The Way of the Weedy Sea Dragon
CSIRO Publishing, 2021
32pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99
Down in the seaweed and kelp forests of Australia’s southern coasts dwells a creature that looks like it has come straight from the pen of one of our children’s book illustrators. With its colourful spots and bars, long snout and tail and dingly-dangly camouflage bits it revives any loss in the belief of dragons. The little weedy sea dragon (and its cousins the leafy sea dragon and the ruby seadragon from WA) are among the fascinating creatures that live in this new world of under the water and to have had the privilege of watching their graceful mating dance remains one of my most precious scuba-diving memories.
In this stunning book, not only is the reader introduced to this intriguing inhabitant of the ocean but also to the reason that these sorts of non fiction titles must remain an essential element of the school library collection. “Everything” may be “available on the Internet” but who would know to investigate weedy sea dragons if you don’t know they exist? You don’t know what you don’t know. Alongside Bury’s delicate illustrations, Anne Morgan has crafted a text as graceful as the dragons’ dance and accompanied it with further information that whets the appetite and supports the development of those critical information literacy skills. As well, there are extensive teaching notes for Yr 2-6 that focus on Science, English and Media Arts, leading the reader to consider how individual characteristics help species survive and thrive.
A must-have that will lead young non fiction readers into their own new world. If there are dragons in the oceans, what else might be there?