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 – 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.

Written by Jo van Dam and illustrated by Deborah Hinde

$19.99 incl. GST

5 in stock

Payments: Secure credit or debit card payment via Stripe, or make an online bank transfer. Shipping: $5.40 to $16.60 per order based on largest book size. Rural delivery $6.95 extra. Tracked courier delivery usually 1-2 days.  Returns and exchanges: See FAQs. Book stock availability: If this book is showing as “available on back-order”, we will order the book in for you. Delivery timing will vary from 1-4 weeks. Please check with us first if your order is urgent.


Reading age: 2-8 years

From the author Jo van Dam

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.”


Paula Green, NZ Poetry Box ~ “So few poetry books for children get published in Aotearoa! The arrival of a new one is a celebration day for me. Jo Van Dam’s previous book, Doggy Ditties from A to Z, gained many fans. Her new book assembles a collection of ditties that give life to “weird and wonderful creatures”. The animals include some I am not familiar with (from dugongs, to zebu to numbats) and some I am (from the kiwi, to rhinoceros, to skunks). Each page has fascinating facts as well as the poem. The exquisite illustrations add further layers of fascination.”

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

Find out more about Auckland author and school librarian Jo van Dam by visiting her author page.

Kiwi illustrator Deborah HindeDeborah Hinde

Find out more about award-winning illustrator Deborah Hinde by visiting her author / illustrator page.

Additional information

Weight200 g
Dimensions25 × 24 × .5 cm

Softcover edition

First published




Page count


Published by

PictureBook Publshing

1 review for T is for Tuatara

  1. Kate G

    From What Book Next?
    Have you ever heard of a Gharial? What about a Zebu? These are just two of the strange animals in T isT is for Tuatara Book Review Cover for Tuatara.

    There are some well knowns like the Hedgehog, Rhinoceros and Skunk, and also some kiwi critters like the Weta and and of course the Tuatara.

    What’s special about this Alphabet book is that each animal (on its own page) has its own poem, limerick or rhyme that tells the reader a bit about that animal.

    At the bottom of each page are some fascinating facts about that animal.

    THEN… At the back of the book is even more information about each animal.

    But wait! There’s even more!

    Read the full review https://whatbooknext.com/t-is-for-tuatara-amazing-animals-from-a-to-z-book-review/

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