Here in the foothills, tadpoles practise to be grown-up frogs in crystal-clear ponds, surrounded by wiry grasses and tough little plants that have spent the winter sleeping under the snow….These are the headwaters of the Murray River, where the story begins.
From its small beginnings high in the Australian alps to its meeting with the sea, the Murray River’s beauty is legendary. But, though it is home to a vast range of wildlife, including fish, birds, frogs and insects, it has also played a major role in Australia’s farming, transport and industrial history and, as such, its delicate balance has been impacted.
In On the River, author/illustrator Roland Harvey travels the length of the river in words and pictures, with his pelican friend, exploring the beauty of the river, as well as its history, its role in the lives of both the natural and human world, and its struggles.
Populating beautifully rendered realistic landscapes and aerial views with the slightly cartoonish human figures which Harvey is known for, the book mixes whimsy with serious subject matter, highlighting the plight of the river as well as the things it is loved for, including recreation and its beauty.
Useful for classroom purposes, On the River is also great for private enjoyment.
On the River, by Roland Harvey
Allen & Unwin, 2016