Radio Rescue! by Jane Jolly & Robert Ingpen

Jim loved station life at Four Wells.
He loved hunting rabbits, exploring with his dog Bluey and chasing goannas. But sometimes he was lonely. If only his friend Frank didn’t live so far away.

Jim and his parents all love station life, but sometimes they feel lonely, cut off from the rest of the world. So when a pedal radio comes, and they can send messages by morse code, and even hear voices from the main base. Jim longs to have a turn on the radio, but Dad says he needs to wait until he’s older. However, when Dad has an accident and Mum is away from the house, it is Jim who uses the radio to call for help. He is a hero.

Radio Rescue! tells the tale of the introduction of pedal radios to outback communities, showing its importance by using a fictional family and the difference it makes to their life, coupled with back of book notes which explain how and why the pedal radio was developed, as well as the use of the radio to summon the Flying Doctors, one its life-saving services.

Illustrations, by master craftsman Robert Ingpen, are divine. Each spread includes text on one page, with the opposite including a grey scale, highly detailed picture of one of the characters on the outside of a fold out spread, opening to reveal a coloured illustratios including rich landscape and actios scenes. Ingpen’s style is perfect for a historical book such as this and adults and children alike will admire his work, and the detail included.

Perfect for both classroom use and private reading, Radio Rescue! is a collector’s delight too.

Radio Rescue! by Jane Jolly & Robert Ingpen
National Library of Australia Press, 2016
ISBN 9780642278784

A Duck is Watching Me: Strange and Unusual Phobias, commentary by Bernie Hobbs

Do you suffer from frigophobia, carnophobia or Anglophobia?

Do you fret about peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth?

Do you secretly fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you?

Everyone is afraid of something – heights, the dark, confined spaces – but what if your fear was that ducks are watching you? Or that peanut butter might stick to the roof of your mouth? What would  you call this fear?

A Duck is Watching Me: Strange and Unusual Phobias explores the wild and weird world of phobias. An introduction by science broadcaster Bernie Hobbs explains what a phobia is, and where they come from, with the remainder of the book giving names and definitions for a vast array of phobias, each illustrated with a photograph from the National Library of Australia’s image collection. Images chosen range from the quirky to the hauntingly beautiful and, while they do not show people exhibiting the necessary phobia, they instead relate in some way to the subject of the phobia. For example, the entry for nomophobia, the fear of losing mobile phone contact, is illustrated by a black and white image of old style telephone repairmen.

This is the kind of book which can be browsed cover to cover or left to be dipped into, and will be enjoyed by people of different ages and interests.

A Duck is Watching Me: Strange and Unusual Phobias, Bernie Hobbs
NLA Publishing, 2014
ISBN 9780642278647

Available from good bookstores or online.

The Rescue Ark by Susan Hall, ill Naomi Zouwer

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 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

www.clairesaxby.com

To See The World, by Elaine Forrestal

This was not the great adventure I had anticipated. I wanted to swim back to my mother, to feel her arms around me, to smell the delicious spicy fish she would be cooking instead of this disgusting mixture of stale milk and filthy toilets. The wind roared in the rigging. The waves slapped the hull so hard that I knew I would be battered to death immediately if I jumped into the sea. My mother always complained that I would drive her crazy; I was so careless and afraid of nothing. But I am not stupid. Although my heart was aching and I desperately wanted to go home, I would never let the sea take me.

Jose has lived all of his life on the island of Mauritius, but his father has arranged for him to travel and work on board the ship Uranie. Jose anticipates a life of seeing interesting places and having adventures. He doesn’t expect to meet a woman on the ship. It is 1818 and women are not allowed to join naval expeditions, but Rose de Freycinet has decided she cannot bear to be apart from her husband, and besides, she wants an adventure of her own. Jose is not impressed. Rose wants to teach him to read and write and her very presence makes ship life more dangerous. But as their journey continues, a friendship develops between the two, and Jose becomes as loyal as most of the other sailors.

To See the World is the fictionalised account of the journey of French ship Uranie which attempted to circumnavigate the world and conduct scientific research. Rose de Freycinet, the wife of the expedition leader, Louis, became the first woman to write an account of such a circumnavigation, including their encounters with pirates, and cannibals, and their shipwrecking on the Falkland Islands. While this is a work of fiction, the character of Jose is based on a real boy, and the events of the story use real events, drawing on journals and other documents. Each chapter of the book opens with an image or painting from the time, from the National Library of Australia’s collection.

Suitable for middle and upper primary aged readers, To See the World is an intriguing tale of history, travel and an adventurous woman.

 

To See the World, by Elaine Forrestal
NLA Publishing, 2014
ISBN 9780642278494

Available from good bookstores and online .