Making children’s non-fiction both educational AND entertaining can be a big ask, but Allen & Unwin’s new It’s True! series achieves a balance between the two with aplomb.
The latest offering in the series is A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down. Its title hints at its irreverence and non-traditional approach. The contents of the book do not, however, ignore the serious nature of the subject matter. Bushfires cause massive damge every year and author Tracey McGuire knows first-hand how fierce and traumatic they can be. McGuire’s own family were directly effected by the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983, and these experiences are featured in the book, as are McGuire’s father’s experiences in an earlier fire in 1969 and the experiences of Lucky the Koala in the huge bushfires of January 2003 in Victoria and the ACT.
It is the use of first-person recount that gives the book its edge. We aren’t simply being told about the impact of fire, but rather shown it and being given the opportunity to relive it with those who have experienced it first-hand.
A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down is peppered with facts and tips – from how to survive a bushfire, to detailed koala facts, as well as cartoon-style illustrations by the talented Bill Wood, making it user-friendly for primary aged children.
A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down is quality non-fiction reading for primary aged children.
It’s True! A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down, by Tracey McGuire
Allen & Unwin, 2004