NZ Book Month – Eel Dreaming

eeldreamingEel Dreaming, by Helen Taylor and Ben Brown

She paints, he writes, and together this husband and wife team produce beautiful books.

There are no snakes in New Zealand, but there are eels. Eel dreams of leaving his swampy swamp, and finding a cool clear swift running river instead. So he sets off with Pukeko to find one. They travel over mountain and waterfall and through forests, to rivers north and south and east and west, but they are already occupied, or not clear enough. So sadly, they head back home over Tussock hill, where a river of light flows down from the moon. And Eel slithers off into the sky.

A simple quest story, told at quiet pace, in meditative fashion. I enjoyed it enormously, as did my girls, who always seemed very reflective after reading it.

The pictures in this book are wonderful. They’re full of colour and shape and coil, but they are the glowing emeralds and blues and greys and browns of the South Island of New Zealand, along with the brilliant red of Pukeko beak and feet. The lines and shapes are clear and distinct, and very geometric. he lines and shapes are clear and distinct, and very geometric. The picture on the cover of the book is typical of the illustrations throughout – the lines and shapes intersect to create new images (good quality reproduction here). They are not just pictures to accompany the story; they are images that draw your eye, and make you reluctant to turn the page. The last page is glorious – koru swirls and straight lines of blue and green. No wonder we sighed with content each time we reached the end.


NZBMsmlI’m taking up Ele’s challenge, and blogging a book a day in October, which is New Zealand Book Month. All the books are by New Zealand authors.eeldreaming


2 responses to “NZ Book Month – Eel Dreaming

  1. Ah memories! I used to spend hours rowing or swimming in a cold South Island river, forever avoiding the tiny crabs that scuttled everywhere (as a small child, these were things of nightmares). And NEVER venturing upstream, past the bridge where the eels lived.

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