Showing posts with label Australia Illustrated. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia Illustrated. Show all posts

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Australia Illustrated


Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney (EK Books) PB RRP $32.99 ISBN: 9781925335880

By Anne Helen Donnelly

The book starts out with three adjectives to aptly describe our nation: big, beautiful and diverse. The messages in this book are primarily conveyed through bright and quirky illustrations. It lists all things uniquely Australian, and all the things we love about our home, from a child’s focus.

After the bold introductory statement, the book goes onto show native and endangered Australian animals, iconic and bush foods, precious rocks, sport we love and play, swim wear, slang (one of my favourite pages, as after 38 years in Australia, I’m proud to say I am familiar with all of them), various weather around our continent and famous Aussies.  

Each state is then explored, starting with New South Wales. There are landmarks, popular attractions, famous eats and all things each state is best known for and their pride and joys. One of my favourite pages is the Great Barrier Reef page, with different schools of stunning fish intermingling – just like the real thing!

An engaging visual reference guide to all things Australian. Great for natives as well as those wanting to take a glimpse into our culture. Recommended for ages 4 – 8 year olds.


Sunday, 29 January 2017

Australia Illustrated

Australia Illustrated written and illustrated by Tania McCartney (EK Books)
HB RRP $29.99   ISBN 979-1-925335-21-7
Reviewed by Elizabeth Vercoe

A gorgeous textured hardcover book, Australia Illustrated is ‘the ultimate visual reference guide to all things Aussie,’ from award-winning author Tania McCartney.
My review copy has been thumbed through and appreciated by teens and toddlers alike. It’s clever, funny and terribly engaging. Special mention must be made of the list of Aussie slang words which beg to be spoken aloud.  

This non-fiction picture book will appeal to the child in everyone. It’s a glorious mish-mash of facts, figures and curiosities beautifully wrapped with the ribbon of McCartney’s distinctive, colourful and endlessly fascinating illustration style. We are told that the pictures are made using watercolour, gouache, ink, mono-printing, digital art and filters. The overall design is colourful and dynamic, cheerfully whisking the reader from one idea to the next. 

There is so much in this book to love. And to ponder. It’s playful and whimsical – with the author’s enjoyment eminently apparent in textural images and visual stories. The pictures cleverly accentuate the text in some places and work as stand-alone observations in others.

I particularly enjoy being made to work a little. The ideas, images, fonts, layout, cultural icons, maps and events are laid out with charming appeal and quirky connections. Although there are predictable ‘patterns’ of structure, within these the surprises are endless. It’s delightful for instance, to discover (because readers of this book will make discoveries) that the icons which open each chapter, are cobbled together from an array of Australiana. The opera house has been constructed from chook feathers, for instance. The Harbour Bridge from coat hangers. And I’ll leave the big merino as a special surprise.

A picture-book that transcends traditional notions of age, gender and reading ability, I suspect that like the icons represented in its pages, Australia Illustrated will be celebrated for a long time to come.


Recently I made the bold claim that McCartney is well on the way to being a goddess of Australian children’s literature. This offering just about clinches the deal.