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Book reviews: February 2024

2 min read
Book reviews: February 2024

Pick of the month

Book reviews: February 2024

Tongariro National Park: An artist’s field guide
Desmond Covey
Potton and Burton
$39.99
Reviewed by Tony Orman

Whanganui-ite Desmond Bovey loves the Tongariro National Park, so when he returned to New Zealand after 30 years in France, he revisited the area with a sketchbook and painting easel. His superb and charming artwork along with his skilled writing features in this book focussed on the vegetation, landscapes, insects, birds, and animals that inhabit the park.

The dust jacket describes the book as exquisite. Indeed, it is. At the bookshop price, it’s a terrific book to buy. It depicts the Tongariro National Park in a different light – as a place of its own unique beauty and wildlife. With 400 illustrations and an informative but accessible text, Bovey deconstructs the park’s amazing landscapes. Highly recommended.

More good reads

Book reviews: February 2024

The Writer’s Garden
Jackie Bennett, photography by Richard Hanson
Allen & Unwin
$75

The magical inspiration of gardens unfolds in delectable photographic glory in The Writer’s Garden – a fascinating visual tour and exploration of the influence of gardens on literary greats such as Jane Austen, Roald Dahl, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Burns, Leo Tolstoy, and many more. Author Jackie Bennett beautifully captures the essence of 28 spectacular writer’s gardens, most of which are still open to the public, offering a look at how these gardens influenced some of the world’s greatest and most memorable authors. It’s a dreamy meander into the inspiration behind beloved classics, such as Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Garden, and James & The Giant Peach.

Book reviews: February 2024

A Solid Handshake
Alistair McIntyre
Self-published
$45

Having the right attitude is underpinned by a solid handshake and looking directly at that person, according to Alistair McIntyre. The ex-contractor/entrepreneur behind the popular Doug the Digger kids’ books takes us on his backstory as a stock agent, ag contractor, civil contractor, and transport operator. A workplace accident changed everything and saw his life vector off in numerous directions but primarily encouraging youth to enter the civil construction industry. Part life story, part life lessons, it’s easy to see why Alistair has become an industry icon and deserving life member of Civil Construction New Zealand.

Book reviews: February 2024

Chugga Tugga Tugboat
Sally Sutton, illustrations
by Sarah Wilkins
Penguin Random House
$21

Aucklander Sally Sutton has been writing picture books, children’s novels, and plays for two decades and her latest book – a gorgeous companion to Crane Guy – is aimed at young readers, aged 2–6. Teamed with Sarah Wilkins’ stunning illustrations, Chugga Tugga Tugboat is a beautiful picture book filled with life, colour, and bouncy rhymes.

It’s perfect for preschoolers fascinated with boats and ships, who will love exploring the port and water scenes as they spend the day with a busy tugaboat. There are cruise ships, tankers, yachts, barges, and more.

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