Boats: Fast & Slow
Flying Eye, 2018
48pp., hbk., RRP $27.99
A boat is defined as “any vessel that is able to carry people across water” regardless of their size, propulsion, or the water body they are used on. Since the earliest days of human history, particularly since people settled rather than roamed, boats have had a significant role in the exploration and development of this planet.
From early rafts of woven reeds and animal skins to canoes carved from logs to the introduction of steam power and with a few stops to explore famous boats like the HMS Beagle and the Titanic, this book introduces young readers to this mode of transportation, highlighting how important it is to everyday life. Extensively illustrated with short, informative passages of text, young readers can follow the journey of development and begin to consider what Australia, an island continent, might have been like without the invention of floating safely on water. As they read about the role of boats, they will also learn that there are other significant names apart from those of Endeavour and The First Fleet, perhaps sparking their own investigations into all things nautical including boating sports, lighthouses, shipwrecks, military craft through the ages and so on. Those with a scientific bent might like to investigate how those huge ocean liners can stay afloat.
Like its predecessor, Horses Wild and Tame, this is a dip and delve book designed to introduce young readers to the importance of some things in the development of civilisation that they might not have thought about or have taken for granted. It is what I call a pebble-in-the-pond book because its core subject can spark the reader into exploring an entire circle of different aspects of the topic leading to diverse and different discoveries depending on their particular interest. Using a focus question such as Why have boats been important to human development? it is perfect for getting young students to learn to pose their own questions to answer while developing information literacy skills that have context and meaning for them personally and covering every facet of the curriculum.
A worthwhile addition to the library’s collection or for any child fascinated by water craft, what they can do, and the people associated with them.