Review Blog

Feb 21 2018

Room on our rock by Kate and Jol Temple

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Ill. by Terri Rose Baynton. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742764108
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Refugees. By the time any child reads to the end of this book, they will be saddened by the selfish seals, reigning over their bit of rock in a vast ocean, turning away a mother and her pup who try to land. But the instructions at the end of the book tell the reader to read backwards, and in doing so, the same words are read, but reading them from back to front offers a message as old as time: welcome.
No one could be in any doubt about the message in this lovely book. The selfish seals try to keep their land for themselves, even though there is plenty of room. But in reading backwards, a welcome is given to share their rock, to join them.
The evocative watercolour illustrations give a poignancy to the animals as they lounge on their rock or swim and surf in the ocean. The vastness of the sea and waves is given sway on every page, underscoring the isolation of Australia from the rest of the world, and with the first reading of the book, a voice is raised with concern about how Australia meets its refugee responsibilities.
But the tide turns with the reading backwards, and will delight and engage young readers, revitailising discussions within the classroom about our multicultural country, its immigrants and their huge contribution to the Australian way of life. One of these books has a place in every school.
Fran Knight

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