Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre (Pamela Freeman, illus by Liz Anelli, Walker Books)
This new standalone picture book in the award-winning ‘Nature Storybook’ series is a fascinating insight into how flora and fauna survive in the hot, dry land of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre in South Australia. The desert is teeming with life beneath its seemingly exanimate salt-crusted bed. When the rain falls up north, the water tumbles into Lake Eyre, awakening long-dormant fish and frog spawn and attracting flocks of birds to this new watering hole to raise their young. When the desert sun sucks the lake dry again, the lake-dwelling inhabitants settle below the surface and the feathered variety depart. The text is presented in two styles: the main story is lyrical and lively, interspersed by factual text that is characterised by smaller font. The illustrations are exquisite; the mixed media of layered paint, intricate lines and scratches, bold strokes, patterned paper and earth tones offer texture, depth and warmth. With appealing text and visuals, this well-researched information book would make a valuable addition to any primary-school classroom intending to study Australian landscapes, climate change and the arts.
Romi Sharp is a Melbourne-based teacher, picture-book writer and reviewer