Review Blog

Oct 02 2014

Meet... Douglas Mawson by Mike Dumbelton

cover image

Ill. by Snip Green. Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN 9780857981950.
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. What a fabulous series this has proven and many of you will be familiar with the titles so far such as The Anzacs, Ned Kelly and Mary MacKillop.
Again focusing on a truly outstanding Australian, Mike Dumbelton recounts the story of Douglas Mawon's ill-starred Antarctica expedition with simplistic elegance. Mawson led the first Australian expedition to the Antarctic surviving many dangerous challenges, the cruel fate of his comrades and bravely survived against extreme odds. In 2013 'The Australian' listed the Top 50 Australians and Sir Douglas Mawson, honoured by his inclusion on our currency and lending his name to suburbs and streets around the country, was ranked at Number Eight 'for his brilliant brain as a scientist [and for] making one of the most courageous solo journeys by any Australian adventurer'.
However, as with all outstanding picture books, it is not just the author's well crafted text but the astonishing illustrations which bring this book into what surely must be a strong award contender. Snip Green uses his considerable background in graphic art to give the reader a powerful impression of the isolation, barrenness and stark reality of the Antarctic landscape. By using tones of blue/grey/white combined with uncompromising geometric patterns Green more than ably conveys the frightening stillness of this frozen continent. The placement of the text in framed white panels in the amazing double page spreads allow the reader's eye to focus on the illustration while giving the caption-like information.
Though all the 'Meet...' series has been a worthy inclusion for any library, I think this one is undoubtedly my favourite so far given this wonderful collaboration of text and illustration.
Highly recommended for readers aged around 8 and up - a must-have for your library in my opinion.
Sample the book at Random House or visit Mike Dumbleton's webpage or see more of Snip Green's work online.
Sue Warren

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