One of the best things about my job is that I come across loads of people who really love what they do. I mean really love it. And when someone is hugely enthusiastic, knows tonnes of fascinating stuff and can talk about it in a captivating way, it’s pure gold. Liv Sisson brings all of this to her pet topic in this book, in which she introduces some of the most charismatic, delicious, shocking and useful fungi that live in Aotearoa and explains exactly what fungi are, how to find them and, crucially for those who want to forage mushrooms to eat, how to identify them (spoiler alert, there are fungi in Aotearoa that can kill you). I expected I’d flick through the early parts before going to the edible mushroom chapter, but no, I found myself fascinated: who wouldn’t be by fungi with names as thrilling as lemon disco, orange ping pong bat, hedgehog jellies, pixie’s parasols, pretzel slime mould and dog vomit. Minutely detailed photos by Paula Vigus make the book not only intriguing and entertaining but beautiful, too. Liv says the fungi of Aotearoa are fascinating, freaky and fantastical: she tells us of a powdery white fungus that hunts bugs; a basket-shaped species that can move around; a lichen named after Jacinda Ardern; a fungus that glows in the dark; and lilac and blue stunners evolved to attract moas (we know ’cos someone examined fossils of moa poo, now that’s a job…). TRACY WHITMEY