One Careless Night (Christina Booth, Black Dog)
Christina Booth is an award-winning author and illustrator who has previously collaborated with well-known Australian authors such as Colin Thiele and Jackie French. In One Careless Night, Booth recreates the life and death of the last thylacine (Tasmanian tiger). The illustrations have a misty appearance, matching the narrative that traces the young thylacine and her mother’s movements through the Tasmanian bush. They are captured, and caged at Hobart Zoo. When the mother passes away, the younger thylacine becomes the last of her kind. In contrast to her childhood in the bush, this thylacine’s adult life is full of despair and loneliness. Tragically, she dies from exposure on a cold night due to lack of care. Complementing the beautiful illustrations, the prose is lyrical and haunting, fitting for such a heartbreaking story. However, this tragic tale of human disregard for both the environment and native animals ends with a message of hope. One Careless Night is a beautifully illustrated book that is suitable for preschoolers to early primary school (ages 3–8). The flowing text would be enjoyable to read to young children, and with a powerful message of animal conservation and educational notes on the final pages, One Careless Night will appeal to teachers and librarians.
Karen Wyld is a freelance writer and author