Review Blog

May 03 2018

Hubert Wilkins: Forgotten hero by Elizabeth Corfe

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Era Publications, 2011. ISBN 9781741205114
(Age: Upper primary) Hubert Wilkins is probably not well known to Australian students although he was born in South Australia in 1888 and was quite famous in the 1920s. This biography written for upper primary age students highlights Wilkins' pioneering work studying weather in polar regions and the significance of his use of technology, exploration and leadership.
Early chapters of the book describe the young man's farm experience and the hardship caused by drought. Understanding the weather became a motivating force in his life. He became a film maker, learnt to fly and experienced the Arctic climate first hand. Each new adventure gave Hubert the skills and understanding to undertake new missions such as the study of Australia's Aboriginal people, the Inuit of Canada and Russia. The First World War battle field tested his courage and willingness to undertake difficult challenges.
Through short paragraphs and appropriate vocabulary the author presents the life of a forgotten hero whose discoveries were ahead of his time. Each page is illustrated with interesting photographs, maps and illustrations. Important background information (e.g. drought, the first movies, life in the trenches) is highlighted in brief side panels. The book's conclusion includes a timeline and glossary.
Paul Pledger

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