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Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Delightful book for youngsters introduces the Hadeda. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Hagedash the Hadeda, written by Charles de Villiers and illustrated by Claire Norden, is a delightful book for youngsters introducing the fascinating hadeda ibis (Bostrychia hagedash).

The large and ungainly hadeda with its iridescent wings that change colour according to how they catch the light, is found in Sub-Saharan Africa frequenting most grassy areas or parks. 

Many gardens – like mine – play host to their visits when they arrive with a large flurry of wings and proceed to flap about, pecking for grubs, frolicking on the swimming pool steps and generally letting forth their raucous calls which, according to the volume, appear to be aimed at another bird in a different neighbourhood!

Charles de Villiers’s text will delight young and active minds as it is written in humorous verse. This is an interesting aspect of someone who is a published science writer and works in computer systems design.

Claire Norden has a proven track record in illustrating children's books and her clear drawings of the bird make it easily recognisable. The front cover features Hagedash in full cry, with a little mole covering its ears against the racket and a butterfly zooming away at speed!

While weaving the story around a female hadeda who eventually finds a mate and produces chicks, important information is given on the habits of this species, how and where they make their nests.

Young readers will soon be imitating the bird’s call as the book describes it - “Ha-Ha-Ha-De-Da”! The book comes with a full page of stickers to encourage further engagement with the story.

Hagedash the Hadeda is published by Struik Nature in softcover. ISBN: 9781775841814 Recommended Retail Price R80. – Caroline Smart

The book is also available in Afrikaans as Hagedash die Hadeda ISBN 9781775841906