Publisher: National Library of Australia ISBN: 978064229637
What an amazing partnership these two creators make! Together they have made what is already an interesting topic for many children into one that is completely fascinating. The Kid’s home school unit on extreme weather and natural disasters last term was just as enjoyable for her as it is for younger children for whom this particular book is intended.
The combination of information snippets in easily-digested chunks, alongside the (as always) simply splendid illustrations in Tania’s inimitable style and the absorbing bizarre facts presented is outstanding and kids from Prep to Year 6 will thoroughly enjoy perusing it. Stephanie’s ability to search out little-known Australian history has become the stuff of legends and likewise her ability to translate them into wonderfully accessible texts for children.
As well as the strange weather events shared there is a tremendously vital message around climate change and the imperative for young people to take on the challenge of preparing for the world’s future.
Readers of this blog already know how much I admire and adore Tania’s illustrative style with stylised graphics and knock-out colour combinations and this gorgeous volume is completely phenomenal in this respect. To my mind this is a stand-out for award nomination in the coming year and if not, there’s something seriously amiss with judging criteria.
My heartiest congratulations to Stephanie and Tania on the creation of such an engaging and attractive volume! Obviously, I give it my highest recommendation as a necessary addition to your non-fiction collection for younger readers.
Read Stephanie’s account of the book’s creation here.
Publisher: National Library of Australia Edition: 1st Edition ISBN: 9780642279460
Stephanie Owen Reeder always excels at creating engaging narratives that are underwritten with historical facts and this picture book is no exception.
To all intents and purposes it is merely the story of two cousins who go swimming at Bondi Beach back in 1907. Charlie and Rupert have a grand time in the surf until the rip catches Charlie and there is an almost disaster. Luckily there are some stalwarts who are able to rescue Charlie and a bystander nurse is able to resuscitate him. Very much a gripping adventure but when Charlie’s full name is revealed at the end of the story, the reader is certainly bound to be surprised and also to conjecture on the ‘what if’ had that rescue not been a success.
The book concludes with some terrific information about Charlie and Rupert as adults, Nurse Sadie Sweeney, Surf Life Saving in Australia, surf safety and Bondi Surf Lifesavers as well as a very useful glossary.
The illustrations are just glorious – and the endpapers that make my heart sing! – and perfectly capture the atmosphere of the time period.
Whether as part of a unit of work focused on Australian history, surf safety, iconic figures in our nation’s heritage or just as a fabulous read-aloud, I highly recommend this for your kiddos from around 7 years upwards.
I adore this series! In Heritage Heroes, Reeder not only takes her readers on adventures but provides rich fodder for hunters of history. Each volume has explored the (often unknown) achievements of young Australian people of the past in a fictionalised narrative which is lavishly interspersed with reproduced primary documents and photographs, ephemera, information on related topics such as animals, significant events and people and more.
Each volume is so sublimely presented that it becomes a tactile delight and the joy is not just in the reading but in the holding in one’s hands.
In this latest, the fifth, we are treated to the discovery of opals at what is now Coober Pedy by 14 year old Will Hutchison who accompanied his father, two other men and six camels on an expedition into outback South Australia in a time of pretty basic equipment and the dangers of extreme drought.
When Will decides to go with his father on the trip for the New Colorado Prospecting Syndicate he has no idea what dangers and hardships lay ahead. Their determination to find gold is undaunted by these although Will struggles to stay positive. Just when the situation appears to be at its most dire and unsuccessful with the company resolved to return to Adelaide, it is Will who literally stumbles onto the Stuart Range opal field which remains one of the most valuable in Australia and certainly a location which is totally unique with so many of the dwellings being underground.
With the addition of ‘what happened next’ information, biographical notes, glossary and references for exploring further some of the many related topics this is treasure worth the delving.
What a marvellous new addition to this award-winning series this is. Highly recommended for readers from Upper Primary to Secondary not to mention any adults interested in Australian history.
Judging by the photos posted by many friends it was a superb occasion with the glitterati of our children’s literary creators and supporters in attendance.
To commemorate this special celebration a range of products is available but most significantly this truly beautiful book compiled by Stephanie Owen Reeder. This retrospective look at over a century of children’s publishing features outstanding characters from so many much-loved stories. I can only imagine the difficulty that the author had in narrowing her selection down but also, no doubt, the immense joy in presenting each of these in a way that is both informative and light-hearted.
From the 1910s with Albert the Magic Pudding to the 2000s and the always outrageous Mr Chicken this is a truly inter-generational volume that will delight everyone who picks it up. Everyone in the family from grandparents to toddlers will find familiar and fun friends from their favourite childhood books.
It is a delight to hold in one’s hands with the quality of production that we have come to associate with NLA publications and would make a beautiful gift for either someone who cares deeply about our children’s books or perhaps to demonstrate to others our fabulous creators over time
An extensive afterword details the work of so many in preserving the history of our children’s literature including that of the NLA and also the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature.
Whether you are looking for an addition to your personal shelves as a lover of our Australian classics for children or perhaps as a professional reference as you guide youngsters through the rich history of our literature for little people, this is a sublime choice.
I cannot recommend it highly enough – just divine! And not leaving my shelves!