Gunson, Dave

Gunson, Dave

Information

residence
Auckland

In Brief

Dave Gunson is a freelance illustrator, designer, and author. He has published numerous books for children and young adults, both fiction and non-fiction. His interest in nature and wildlife is clearly reflected throughout his works. He has received many awards and prizes, and The Natural World of New Zealand (1998), written by Gerard Hutching and contributed to by Gunson, won the 1998 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gunson, Dave is a freelance illustrator, designer, and author.

Dave Gunson grew up in Liverpool, England and arrived in New Zealand in the late sixties. In 1975, he left his job at a commercial design company to work for himself. Since then, Gunson has published over 100 books and produced designs and illustrations for exhibitions, posters, wallcharts, and even national and international postage stamps. His inspiration from nature and wildlife is clearly reflected throughout his works.

The Natural World of New Zealand (Viking, 1998), written by Gerard Hutching and contributed to by Gunson, won the 1998 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Which New Zealand Bird? (Penguin, 2001), written by Andrew Crowe, was a ‘Notable Book’ in the 2002 Children's Literature Foundation of New Zealand (Storylines) list. It was also a finalist in the 2002 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and the 2002 Montana Book Awards.

Natures Alphabet (Penguin 1998), written by Andrew Crowe, was also a finalist in the 1999 New Zealand Post Book Awards. Wildlife Stuff (Scholastic 1999) was a Children's Literature Foundation of New Zealand 'Notable Book'.

Dave Gunson’s New Zealand Wildlife (Penguin, 2004), was a finalist in the 2005 Book Publishers Association of New Zealand (BPANZ) Design Awards, for best use of illustration.

Gunson’s book, The Life and Times of the Giant Kauri (Reed, 2005) was lauded by Trevor Agnew: ‘Dave Gunson’s work is always of the highest quality but The Life and Times of the Giant Kauri amazed me. His text and illustrations come together magnificently to show the four thousand year life span of a giant kauri, Kairaru.’ (Magpies, Vol 17:5, November 2002). This book was also a Children's Literature Foundation 'Notable Book'.

A Mini Guide to the Identification of New Zealand’s Land Birds (Penguin, 2007), written by Andrew Crowe and illustrated by Gunson, was nominated in the Non-Fiction section of the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2008.

The Ugly Hatchling, written by Yvonne Morrison and illustrated by Dave Gunson, was published in 2009 by Scholastic.

Gunson was the author and illustrator of Ducky, published by Puffin in 2010. Eventually bought by a family with young boys, Ducky’s early life is full of fun and excitement until the boys grow up and she is left all alone and sadly neglected on the bathroom shelf. But like all good fairytales, Ducky’s life has a happy ending.

Gunsons books include:

Fiction
Warriors in the Temple (Mandarin/Octopus, 1992)

Non-Fiction
Collins Guide to the New Zealand Seashore (Collins, 1983); Butterflies & Moths (Mobil NZ Nature Series, Reed, 1985); A Guide to the New Zealand Seashore (Viking Pacific, 1993); Which New Zealand Bird? written by Andrew Crowe (Penguin, 2001, listed as a 2002 Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book); Dave Gunson’s New Zealand Wildlife (Penguin, 2004); A Mini Guide to the Identification of New Zealand’s Land Birds written by Andrew Crowe (Penguin, 2007)

Children’s Fiction
Stanley and the Dress-up Party (Scholastic, 1998); Stanley to the Rescue (Scholastic, 1998); Stanley at the Seaside (Scholastic, 1998); Stanley in the Toyshop (Scholastic, 1998); Stanley’s Teddy Bear (Scholastic, 1998); How the Kiwi Lost its Wings written by Alwyn Owen (Reed, 2002); Summer of Blaze written by Dawn MacMillan (Reed, 2003); Kiwi of the Great Forest (Reed, 2003); Coming Home written by Dawn Macmillan (Reed, 2004); Ratso written by Lorraine Orman (Puffin/Kiwi Bites, 2005); My Kiwi written by John Lockyer (Reed, 2005); Pandora’s Potato Romp written by Lucy Davey (Scholastic, 2005); Pancake Attack! written by Dawn Macmillan (Scholastic, 2006); Fluff Helps Out written by Tina Shaw (Puffin/Kiwi Bites, 2006); Wellington Warthog written by Sheila Forbes (Scholastic, 2006); Santa and the Reindeer written by Maria Farrer (Scholastic, 2006); Will and Woof written by Tanya Warren (Scholastic, 2006); Muddletopia written by Kyle Mewburn (Puffin/Kiwi Bites, 2007); Mr Muggs, The Library Cat (Scholastic, 2008); Ant's Pants written by Kyle Mewburn (Scholastic, 2008); The Ugly Hatchling written by Yvonne Morrison (Scholastic, 2009); and Ducky (Puffin, 2009).

Children’s Non-Fiction

The Super Sticker Book of New Zealand Wildlife (Puffin, 1998); Nature’s Alphabet written by Andrew Crowe (Puffin, 1998); Wildlife Stuff (Scholastic, 1999); The Super Sticker Book of New Zealand Dinasaurs (Puffin, 2000); The Life and Times of the Giant Kauri (Reed, 2002); Little Kiwi 123 (Reed, 2003); Little Kiwi Colours (Reed, 2003); Little Kiwi Shapes (Reed, 2003); Little Kiwi ABC (Reed, 2003); Kiwi One! Two! Three! (Reed, 2003); Lost Worlds of Aotearoa (Random House, 2005); 5 Kiwi in a Kombi (Reed, 2005); Crazy Kiwi Tops and Tails written by Sally Sutton (Puffin, 2006); All about New Zealand Birds (New Holland, 2008); New Zealand Birds to Read, Colour and Keep (New Holland, 2008); All About New Zealand Insects (New Holland, 2009); All About New Zealand Plants (New Holland, 2009).

WRITERS IN SCHOOLS INFORMATION

Dave Gunson is available to speak to students as part of the Writers in Schools programme.

KAPAI: Kids' Authors Pictures and Information

General

Where do you live?
North Shore.

What books do you read?
Grown-up fiction and non-fiction.

Who is your favourite writer and why?
Clever writers like Martin Amis, Naipaul, Will Self…even Stephen King!

How do you think up your ideas?
Usually thinking about the ‘What if…?’ factor. Sometimes it leads to a good idea, sometime it doesn’t!

What is the best thing about being a writer?
Being able to write my own stories, and then illustrate them myself.

Primary School students

What sort of pets do you have?
Two cats.

What is your favourite colour?
Green.

What is your favourite food and why?
Chips with everything. (Only joking!).

What is your favourite movie?
Glen Garry, Glen Ross.

What is your favourite game?
Soccer! Liverpool FC! Go the reds!

How do you make books?
I let the publisher do that – I just write and illustrate.

Where do you go for holidays?
What’s a holiday?

What was the naughtiest thing you ever did at school?
Not telling!

Secondary School students

How did you get started?
Packed up my paid job (designer for commercial interiors), found a small office/studio to rent in Parnell and went looking for clients.

Who inspired you when you were getting started?
Nobody, really.

What advice would you give to an aspiring young writer?
Keep writing – the more you do, the better you’ll get!

Is it difficult to make a living writing in New Zealand?

Yes.

What were you like as a teenager? Tell us a story!

Like any other teenage, at various times I was spotty, clumsy, handsome, adventurous, loud, quiet…but I was in a decent band in Liverpool in the 1960s for a while!

MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS

Updated January 2017.