A bond between two best friends, Sophie Whittaker
19 March, 2021
Things that reel you in to reading a book: colourful images that relate to what it is about, readable and original fonts and a good cliffhanger blurb on the back. When I first laid eyes on this book I could tell that it would be interesting, about nature and a thriller. One of the things I like about the cover of Des Hunt’s novel is how the last two words are a different font and bigger than the other words which gives a clue to what this book is about. The picture on the back also gives a good idea: it has a sign saying ‘’Keep Your Dog on a Lead’’ nailed to a tree with a dead kiwi laying on the ground below which works in with the book’s title Search for a Kiwi Killer.
“He just had to run. Run from the fighting, the arguing, the yelling. Where, didn’t matter, as long as it was away from the shed, away from everybody, away from it all.”
Search for a Kiwi Killer is about a boy named Tom Smart who is always let down by his Dad, lives in a cabin in the forest and likes to run. When going for a run in the Waitangi Forest Tom finds a wounded dog who he names Buffy and who will eventually lead him to the answer of all the chaos happening in Kerikeri. Even though Des Hunt has made the book look like it’s based upon a hunting topic with the first chapter and the pictures it has a whole different feeling and message to it. When I read this book it told me so many different things about the characters and it showed me their inner feelings.
This novel shows how some kids who have divorced parents seem to learn different skills about how to look after themselves on their own and not rely on other people. Tom is an outstanding example of this. When his parents clashed with each other at home it had a lasting effect on his life and now whenever anyone argues he is overwhelmed by emotions.
Search for a Kiwi Killer is closely related to one of Stacy Gregg’s novels: Prince of Ponies, which was published in 2019. Both of the Australasian authors include texts that excel in telling readers about the friendships between animals and humans. The two stories are both told by someone other than the main character because they are describing what they are doing while using their name.
I like the way Des Hunt has been able to take the time to invent perfect names for each of the 17 chapters. One purpose of writing this book has been portrayed as the author’s love and respect for New Zealand’s native animals. At the end of the book Des Hunt adds a few pages of an author’s note to explain how we humans can help to keep kiwis in their natural habitat instead of in zoos or wildlife parks and how New Zealanders can try and surpass our goal of being predator free in 2050.
Overall, this read was a guessing game and while reading I kept changing my view on some of the characters. I recommend this book to people of all ages who like New Zealand-based stories and animals. Search for a Kiwi Killer teaches people about the special connection between Tom and Buffy and in my opinion is based upon the saying
“It never too late to do the right thing.”
Sophie Whittaker is a 12 year old student on the West Coast.