Review Blog

Sep 06 2019

One small island: The story of Macquarie Island by Alison Lester and Coral Tulloch

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Puffin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780143789253. pbk, 40p.
(Ages: 6-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Macquarie Island, Australian history, conservation. This is a new and updated paperback edition of the award-winning publication about World Heritage Site, Macquarie Island. In the Southern Ocean, remote Macquarie Island is a haven for both sea and land creatures. This is a non-fiction text written with an easy to follow narrative, from the geological forming of the island, to its use as a base for sealers and the introduction of destructive mice, dogs, rabbits and cats. It details the loss of native species such as elephant seals and the Macquarie Island parakeet. It touches on Douglas Mawson's connection with Macquarie Island on his way to Antarctica and his role in calling for its protection. It details the trials and challenges that have been faced in trying to protect native species while eradicating domestic species and opens young reader's eyes to the delicate balance of ecosystems and how even the smallest thing can cause major ripples. But while it is brutal and honest in depicting the destruction of Macquarie Island it maintains hope and reminds us that every effort to protect our world, however small, is important and could be transformative. There are oodles of extra information here, including a timeline, glossary, primary sources such as letters and diary entries, maps and more but the main text can be either read alone or along with the supporting information, depending on age and ability. This is both a beautiful and supremely important book for children of all ages.
Nicole Nelson

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