Showing posts with label non-fiction book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label non-fiction book. 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.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Aliens, Ghosts and Vanishings

Aliens, Ghosts and Vanishings by Stella Tarakson, illustrated by Richard Morden (Penguin Random House) HB RRP $27.99
ISBN 97819252324969

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This non-fiction book for readers aged 9 to 13 years is subtitled ‘Strange and Possibly True Australian Stories.’ A durable publication on good quality paper, its contents pages list has six sub-headings which read as follows: Mythical Creatures, Mysterious Locations, Haunted Places, UFO Sightings, Bizarre Disappearances and Strange Happenings with seven or eight articles in each. For an Australian child interested in exploring the strange and unusual in his or her country, there are certainly some very weird stories.

Most adults would know about events such as the disappearances of Prime Minister Harold Holt and baby Azaria, the death of Phar Lap and of Lasseter’s Reef. But some of the stories in this book might be unfamiliar. These include the story of the disappearance of the steamship SS Waratah with passengers and cargo between Australia and England in 1909 and the retrieval of ancient African coins on Marchinbar, a remote Australian island, far off Northern Territory’s coastline -- coins over 900 years old. In both stories – and most stories in the book – the author poses theoretical questions which would surely give readers pause to wonder. Is the name ‘Waratah’ a jinx? After all, numerous ships with this name have vanished over the years. Was it Portuguese or Kilwan sailors who brought the coins onto land? Or were the coins washed ashore following a shipwreck? Or, stranger still, can Africans, rather than Europeans or Asians, have been the first non-Indigenous people to visit Australia?

After each of the dozens of stories in Aliens, Ghosts and Vanishings (spontaneous combustion, abductions, UFOs, and more), there are break-out pages which provide extra information. The author has also included the many sources from her research which keen readers can follow up if they wish. There is also a fairly short glossary and credits for images. These images include black and white photos (such as the shower blocks from the supposedly haunted Sydney Quarantine Station, and a camel team sent out to search for Lassiter). The illustrator has also provided green images all throughout the book which appear to be some kind of print, perhaps lino, as well as line drawings, again in green. There is a green border around all of the 280 pages.

Most books of the strange and weird are presented to readers in much more attractive and dramatic and colourful formats. But for the child who has an interest in their country and its strange past, this book provides many hours of fascinating reading.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks

Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks by Gina Newton (NLA Publishing) PB RRP $29.99  ISBN 978 0 642 278883

Reviewed by Allison Paterson

From the author who brought us Blossom Possum comes an attractive addition for the shelves of books depicting our awesome Australian animals, this time an attractive and informative non-fiction book published by the National Library of Australia.

Marine biologist and zoologist, Dr Gina Newton, has drawn both on her own knowledge and the research and expertise of others, including the resources of the National Library, to create a visually appealing and well-designed book brimming with fascinating facts and fabulous photos.
The design is exceptional, being divided into seven habitats featuring 120 iconic animals from fifty selected national parks across Australia. 

Descriptions of the habitats commence each chapter and are supported by images of the included national parks within the habitat type. Next are details regarding the animals, including distribution, conversation status, interesting facts and striking images. The diversity of wildlife is clear as the animals have been chosen from the range of taxonomic groups.

Accessibility of information is well supported by a variety of colour-coded keys, diagrams, maps, break-out boxes and thorough indexing. The endpapers also provide a national park map which is useful for the reader. An error has been carefully camouflaged in the copy I have received by a sticky piece; it may prove tempting to the young reader to explore what lies beneath.

Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks is an excellent choice for young wildlife enthusiasts in the mid to upper Primary years and a useful addition to the school library with teacher notes also being available on the NLA website.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Our Stories: Protest in Australia

Our Stories: Protest in Australia by Sue Lawson (Walker Books)
PB RRP $ 17.99
ISBN 9781922244543

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Change and how it influenced the history of Australia is another title from the excellent Our Stories series. The various forms this change took, mainly through protest in one form or another against injustice of every kind, and in the name of democracy, are documented here. There are seventeen entries not including the Introduction, Conclusion, Glossary and Index.

The entries begin with the 1804 convict uprising known as the Castle Hill Rebellion, or The Battle of Vinegar Hill. The Rum Rebellion is followed by the miners’ revolt at the Eureka Stockade and end at the Saving Whales entry.

The rallies, strikes, and petitions against unjust laws cover the Shearer’s Strike, the Wave Hill Walk Off, Freedom Ride, Stolen Generation, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Mabo and Land Rights, Women’s Suffrage, Aboriginal Vote, conscientious objectors and the Vietnam War, and Sorry Day.

This is a compact history of change linked to major events. Its valuable resource material can be used at home and in class for the 8+ year age groups. The easy to follow presentation makes learning or refreshing any aspect of Australia’s significant history accessible, particularly that part which relates to social and political causes for change.

The pictures, posters and photographs that draw us back in time, are resourced from archival material from the major State libraries around Australia. This series can be collected, and referred to time and again.