Reviewed by Wendy Lipke
This book deserves a place in all primary schools in Australia as it introduces concepts, not only important for Australia and the world today, but issues which will need to be addressed well into the future.
It is presented as a sturdy, colourful, hard covered 27x27cm book using good quality paper and has an important message to tell.
It begins with the idea of balance which children of this age would know. Then introduces the concept that our beautiful planet is ‘doing a balancing act of its own’. (I have just discovered that there are no page numbers in this book). The message then moves to the Earth being made up of many different ecosystems and how all ecosystems are connected and rely on each other.
The focus then moves to weather and climate and how ‘in recent times, climates have started to change too fast, and ecosystems just can’t keep up’. This is the lead into ‘climate change’ and why things we have done in the past have created a ‘BIG PROBLEM!’ The link is then made to ‘when ecosystems are out of balance, the whole natural world is off-balance, too’. The following couple of pages look at how climate change is affecting Australia specifically finishing with the dire warning that ‘Australia’s rarest ecosystems may be lost forever’.
I loved the next page as it contained a statement presented in big letters ‘WHAT?! NO WAY. Then in even bigger letters, SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!’ The following pages look at some of the things already being done to address the issue. Another interesting aspect of the text is the equations provided amongst the text, e.g. Billions of cow burps = A warming planet and TREES = SUPERHEROES. I’m sure young children would appreciate them.
The next message is that it is not only experts who are fighting climate change, EVERYBODY has a role to play. The book finishes with two pages of IMPORTANT ACTIONS (for little Australians like you).
Every page has beautiful illustrations appropriate to the text. The words occupy only a small portion of each page and are situated on plain coloured backgrounds within the illustrations. The font size used also makes it easy to read.
Accompanying the book is a pull-out poster. The author, Polly Marsden, is the creator of the concept for Big Weather (and How To Survive It), a documentary TV series broadcast on the ABC in 2020. She is also a speechwriter and script writer who is passionate about the power of words to inspire positive social change.
The illustrations, featured on the cover and throughout the book, were provided by Chris Nixon a multidisciplinary artist from Perth. Her work has adorned the pages of many children’s books. She has also done animation, commercial illustrations, and large artwork installations.
Together these artists have also produced a similar sized book about Bushfires – How to be Aware and Prepare. Both books provide basic facts about what the problem is, what causes it, and actions that can be taken, even by young children. These are the decision makers of the future. I believe both books should be made readily available to all young children.
The Australian Climate Change Book
by Polly Marsden, illustrated by Chris Nixon
Lothian Children’s Books