One Careless Night
Black Dog Books, 2019
40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
“Where the mist swallows mountains and winds whisper through ancient trees, myths and legends are born. There are forests here where no one has trod and creatures run free in endless rain and deep, dark bush.”
And among those creatures is a mother thylacine who is trying to show her young pup how to survive. But while she and her offspring might be at the top of the natural food chain, there is one that is even mightier. One that has guns and traps and the motivation of a government bounty. One that outsmarts both mother and young and takes them to a different forest – not one of trees and the scents of fern and pine and thick, dark sanctuary but to one made of concrete and steel exposed to the harsh daylight and hot summer sun. The mother fades away and only the pup is left, until she, too, no longer is. The last of her kind that is known. But perhaps in that secret place where the mist still swallows the mountains and the winds whisper though the ancient trees, there is a sound…
From her bush studio in her Tasmanian home, Christina Booth produces the most amazing work, particularly the stories that she writes and illustrates herself. From the charming Purinina, A Devil’s Tale which tells the story of a young Tasmanian Devil growing up to the beautiful Welcome Home with its focus on whales long gone from Tasmanian shores, to this evocative, haunting tale of the last thylacine she puts young and not-so-young readers in touch with the stories of some of Australia’s most amazing creatures which have suffered so significantly at the hand of humans and in the name of progress and prosperity.
With its dark palette that echoes the darkness of the deep bush of undiscovered Tasmania to the stark whiteness echoing the harsh conditions of Hobart Zoo, the reader is taken on a visual and verbal journey that is so intertwined it is like poetry. But despite the fate of the main character and that of the thylacine as a species being known, nevertheless there is a story of hope for now we think and do differently, and perhaps somewhere in the depths of that untrodden bush there is the possibility…
This is a must-have addition to support any curriculum study that has sustainability and the plight of our planet’s creatures as its focus.