My favourite NZ books – Tina Matthews

My favorite NZ picture book at the moment is Herbert the Brave Sea Dog. It’s a true story about a dog that gets lost at sea and then found, still paddling, 30 hours later. If you didn’t know it was true you wouldn’t believe it possible that Herbert could keep swimming and Tim, his young owner, would keep looking for such a long, long time. The story is beautifully told and you can feel how gutted everyone is when Herbert is found to be missing and how elated everyone is when he is found alive. You feel the same.  I’ve loved Robyn Belton’s pictures ever since she did Greedy Cat with Joy Cowley, more than 20 years ago, and when I read Herbert in a shop in Sydney last year I got goose-bumps and bought the book straight away. It’s a great book to read if you’re feeling glum because it reminds you not to give up hope.

I think Under the Mountain by Maurice Gee is a great NZ book too. Everyone knows the story so I won’t retell it (and if you don’t, you really ought to read it!). I clearly remember reading it to my children and I think we were all as excited and scared and delighted as each other. The next time I went to Auckland those extinct volcanoes seemed very menacing indeed. And although the evil Wilberforces are eventually defeated in the book, I think they will be firmly stuck in my mind for the rest of my life.

Tina Matthews

Read some books written by Tina Matthews

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