Review Blog

Jan 31 2017

Heather Feather by Diana Wilson

cover image

Ill. by Jessica Freeman. Little Steps, 2016. ISBN 9781925545005
(Age: 7-9) Heather Feather is a special emperor penguin whose intrepid environmental journey sees her circumnavigating Australia. Antarctica is the 'coldest, driest continent on Earth' and millions of emperor penguins raise their eggs and young in difficult conditions. Heather Feather is extremely curious about the world around her, in particular why the ice cap around her was melting. Her father presents the young bird with a fantastic flying helmet and goggles just right for protection and keeping her safe. He also encourages her with sage advice, 'beware, take care'.
Her first stop after leaving her Antarctic home is Macquarie Island. Here author Diane Wilson provides information about the penguin, seal and sea lion slaughter by traders; the introduction of rabbits, rats, mice and cats and the current environmental measure clearing all the feral animals. Here she encounters royal, gentoo, rockhopper and king penguins and is frightened by a Tasmanian devil. There is no mention of how Heather Feather gains her scientific understandings and insights at each place she visits. Wilson also writes directly to the young reader reminding them to look at the map to follow her trip.
Environmental questions are constantly included as the text shifts between the penguins story, to information, questions to think about and the 'Did You Know' facts included at the end of each chapter. Her voyage takes her right around Australia - Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane, the Great Barrier Reef, Darwin, and Perth and back to her home. Jessica Freeman's illustrations show the reader to the different animals Heather Feather encounters. This junior novel is suitable for the Year 2 Science - Biological Sciences and Science as human endeavour.
Rhyllis Bignell

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