How to Mend a Kea by Janet Hunt, Massey University Press
This is subtitled + other fabulous fix-it tales from Wildbase Hospital. The subtitle provokes curiosity, but before you reach that stage your gaze is captured by the cover photo showing the shiny eye and hooked beak of a towel-wrapped kea. If you’re like me, you can’t resist the challenge of the bird’s gaze. You must know more!
The book is arranged in four parts: Part 1 introduces the Wildbase Hospital and its staff; Part 2 follows the history of Kea (aka Patient #78129); Part 3 focuses on a variety of case histories (eg. de-oiling, mending broken bones, fattening up after near-starvation, etc); and the last part shows photos of more patients being treated, plus a section headed How to Put Wildbase Out of Business!
It’s an attractive book with excellent design, and its sturdy pages give it a feel-good quality. The friendly easy-to-read text tells the actual stories, but there are also numerous colour photos, along with interesting fact boxes. Also a Contents page and an Index.
It makes a great present for thoughtful young readers who care about our native wildlife (I gave a copy to a 10-year-old and another to a 7-year-old who’s an advanced reader). Needless to say, it’s a recommended purchase for primary school and intermediate school libraries, and I can even see it on the shelves in secondary school libraries.
ISBN 978 0 9941407 1 5
RRP $27.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman