Allen & Unwin, 2021
24pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
It is the final freeze of the bitter Antarctic winter, the aurora borealis dances across the sky in a wonderland of wispy colour and movement, and, as morning looms in the pale light an iceberg shears off the face of a glacier and sets sail in those cold waters. But this is not an empty place, nor a quiet place – for in the water below, the skies above and even on the berg itself, there is life. Life that is dependent on other life, as the eternal cycle of food and prey plays out.
This is the most stunning book complete with huge foldout pages that brings the frozen world of the southern continent to life in a way seldom seen. To the daughter of the first female journalist to ever visit the ice back in 1968, it is not an unknown world but to many of our students it will be and they will be astonished at the abundance of life and the connections between the species that exist. In this country of increasingly hot summers where climate change is leaving its mark on the scorched,, burnt landscape, it is hard to imagine how in such a cold climate even small changes can have any impact let alone a significant one. But as the year turns, the “ocean, sky, snow and ice minute greens and giant blues dance a delicate dance” life blossoms and fades in an intricate, harmonic melody that embraces all. What happens there impacts here.
Saxby’s poetic text and Racklyeft’s illustrations are matched in a dance as integral to each other as the life surrounding the iceberg bringing a new world of wonderment to young readers, one that will open eyes and minds and hearts in a way that will inspire them to know it and protect it in the same way my mum did since her childhood when she stood on the wharf at Bluff and watched the explorers’ ship sail South.
You know that it if has Claire Saxby’s name on it, it will be extraordinary and this is no different.