Book Review: Why is that Lake so Blue? by Simon Pollard

Available in bookshops nationwide. 

cv_whay_is_that_lake_so_blue.jpgIt is fascinating to read that it is rock flour which gives some of the South Island lakes such as Pukaki and Tekapo their brilliant aquamarine colour in a new book by Simon Pollard. He explains, ‘as glaciers move down the mountains they grind the rocks beneath them. This grinding can turn the rock into a fine dust -rock or glacier flour….. Because it reflects light, the rock flour in the water makes the lake look extremely blue.’

The 130 page volume Why is That Lake So Blue?, published by Te Papa Press is divided into eight chapters all beginning with a question which the author sets out to answer, with a variety of methods such a text, photographs and maps, as well as small pop ups which will be sure to capture children’s interest.

Pollard has succeeded in producing an entertaining and informative children’s guide to New Zealand’s natural world and his passion for the topic shows through in his discussions which are written for 9 to 12-year-olds. However younger children would find lots to interest them as well, with an adult alongside them to assist with the text.

At the rear of the book the question is asked, ‘What can you do to help keep Aotearoa New Zealand magic? Children are directed to check out the Kiwi Conservation Club Hakuturi Toa and conservation activities on the Department of Conservation website, to see how they can ‘keep the magic alive.’

There is also a couple of pages of trickier words which the author has provided excellent explanations, titled ‘what does that word mean?’, to help the children  understand the meaning where it is included in the book. The map of New Zealand is an ideal reference for children to find where a particular topic is located in the country.

Simon Pollard has written a number of children’s books in New Zealand and the United States and he has twice won the Elsie Locke non –fiction book of the year, while it was within the LIANZA awards.

I love this book and have picked it up a number of times over the last month to browse the colourful pages. I wish I had had access to this publication when I was at school, and I am sure it will be a valuable asset to any school or home library.

Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh

Why is That Lake so Blue?
by Simon Pollard
Published by Te Papa Press
ISBN 9780994146014

Book Review: The Genius of Bugs, by Simon Pollard

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_genius_of_booksImagine you are a bug living in a bug world, where a blade of grass is as tall as a tree! All around you are other bugs with secret weapons on search and destroy missions. Lurking behind every leaf are mini-masters of disguise waiting to catch you out.

Bugs have been on earth for almost 400 million years. They were here before the dinosaurs and are still here, 65 million years after dinosaurs became extinct. What these critters do is really clever. The genius of bugs is revealed through their use of weapons, feats of engineering, scams and deceptions, and incredible teamwork.

This is a great book to introduce children to the magic of bugs. The use of in-built weapons by the Bombardier beetle, the marvel of miniature engineering of the Dragonfly and how a Portia jumping spider uses its exceptional intelligence to hunt other spiders.

I read this book with 5 ½-year-old Abby. We pored over the pages with her exclaiming ‘ooh yuk’a lot, but fascinated all the same. Afterwards, we took her magnifying glass outside with her net and bug catcher to see what we could find. We found a fine collection of moths, flies, spiders and snails, examined them at length and finally released them back into the wild.

This is a great book with lots of information and facts about bugs. It was great to see a page dedicated to genius bugs from New Zealand, and overall this is a great book for the aspiring biologist.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

The Genius of Bugs
by Simon Pollard
Published by Te Papa Press
ISBN 9780994136213