'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Monday, 2 September 2013

Review: Eco Warriors to the Rescue!

This deceptively simple picture book is actually a work of art. Behind the invitation to young children to become wildlife protectors are scanned images of Australian flora and fauna from the National Library of Australia’s archives. Intricately detailed images from historical picture collections are combined on these glossy pages with contemporary photos of three Aussie children. The result is a child-friendly adventure.

The message for children is straightforward: learn what each plant needs to thrive and then fight to provide it. Eco Warriors to the Rescue! is the perfect first eco-adventure for the very young, while simultaneously offering parents a visual feast. The majority of art is watercolour with the occasional gelatin silver print and colour photomechanical print, but I’ve don’t recall ever seeing such finely detailed watercolours.

I only realised the breadth and depth of the artwork contained when I reached the last few pages: a double spread is devoted to the floral emblems for each Australian state and territory, while another outlines our Australian Native Birth Flowers. I just couldn’t resist another quick read of the entire book to browse the visuals once more.

Eco Warriors to the rescue! may become a favourite for botanists, gardeners and lovers of Australian art as well as the original target audience: children. Thank you National Library of Australia for your generosity in opening your archives and thank you Tania McCartney for the child friendly simplicity you have created with these treasures.

Will there be more eco-tales for children using The National Library’s vast archives? I hope so.

Title: Eco Warriors to the Rescue!
Author/Design: Tania McCartney
Publisher: National Library of Australia, $17.99 RRP
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: Firm cover
ISBN: 9780642277800
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book, Junior Non-Fiction

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