The Australia Survival Guide
176pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
With its tagline of Australia is trying to KILL you – this book will save your life! this might not be the book at the top of the Tourism Commission’s list of gifts for overseas visitors but for anyone venturing into the outdoors, even if that’s a backyard here, this is a worthy tome to have. Although “tome” depicts something heavy and dull and this is certainly not that.
Divided into four main sections, and each of those having subsections such as Slithery Death, Wibbly-Wobbly Jelly Death, Leafy Death, and The Four Elements of Death it sounds like one for the horror aficionados but in fact, it is the story of a young lad, depicted throughout as an avatar, being taken on a holiday around Australia and how information and preparation are the keys to surviving real-life threats that are even scarier than those on his video games.
With the traditional warning palette of yellow and black, fact files,fun facts, sticky notes and other eye-catching visual devices, the reader is introduced to some of the dangers that lie in wait as we go about our everyday lives, on holiday or not, whether these are on the land, in the sea or in the environment generally. But the first person narrative lifts this above the common survival guide so that while there is all the information about identification, avoidance and first aid that is needed, it becomes a readable dip-and-delve book that also carries a warning about how humans can change the environment for better or worse and, at the same time, recognising its uniqueness and the need for us to look after it – even if it is trying to kill us.
With summer on the horizon and many of our students heading into new environments for the first time, this is a book that is not only valuable personally but also as a springboard into a study that might equip them with the basic knowledge they need to stay safe. With its practical nature, appealing layout and focus on things that fascinate, it could be the perfect foundation for Term 4 investigations.