Rivertime – Trace Balla
Allen & Unwin
Hardback – 80 p.
Every now and then a book comes along and you just look at it amazed. This apparent picture book is really a graphic novel that recounts an extraordinary trip along the Glenelg River undertaken by a small boy and his Uncle Egg, as they observe the birdlife, people, country and all of nature.
From the magnificent end papers detailing the wildlife encountered to the beautiful illustrations (ink & colour pencils I believe) to the beautiful flow of action and pictures which echo the river’s meandering, this is just sumptuous.
Meeting many interesting people along their trip, Clancy and Uncle Egg find out more about the traditional owners of the lands through which they pass and encounter quirky characters. There is such a richness in this book and while beautiful in itself, lends itself perfectly to so many teaching points including maths, time, environmental issues and ecosystems, mapping, natural wildlife, Indigenous culture, literacy and more. The illustrations and format would be terrific springboards to storyboarding, art activities, illustrated journals and scientific diaries.
It is impossible to do this justice in a review – I strongly encourage you to add this title to your Primary level collection. Highly recommended for around Year 3 upwards.