A IS FOR AOTEAROA
by Diane Newcombe, illustrated by Melissa Anderson Scott
This innovative picture book celebrates many of New Zealand's famous places. Using an A to Z alphabet format, each new location has a lift-up flap, with clues to the place illustrated. Some locations are instantly recognisable, while others are quite tricky to guess.
Girl and Bird are the main characters who introduce the mystery places the clues reveal. Each letter of the alphabet showcases a different town or city with distinct historical, cultural, or geographical importance. A rolled scroll shows the letter for the next location to draw readers to the following page. The map accompanying 'X marks the spot' ensures that all the places are discovered.
It's a generous-sized book with attractive end papers, a soft cover with quality gatefolds, and stand-out design features. There's a great amount of detail in each illustration that invites close inspection and discussion about the locations. Additional on the Solutions page at the back of the book gives a useful synopsis of each highlighted area.
Travellers, teachers, students, and parents will enjoy this creative approach to exploring New Zealand from North Cape to Stewart Island. It's a fun concept, rather like a mystery trail ride.
Reviewed by Jean Bennett