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T is for Tuatara

Crazy critters with feathers or scales
Some with claws, and many with tails
Some make you smile
Some fill you with dread
Beginning with A and ending with Z

Jo van Dam’s latest book – T is for Tuatara: Amazing animals from A to Z (PictureBook Publishing, 2021) – is a treat for new and existing fans of her quirky rhymes and catchy ditties.

Packed full of equally quirky animal characters, the book is a survey of some of the world’s more unusual animals – from aardvarks to zebu – all told in rhyme.

Building on the success of her popular Doggy Ditties from A to Z (Scholastic NZ, 2014), the book follows the same proven formula, combining fun poems with interesting animals, to engage young readers.

New Zealand favourites – kiwi, tuatara and wētā – feature in the poems, alongside more exotic species, such as gharial and numbats. A non-fiction section at the end, with information about the featured animals and tips for writing poetry, will ensure the book is popular with teachers, while offering more for enquiring children.

T is for Tuatara is a book designed to be dipped into, relished, and enjoyed again and again. From fluffy indri to squishy jellyfish, there is a wealth of animal alphabet magic for students, families, and teachers to draw on and enjoy, promising that this book too is set to become a firm kiwi favourite.

Softcover edition
32 pages full colour
24cm x 25cm portrait

Two book combo! Buy any two books from Deborah Hinde and pay only $6 P&P. Enter the coupon code DEB-TWO at checkout to receive this discount.


Reading age: 2-8 years

Written by Jo van Dam and illustrated by Deborah Hinde

Jo says that the book comes out of her own love of poetry, and her observations of how children enjoy and engage with rhyme in the classroom setting.

Jo says: “Everyone needs to learn the alphabet and there are many out there with standard examples for each letter. Focusing on weird and wonderful creatures offers children something a bit different. Some of the animals are very unusual, such as the gharial with the unfortunate nose, but there are some that we are more familiar, such as the emu … who knew they eat lizards? I hope the rhymes will make small people smile, that they will enjoy learning a bit about the amazing creatures around the world and might start playing with words and writing some poems of their own.”


Jo-van-Dam-author Meet Kiwi author Jo van Dam

Jo is the author of four books. Her first, Doggy Ditties from A to Z (Scholastic NZ, 2014), is a collection of canine rhymes, and was a finalist in the Children’s Choice Book Awards in 2014. The Adventures of Kaia the Kororā (commissioned by The Auckland War Memorial Museum, 2018) explores the waters of the Hauraki Gulf and beyond, with the help of a couple of little blue penguins. Her third book, The Whale and the Snapper (Scholastic NZ, 2017), was chosen by McDonalds to reprint in mini form as a gift in their Happy Meals, and was also reprinted for inclusion in the government funded education packs, sent into homes during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Jo is a primary school librarian for two Auckland schools, which she says is the most rewarding job in the world. She emigrated from England when she was ten years old, is married with two grown-up children and loves family, friends, cooking and dancing.

Find out more about Jo by visiting her author page.

Meet Kiwi illustrator Deborah Hinde Deborah Hinde

Deborah Hinde is an award-winning illustrator based in rural Waikato. She has illustrated over 80 books, 40 of them picture-books, including The Garden’s Secrets (Hamilton Gardens, 2020) and Moo and Moo and the Little Calf Too (Allen and Unwin, 2016). Deborah works both with established publishing houses and independent publishers, assisting with illustration, book design and publication management.

Find out more about Deborah and how to contact her by visiting her author / illustrator page.


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