish bags and roads. He says archaeologists study everything relating to humans - and he dwelves into many archaeological sites: on ice, mine bases, in volcanoes and sea beds, on farms, islands and in swamps and rivers. We learn about their methods, the tools they use and their terminology. It is an enjoyable read as well as extremely useful for any school project.

The author tells these tales in a conversational tone, using personal stories as anecdotes - making the subject more accessible for the Intermediate age and upwards reader.  The book is illustrated with many photographs, paintings and maps. He also recommends books and websites but left out the all-important index.

See inside 'Digging up the Past'
ISBN:  9781869404659  RRP $39.99

David Veart trained as an anthropologist, and works as a Department of Conservation historian and archaeologist. He is an expert on various local landmarks of historical or archaeological significance. David is well-known for his public guided walks of these areas, about which he has also written film scripts and narrated interpretative films. He is author of First Catch Your Weka: A Story of New Zealand Cooking (AUP, 2008) and Digging up the Past: Archaeology for the Young and Curious (AUP, 2011).

Happy Feet's Incredible Journey: The story of the world's most famous penguin (Penguin)

I'd been swimming for a very long time. I don't know how long, but it was getting hard to move my flippers. That's when I noticed I was close to land.
When I stepped out of the sea I saw the strangest place I'd ever seen. It wasn't like home, but I was so tired. I thought I might stay a while...

Told through the eyes of 'Happy Feet' the Emperor penguin who washed up on the shores of Peka Peka Beach on 20th June, 2011 from Antarctica.  We find out how he ate sand (probably mistaking it for ice), became sick and was taken to Wellington Zoo.  There we find out how they flushed the sand out of his stomach and throat; the attention he garnered from all over the world and how they looked after him until it was time to put him back into the sea.

The book has been produced in A4 picture book style with big print and lots of pictures.  Also included are photographs, fact boxes, and cartoon-like illustrations.  The author and illustrator are not mentioned so must have been written and illustrated by editors and designers inhouse.  I felt it was a shame they didn't employ an illustrator to draw the pictures. The text and design work are fine but the cut-and-paste penguin cartoon figures make the book like it has been done in a hurry, which it most likely was.  The publishers obviously wanted to get this book out as soon as possible, while the story was still news and fresh in the minds of people.  It is all for a good cause though - as all royalties will go to Forest & Bird's Places for Penguins programme.

ISBN:  9780143306924  RRP $19.99

No comments: