Review Blog

May 11 2011

Terry, adventures of a Terek Sandpiper by Anne Hawthorn

cover image

Wombat Books, 2011. ISBN 9781921633300.
(Ages 5-7) Environmental concerns. Mixing non fiction and fiction is a path fraught with peril, and few do it well. Although the information presented in this book is interesting, its mix of the two genres simply does not work, and I would have much preferred to see a solid non fiction book with the lovely illustrations born of this venture. And of course this would have included a map, which is sorely missing.
A story of the Terek Sandpiper is diligently told by Anne Hawthorn making a story of its habitat, behaviours and life in learning to ply the incredible journey it makes each year from Australia to the Arctic Circle and back. In the first few weeks after it is born, Terry the Terek sandpiper learns to walk and fly, catch mosquitoes, and eat to build its strength to fly south. It flies with its group, the crowd skimming over the Great Wall of China, spying pandas in the mountains, across the treacherous Yellow Sea and through cyclones, until finally reaching the Australian coast.
With engaging illustrations by Sandra Temple, this earnest book will find a home in some classrooms where environmental awareness is under discussion or where animals and birds and their habitats and behaviours are being taught. The beginning of the book tells us why the book was written and at the end is a long page of closely printed information for the researcher. It is a mix of fiction and information book which does not quite jell, but readers will find something to like in its plain simple layout and the strong emphasis on information about this mostly unknown bird in our midst.
Fran Knight

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