Seed to sky: Life in the Daintree by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli

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This beautiful addition to the wonderful series of books called Nature Storybooks, concentrates on the most astounding rainforest in Australia, the Daintree. The reader is taken on a journey, using two different fonts to differentiate the story of the seed, from the information about the rainforest and its inhabitants. Each is engrossing, as we follow life around the magnificent Bull Kauri Pine. This beautiful tree, now endangered, is home to many of the flora and fauna of the rainforest.

Readers will cast their eyes over the range of things shown in the illustrations, alive with seeds, foliage, lizards, butterflies, animals, and birds. All tempting to the young reader eagerly listing all they can see. The non fiction section of the text parades many statistics which will enthral readers: the Kauri Pine has been around for 200 million years, the Daintree gets between 2000 and 9000 mms of rain a year, the Daintree has 230 species of butterfly and 10,000 species of moth live in Australia. Readers will love reading and sharing all the information they come across, while loving the story as it unfolds.

The story begins two hundred years ago, when seeds explode from the Kauri Pine. Some are eaten by the bush turkeys, others by the rat kangaroo, the ones that reach the ground begin by growing downwards, and later put up a shoot. Years pass as the shoot becomes bigger and stronger, and after one hundred years, it nears the canopy, all the time surrounded by life. Ten years ago it reached the top, stretching its branches wide, soaking in the sun.

The time line of the tree’s life is wonderfully explained alongside the multimedia illustrations giving more detail which kids will enjoy. The generations of plants and animals living by and partly because of the tree are legion, encouraging readers to look at their own environment and the animals that live there.

At the end of this mesmerising book kids will find a brief index, a map of Australia showing he position of the Daintree Forest, and two paragraphs summarising the life of the Kauri Pine.

I can imagine groups of children poring over this book, soaking up all the information and spotting the almost hidden animal life.

Themes: Daintree Forest, Rainforest, Kauri pine, Environment, Butterflies.

Fran Knight