Tilly’s Reef Adventure (Rhonda N Garward, NLA Publishing)
Tilly’s Reef Adventure tackles conservation in a gentle manner that will appeal to parents and educators alike. Adventurous baby green turtle Tilly must navigate many natural dangers as she makes her way into the radiant depths of the Great Barrier Reef, but when she gets caught in a plastic bag and swept up on shore, it is up to a group of impressively proactive children to rescue her. Rhonda N Garward presents a gorgeous wash of colours and textures on each page, bringing the beachside and underwater landscapes to vibrant, thriving life. Small details enrich the visual language, such as the way a seahorse’s tail curls languidly around coral, and each new double-page spread has a flap that extends the imagery along with the story. Tilly’s Reef Adventure is a lush and evocative picture book. While you’ve likely read this story before, it remains deeply important given reports of the reef’s continuing decline, and Garward’s art makes each page a pleasure to encounter. The story of Tilly is engaging and accessible for ages four and up, and budding environmentalists of ages six and up will also appreciate the facts shared on the book’s final pages.
Bronte Coates is a Melbourne-based writer. She works for Readings as the digital content coordinator and manager of the Readings Prizes