The Great Expedition, by Peter Carnavas

It was the morning of the great expedition. Robert gazed at the country before him.
He met with his senior officer
Final instructions were given.
The parcel was handed over.

A group of explorers are charged with a mission to deliver a parcel. They set out with all the supplies necessary for their journey. But the expedition is beset by challenges and not all the group will reach their destination, achieve their goal. Loosely based on the expedition of Burke and Wills, this group of intrepid explorers embark on their journey with sincere intent. But some obstacles are harder than others to overcome, and one by one, they fall. Only at journey’s end, can their trek be reviewed in its entirety and its success measured. The story is accompanied by Peter Carnavas’ trademark simple lines and delicate watercolours surrounded by plenty of white space and simple font. And watch out for pesky flies!

The Great Expedition is a gentle exploration of child’s play. Carnavas has clearly spent time watching small children and their side-by-side play as well as their on-again-off-again cooperative play. Here is an urban expedition that is as fraught with danger (in a small children way) as can be. First there is a plan, then an introduction of all the characters and their roles in the expedition. For children who are interested, there is the opportunity to introduce the story of other explorers and the challenges they faced. The illustrations contain a number of stories, that will encourage rereading. Will Henry, the biologist, manage the wildlife? Will Ivy, the botanist, find new and undiscovered plants? But perhaps the most important of all, how will they work together to reach their objective? Recommended for pre-school and junior-primary children.

The Great Expedition, Peter Carnavas
New Frontier Publishing 2011
ISBN: 9781921042812

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased from good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.