Review Blog

Nov 10 2017

Tilly's reef adventure by Rhonda Garward

cover image

National Library of Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780642279088
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Reef, Sea animals, Fish, Turtles, Great Barrier Reef, Pollution, Lift the flap book. Tilly a small green turtle has against the odds made it to the sea on the east coast of Australia where she learns to survive amongst the other animals. Through her eyes we see the array of coral which makes up the reef and the plethora of animals which make it their home. Dodging the lizards and seabirds ready to make a feast of the new hatchlings, she must make it past the whales waiting for a feast. Diving down into the clear water on the reef, she finds smaller animals that bear no danger but there are larger ones which do pose a danger to someone her size. She must learn to recognise these and avoid them. But one day she is trapped by a plastic bag which catches around her and she is washed up onto the beach amongst a lot of other litter.
It is here that the point of the book is made crystal clear. The little green turtle is helpless, the plastic around her makes her a rudderless piece of flotsam drifting with the waves, and once on the beach she is stranded, ready to be picked up by any predator. In this story, the humans come to her rescue, putting her back in the sea. But unknown numbers of sea creatures are killed in this way every day, and the book offers the opportunity for class to discuss this world wide problem and what can be done about it.
At the end of the book are several pages giving information that classes will find useful: one double page outlines Tilly and her friends in the sea in more detail, while the next double page illustrates all the fish seen on the reef, and the following several pages show readers what is being done on the reef by scientists bent on saving the heritage site for future generations.
A most informative and lively book, the illustrations will add to the interest shown by young readers with their bright colours and detailed drawings. Lifting the flap always adds interest to an information book and this is no different, but an index would have helped younger readers look things up and practice their research skills.
The animals all have anthropomorphic qualities which detracted from the flow of information for me, but I am sure young readers will not be as picky: they will enjoy every page, the information and illustrations alike, learning much about the reef and its inhabitants the more they read and look at the intricate and detailed pictures.
Fran Knight

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