Review Blog

Feb 08 2013

Survival at 40 C above by Debbie S Miller

cover image

Ill. by Jon Van Zyle. A & C Black, 2013. ISBN 9781408190296.
(Age: 7-9) Picture book. Australian environment. Australian animals. Surviving in the Simpson Desert in the heart of the Australian continent requires specialised skills by animals and birds alike. Miller, after three seeks in the desert with a group of scientists from the University of Sydney, has written a story of the animals she encountered and speaks of their adaptation to the environment in which they live in this vibrantly illustrated book.
Informative, interesting, educational, the facts in the book will interest and inform younger readers, but the layout is something else. Young readers taught to recognise headings and sub headings, to use the contents page and index to find the information they require, to use interactive whiteboards to access information may find the layout of this book too unwieldy to bother. The whole is simply like one long essay starting with information about the desert and then trawling through some of the animals and their adaptations to the environment and climate in which they live. Fascinating yes, but it is difficult to use as a non fiction book of information for class.
After the information is given an author's note, glossary, record temperatures for the desert, and a list for further reading.
As a book for use at home or as a reader, or extra help in the classroom where an adult may be around to help the child find the information they seek, then this has its uses, but as an example of a modern non fiction book, I found it interesting but a little disappointing.
Fran Knight

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