The Rescue Ark by Susan Hall
Ill. by Naomi Zouwer. National Library Publishing, 2014. ISBN:
Highly recommended for readers from 4-7 and for Early Years classes. Susan Hall's rhyming story introduces the concepts of endangered and vulnerable Australian animals and their need to be rescued from the destruction of their own habitats. In this picture book, she has adapted the popular song The Animals Went in Two by Two to explore and explain the environmental challenges faced by these animals. The children's decision to build a Rescue Ark highlights that even the youngest can join the fight to save the wildlife and their habitats.
As the ark circumnavigates Australia, animals from each state and territory find sanctuary on the ship. The Australian Sea Lion, Pygmy Bluetongue Lizard, Tasmanian Devil, Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, Numbat and Native Bee are some of the species rescued. Instead of escaping from a Biblical flood, they remain afloat until the Aussie kids call out to say 'we've cleaned up your land, it's safe, ok.'
The full colour illustrations showcase the endangered fauna in the foreground while a stylised ark floats inside a circular background border. Naomi Zouwer's choice of complimentary background colours add depth and dimension.
The inclusion of comprehensive information and photographs and paintings from the NLA's collection are useful teaching tools and allow for further research into the plight of endangered animals in Australia.