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Ariki and the Giant Shark Paperback – 3 May 2018
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"Ariki is an exotic heroine who easily wins the readers to her side: man and nature need not always be in competition. Her unusual gift for reading the stars and communicating with creatures of the sea brings a mythical quality to the Pacific-set tale that elevates it above realist coming of age stories, while Nicola Davies, a well-known zoologist as well as an author, does not shy away from thick description of the ocean world, or the threats posed to it by human intervention. Nicola Kinnear's illustrations, meanwhile, are generously scattered throughout the book, making this a visually attractive as well as an exciting, worthy read." * The Irish Times * "Ariki is a strong and independent heroine; a perfect role model for children everywhere." * BookTrust * "Nicola Davies is one of our finest writers for children about the natural world [...] This is an elegantly told story about difference and acceptance and standing up for what you believe in." * The Sunday Times Culture * "Nicola Davies is one of our finest writers for children about the natural world [...] This is an elegantly told story about difference and acceptance and standing up for what you believe in." * The Sunday Times Culture *
About the Author
Nicola Davies is an award-winning author whose many books for children include A First Book of Nature, A First Book of Animals, Tiny, Lots, The Promise, King of the Sky, Ice Bear, Big Blue Whale, Dolphin Baby, Just Ducks, Poo and the Heroes of the Wild series. She graduated in zoology, studied whales and bats and then worked for the BBC Natural History Unit. Nicola lives in Crickhowell, Wales. Visit Nicola at www.nicola-davies.com, or follow her on Twitter under the handle @nicolakidsbooks.
Nicola Kinnear is a children's illustrator, storyteller and part-time bookseller. Ariki and the Giant Shark will be her first fully illustrated title. Visit Nicola at nicolakinnear.com, or follow her on Twitter under the handle @Nicola_Ella.
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In this new short chapter book (142pp) from Nicola Davies we are introduced to the feisty and compassionate Ariki; a heroine of the Pacific Ocean, more at home diving through coral and swimming with the fish than playing on land with other children.
This is a wonderful story that educates as it entertains. As we have come to expect from the zoologist storyteller, Davies’ narrative is informative with descriptions of the reef, the wildlife and geography of the island rooting the story in fact. Helpful analogies allow us to picture the exotic creatures – my daughter particularly enjoyed the one about each shark’s tooth being as big as a man’s hand.
And so we learn about malu, nihui and the giant shark of the title, Wahine (a Hawaiian and Mãori word for woman); but we are never distracted from the absorbing tale of how Ariki strives to protect and shelter the creature that the majority of the island fears.
It is through this human story that we are given hope. Because when the adults are running scared, reaching for their spears and gathering armies of men, the children of the island are the ones who demonstrate true humanity and compassion.
Illustrations by Nicola Kinnear adorn the pages inside and out adding real character to the host of island inhabitants, lovingly framing the text and adding to the drama.
This is the first in a series for Ariki and we can’t wait to dive in to the next one!