Australian and world records 2014 by Jennifer Corr Morse
Scholastic, 2013. ISBN 9781743622094.
(Age: 8+) Australian and world records is a companion volume to Scholastic's annual Book of World Records. The global publisher's decision to produce a title with an Australian focus enables children to learn about records that may not be recognised internationally but will open their eyes to aspects of life in their own country.
The first quarter of the book is devoted to Australian records. Both this section and the international section that follows, have a significant emphasis on sporting achievements. The remaining topics are money, pop culture and nature. While the mix may not satisfy readers accustomed to the broader range of similar titles, many children will enjoy this pared-down version because of its user-friendly format. With few exceptions, there is only one entry to a page. Large photographs, informative text and graphs of top record holders in each category, may encourage readers to investigate the information instead of skipping from picture to picture. Alliteration and word play in the headings helps to make this title a rewarding reading experience. Some of the records, such as those for the largest animals, have remained unchanged for understandable reasons, but others have been updated to the year of publication. The font is relatively small but clear and while there is no index, the brief table of contents is serviceable.
Jennifer Corr Morse and her Australian co-authors have created more than a collection of superlatives with pictures. Australian and World Records 2014 is an interesting and occasionally thought-provoking book, that is tailor-made for young readers who are keen to extend their general knowledge and curious about the world in which they live.