An Amazing Australian Road Trip
Walker Books, 2022
40pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99
We’re travelling from Melbourne on a birthday trip west, our aunty is sixty and we’re off on a quest
She’s keen for a picnic and fancies a view, a cake and a loud “Happy Birthday to You!”
So off they go with their 4WD loaded to the hilt, the most magnificent birthday cake taking pride of place on the roof rack. But despite circumnavigating the country, including Tasmania, and visiting significant scenic and cultural attractions in each state and territory, Aunty cannot find the perfect picnic spot until…
In my review of Ancient Wonders I suggested that families could use it as an opportunity to plan a journey (or two or three) to discover the remarkable land shapes and landscapes that are our own backyard, and here it has been laid out already. Iconic destinations such as The Twelve Apostles, Coober Pedy, Port Arthur, Kakadu, Uluru, Canberra and others have all been included in this itinerary and as well as the ongoing story of Aunty’s objections (and the very fitting ending), there are also factual notes about the significance of each. The maps on the endpages summarise the journey so well – and any adult sharing the story will empathise.
So the challenge to set students, having the model in front of them, is to create a new itinerary that the family could try foe when Aunty is 65! Differentiate the task by setting it up as either Australia-wide, state-wide or even just town-wide… what places would be perfect for a picnic celebration and why? Even though our national borders are opening up, there is still so much to see and do in our own country. By sharing their plans, students may discover new places in their own back yard!
To me, the best picture books are those that set the reader up for further journeys (both literally and figuratively), that have layers for them to explore and build their understandings on, those that educate as well as entertain. This is definitely one of those and an essential addition to any collection focused on Australia’s geography.