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

Friday 14 July 2023

Review: Alight: A Story of Fire and Nature

How is fire important to the regeneration of our natural environment? What do flora and fauna do when fire roars to life?

Alight: A Story of Fire and Nature is a new book from CSIRO Publishing which explores how plants are 'reminded' to regenerate, and how animals look after themselves in times of fire.

We're all familiar with the result of unplanned bushfires. However, planned fire management of the bush is also crucial to the continuing of a natural life cycle. This book is a minimally-confronting exploration of it.

The smoke from fire sends a signal, and plants and animals respond. 

Creatures seek a safe haven. Frogs, dragonflies, and damselflies find a shelter. Marsupials burrow deeply, and insects insulate themselves below ground. Birds speak loudly to warn other animals, and when it's safe they come out of hiding and begin to forage for food.

Seeds burst forth ready to begin a new life. Banksia seeds find new ground, fungi are woken from their sleep, and flowers welcome the rain. 

Eventually new growth is visible, with regeneration of the bush, colours returning to the burned landscape, and animals breeding. You'll find lizards and birds, beetles and bats, along with many others.

The narrative style clearly shows the significance of fire, and how it plays a special role in the world. The text by Sam Lloyd is direct and descriptive. Gorgeous artwork by Samantha Metcalfe brings everything to life on the page, with realistic illustrations of plant and animal species including endpapers liberally decorated with them. 

Bookends of key flora and fauna 'character' profiles are provided at the beginning, and a glossary and valuable summary of fire in the Australian bush at the end. They will help parents, teachers and older readers to answer questions they may have after reading the story.

Alight: A Story of Fire and Nature is a wonderful way to start exploring such an important aspect of our environment, and a reminder of the need to look after it.

Download teacher's notes from the publisher's website.

Title: Alight: A Story of Fire and Nature
Author: Sam Lloyd
Illustrator: Samantha Metcalfe
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing , $ 24.99
Publication Date: June 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781486315444
For ages: 6+
Type: Junior Non-Fiction