This is Captain Cook, by Tania McCartney & Christina Booth

James was a very good sailor.
He could steer by the stars, make maps and read charts.
In fact, he was so good he joined the Royal Navy.

Englishman Captain James Cook played a big role in charting Australian and New Zealand coastlines, as well as exploring and having adventures around the globe. In This is Captain Cook, his story is told via a class play presented by Miss Batts’ class.

As Cook’s story is told in a simple, accessible narrative, illustrations show it being acted by students on a stage, in front of an audience of family members. Extra interest is added through speech bubbles and through side-stories happening with in the illustrations, such as escaped chickens running amok on stage, and interactions between audience members and the cast. The aforementioned chickens also feature on the end papers.

Useful for classroom study but also suitable for private reading, This is Captain Cook provides an entertaining introduction to the life of James Cook.

This is Captain Cook, by Tania McCartney & Christina Booth
National Library of Australia Publishing, 2015
ISBN 9780642278692

Available from good bookstores and online.

Welcome Home, by Christina Booth

When I heard her call, it came from the river,

echoing off the mountain like a whisper

while the moon danced on the waves.

When I heard her call, it came from the river,

echoing off the mountain like a whisper

while the moon danced on the waves.

A young boy hears a whale voice, calling from far away. The whale speaks just to him. She tells of history, of whales once hunted to the edge of extinction. It is a siren call to the boy, floating into his sleep, filling him with joy, with knowledge and sadness. The whale is getting closer and the boy waits by water’s edge. His temporary discomfort in the cold morning is nothing to the danger of her journey. She comes and speaks to him alone seeking understanding. The boy can only apologise for the past. Then she is gone. But not for long. This time, she speaks to all the early morning watchers, introduces her calf. This time, she and her baby are safe. Illustrations are in watercolour, ink and crayon using rich blues and sunrise yellows to link boy and whale. A final spread shares the story of the story, some history and some facts about Southern Right Whales and their connection with the Derwent River in Hobart, where this story is set.

‘Welcome Home’ is the story of a boy and a whale, of hope and trust. The boy can hear what his family cannot. Young children will love the connection the boy has with this sea giant, while older readers will understand the environmental message behind the story. There is potential for them to be involved in the future, not bound by the past. ‘Welcome Home’ includes themes for many school levels, including life cycles, conservation, human responsibility and more. The illustrations are soft and dreamy and though ‘Welcome Home’ showcases a sad past, it points to a future that is not without hope. Recommended for primary-schoolers.


Welcome Home

Welcome Home, Christina Booth

Ford St Publishing 2013 ISBN: 9781925000092

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

Purinina – A Devil’s Tale, by Christina Booth

At the bottom of the world, on the edge of an island, through a deep valley lined with pines that point to the sky…

Purinina: A Devil’s Tale is the story of the life cycle of Purinina, a Tasmanian Devil. It begins and ends with a new life. In between, Christina Booth follows Purinina as she grows from infancy to maturity. When her mother fails to return from a hunting trip, Purinina and her brothers must learn to make their own way in a changing, shrinking and often hostile environment.

Tasmanian Devils have not always had good press. In some ways they are seen as the unsociable cousin of Australia’s cuter and cuddlier marsupials. But as all mothers love their offspring, no matter their appearance or behaviour, so the author shares her love of the devil. With gentle words and warm colours, Christina Booth brings us close to Purinina and her family.

There is very little colour on the striking front cover of Purinina: A Devil’s Tale. Only Purinina’s tail and paw-prints are there, but they tell the reader that this is not a story of a horned demon. Perhaps Purinina’s markings also hint that this is not an altogether happy story. But the internal spreads are filled with colour: celebrating the vibrancy of life. When Purinina’s mother fails to return after a night’s hunting, the spreads return to almost black and white. But life goes on and colour returns to the pages although the sadness of loss is not forgotten. Throughout the story, text colour changes, reinforcing particular words. Christina Booth tells a simple, cycle-of-life tale, with warmth and love. The illustrations are simply beautiful. The text is accompanied by notes about the life and habitat of this often misunderstood Australian animal. Blue-hued endpapers show the night countryside. Recommended for 4-7 year olds and anyone wanting to learn more about the Tasmanian Devil.

Purinina: A Devil's Tale

Purinina: A Devil’s Tale, Christina Booth
Lothian 2007

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