Antarctica by Moira Court

cover image

Fremantle Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781925815757.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Antarctica, Animals, Survival, Counting book. From one to ten, the unusual animals of the Antarctic are presented to the reader. For a younger child the book is a great read aloud, reinforcing the numbers one to ten, while older readers will be intrigued with the animals presented, asking questions about how each survives in such an inhospitable place, reading the four pages of information given at the back of the book to find some answers.
Each double page presents a group of animals: one is for the leopard seal, two has two emperor penguins, three is for the elephant seals, and four reveals four right whales while ten is for ten sea stars. Each double page has a line about the animal, using rhythmic descriptive words, begging the listener or reader to repeat the words, allowing them to roll about the mouth, enjoying the freshness of the descriptions.
Moira Court's illustrative technique ensures the eye will pour over every page, pondering how each image is produced, marvelling at how the remote, cold and isolated place can be revealed with scraps of paper.
Court uses a range of print making and collage techniques to produce her work, and younger children will be introduced to this form of art reading this book. It will excite their interest working out how each image is produced, encouraging them to try their skills to make one of the animals. Court's website gives some clues about her techniques and is worth a look.
This book is a wonderful introduction to Antarctica and its animals and landscape, giving quirky facts in the information for older readers and encouraging all readers to look, question and ponder. Antarctica is again in the news with pressure mounting for oil exploration to occur. This is a timely addition to the field and will enable readers to know just what does live in the Antarctic.
Fran Knight