The children gazed gloomily all around,
Oh dear! Oh dear!
Waste and rubbish littered the ground,
Oh dear! Oh dear!
The land was polluted, the rivers all dry,
with their habitats ruined the creatures would die.
So the kids decided to build an ark
To save all their animal friends.
The children are concerned about the impact of humans on the environment and the challenges this poses for animals displaced or threatened by humans and their activities. So they build an ark, and load it with as many endangered Australian animals as they can. They set them off to sea and then spend their time cleaning up and repairing the land. Eventually they deem it safe to bring the animals home again. The text is set to the rhythm of ‘The Ants Go Marching’ and illustrations are presented on coloured pages as if looking through a telescope, with the action spilling beyond the edges of the circle. Images are a combination of painting and collage. Final pages include images from the NLA collections and information about the animals featured.
NLA are producing a number of books for children which use images from their collections. ‘The Rescue Ark’ has a clear conservation theme, and suggests that children can play a role in addressing/redressing environmental impacts on Australian fauna. It also introduces young readers to the Library’s collections. There is ample opportunity for conversation, at home and in the classroom about Australian animals, habitat destruction and pollution, and the ability for each and all to effect their surroundings. Recommended for early- to mid-primary schoolers.
The Rescue Ark, Susan Hall ill Naomi Zouwer NLA 2014 ISBN: 9780642278104
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller