The Amazing Case of Dr Ward – Jackie Kerin/Tull Suwannakit

Standard

March 2021

Ford St Publishing

RRP: $16.99

ISBN: 9781925804706

When a true life story can be brought to life in an engaging picture book it’s a real bonus and this particular book has so many applications for rich discussion and learning experiences; science, HASS, innovation, and invention. Hands up all those who have had a terrarium in their home – or made them with children….yep, me too. And yet, I had never heard of the man who conceived of this amazing way of growing plants. Nathaniel Ward was fascinated with growing plants, particularly unusual ones and was determined to both see and grow the exotic plants that voyagers in the 19th century were seeing and attempting to bring back to England. The long sea journeys, weather and vermin made is almost impossible for healthy specimens to arrive intact and through a chance discovery, Ward saw that plants can grow in a sealed glass container successfully for indefinite periods of time.

Dr Ward’s curiosity and innovation enabled the transport of many of the plants – both decorative and useful – to other shores and while, with hindsight, we have come to understand that some of those introduced to Australia have been a disaster for our native habitats, there is also no doubt that the production of fruit and other crops has been an important part of our agricultural landscape and economy.

Most intriguing of all is the concept of simple wondering and experimentation that lead to something now so commonplace that we accept its presence without question, and it is this, in my opinion, that your young readers will connect with the most. Reading this even to your upper primary children will provoke so many learning opportunities and I highly recommend it for your kiddos from around six years upwards.

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