Kete Books ~ Of the 80 different species of whale in the world, 34 are known to visit or live in our waters and Hauraki Broo focuses on one such species, a baleen whale called the Bryde’s whale. Those like the humpback, sperm, blue and even the right whale are types that most New Zealanders would have heard of but the Bryde’s whale, not so much, even though they are one of the most commonly seen.
Even how you say the name is a bit of an enigma. ‘Bryde’s’ is not pronounced ‘brides’ but ‘broo-dus’ as in ‘to brew beer or tea.’ It is, in fact, surprising that the whale has not been renamed since the origins stretch back to the early 1900s and the Norwegian Johan Bryde who built the first whaling stations in South Africa where whales like the Bryde’s were slaughtered.
The Aotearoa branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF-New Zealand, instigated a children’s book, with a Bryde’s Whale in the starring role, to highlight the plight of marine animals living in the Hauraki Gulf. The resulting book, Hauraki Broo and the Māori language edition, Ngā Purū o Hauraki, were released at the ‘o-fish-al’ launch of WWF Whale Tales 2022 (more on that at the end of this review).
While Slade Robinson is the author/ illustrator of over 60 children’s books, including the acclaimed Muddle & Mo and The Little Kiwi series, this is her first book about a whale. Hauraki Broo gently teaches without preaching by touching on the negative impacts facing whales in the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana making it a great starting point to explore environmental issues affecting other marine life.
Educators will love to have the book in their libraries especially as the text cleverly incorporates features popular with young children, including the counting of animals and phrase repetition.
About the Kiwi author
Nikki Slade Robinson is an award-winning author and illustrator of over sixty children’s books and readers, many for Duck Creek Press including the Muddle & Mo series and The Little Kiwi series. Find out more on her profile page.