The Truth Detective

The Truth Detective

The Truth Detective











The Truth Detective: How to make sense of a world that doesn’t add up

Tim Harford

Ollie Mann

Wren & Rook, 2023

192pp., pbk., RRP $A22.99


In this evolving digital world where global connections are instantaneous and your money, even your identity, can be stolen with a few clicks of a mouse in any corner of it, more and more we need to teach our students to be critical thinkers and the Australian Curriculum strand of Critical and Creative Thinking has never been more important.  

But with Australians alone losing more than $3 100 000 000 to scammers in one year, it seems it hard enough to teach the adults let alone young ones who are only just emerging from childhood and its acceptance of all that is told to them, who are only just being mature enough to view things from another’s perspective or put themselves in another’s shoes, who are just learning to think logically and analyse according to what they already know and believe.  Young people who are perhaps experiencing the freedom of fewer restrictions on their digital footprint and for whom the timeless message of “stranger danger” is relegated to not talking to people they don’t know in the park and seem to be okay with posting personal information and photos on unknown, unmonitored platforms for the brief gratification of some likes from strangers.

So this is a timely book that needs to be in school and home libraries and shared and discussed.  Not because it teaches about being safe online, although that would be a desirable outcome, but because it gives the reader the tools and tips, strategies and skills to be critical thinkers. To not necessarily take everything at face value but to ask the core questions such as 

  • Does this idea make sense?
  • Does this story conflict with something I already know to be true?
  • Does this fact come from a trust worthy source?
  • Does the person telling me this seem friendly and confident?
  • Do I want this idea to be true?
  • Does this story make me feel something like fear or joy?
  • Is this a cool story?
  • What evidence supports this?
  • What evidence is missing?
  • What does the evidence teach us?

Using real life examples, the author shows the reader how to analyse the situation using the data and asking the right questions using an entertaining formula and format that is very readable. For example, he demonstrates how a magician’s trick of tossing a regular coin and getting ten heads in a row is more about the missing evidence rather than a lucky streak; how the famous “fairies at the bottom of the garden” photographs that fooled even the experts of the time were clearly fake; even how Florence Nightingale who started a revolution with a pie chart.

So, even though as teachers and teacher librarians we can teach our students to be sceptical, to ask certain questions and test websites and so forth for accuracy, authority, currency, objectivity and relevance, such concepts and skills are often taught in isolation and the power of this book is that actual events are put under the microscope and through logical analysis the truth is revealed. If “information is the best weapon” then we must give students the tools to test the information – and this book does this so well by encouraging the collection, analysis and comparison of data  giving context to all those maths lessons about statistics and probability and so forth, such as determining if there is actually a connection between playing a “violent video game” and “violent behaviour”. so the examples are right in the student’s world. 

The publisher’s blurb asks questions such as  Did you know that a toy spaceship can teach you about inflation and that a pooping cow can show you how to invest your pocket money? but, wearing my educator’s hat, there are much more important lessons to be learned from this book and that’s why, IMO, it’s a must in the teacher’s toolbox .

When The War Came Home

When The War Came Home

When The War Came Home











When The War Came Home

Lesley Parr

Bloomsbury, 2022

320pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99


Wales, 1920. Twelve-year-old Natty is quite happy living with her mam in their flat, going to the village school with its yummy free lunches, and special fish and chip teas on Fridays just like her dad used to do when he was alive. 

But when her activist mum loses her job for sticking up for the workers’ rights, and they are forced to move in with relatives in a nearby village, things change dramatically.  Firstly, she has to share a room, even a bed, with her cousin Nerys who is very bright and never stops talking.  Then there are the unpredictable Huw who lied about his age to enlist but who has come home a totally different 17 year old suffering from shell-shock, and the mysterious “Johnny”, another young lad who has returned from the Western Front but who has no idea who he is or where he came from.  She also has to attend a school ruled over by a brutal principal who uses his cane freely, particularly on those who are poor and hungry because there are no free dinners at this village school because their provision is the prerogative of the local council.

Even though she is angry at her mother’s desire to right wrongs that are not even her problem because of the impact it has on her own life, Natty is surprised to find herself drawn into a student strike demanding free school lunches so those who don’t have enough to eat can think about their studies rather than their stomachs. Perhaps she is more like her mother than she realises.  But it is her friendship with both Huw and Johnny that has the most profound effect on all their lives, particularly as the message about never giving up is one that comes from all angles.

Once again, Lesley Parr takes the reader back in time to an era of Welsh history, but, as with The Valley of Lost Secrets and  Where the River Takes Us , the issues she addresses will resonate with today’s readers.  For although World War I is over a century ago, many children will know someone who is experiencing PTSD  or the impact of some extraordinary trauma -or it may even be themselves- and so they empathise and perhaps find a little more compassion. And even though women now have the vote and workers have rights, this can serve as a starting point for  an investigation into why such change was inevitable as well as discussions into what remains the same.  Homeless, hunger and abuse are still rife in our society so what is the answer?  Is there an answer?

At the very least, the story shines a light on what happened in so many homes and families around the globe after the guns fell silent.  Sometimes, having your loved one home wasn’t the be-all and end-all – the war came home with them, shaping lives in a way that has impact today.  As Nerys tells Natty,  “The war took him away, Natty. And it gave him back, only not every part of him. And it took away some of the good parts and gave him bad ones instead.”

Lesley Parr has written three books now, and each one has been the most absorbing read – stories of kids of another time and place but whose lives seem so familiar, making them an opportunity to reflect and respect and understand the power of well-crafted, well-rounded characters, a story that seamlessly embraces critical social issues as it flows along, and the joy and satisfaction of being just a little wiser for the experience.  Definitely an author to introduce to those who like meaty, engaging stories. 

Speak Up!

Speak Up!

Speak Up!











Speak Up!

Rebecca Burgess

HarperCollins, 2022

272pp., graphic novel, RRP $A39.99


Twelve-year-old Mia is just trying to navigate a world that doesn’t understand her true autistic self.  Mia would be happy to just be herself, stims and all, but the other students have trouble understanding her and even bully her, while her mother is full of strategies to help her attempt to mask her autism.  Although she wishes she could stand up to her bullies, she’s always been able to express her feelings through singing and songwriting, even more so with her best friend, Charlie, who is nonbinary, putting together the best beats for her.

Together, they’ve taken the internet by storm; little do Mia’s classmates know that she’s the viral singer Elle-Q! Ironically, one of her biggest fans is also one of her biggest real-life bullies, Laura. But while the chance to perform live for a local talent show has Charlie excited, Mia isn’t so sure.

She’ll have to decide whether she’ll let her worries about what other people think get in the way of not only her friendship with Charlie, but also showing everyone, including the bullies, who she is and what she has to say. Though she may struggle with some of her emotions, Mia does not suffer because of her autism. Rather than  a cure as though there is something about her that needs to be fixed,  she just wants acceptance, understanding and tolerance, just like the other characters who have other issues that drive their behaviour. 

For older, independent readers this is a graphic novel by an autistic author/illustrator offering a sympathetic depiction of one young person’s experience of autism, and because it is by one on the spectrum it is an authentic voice giving an insight into what it is like to be different at a time when peer acceptance is so important to who we are. 

Where The River Takes Us

Where The River Takes Us

Where The River Takes Us











Where The River Takes Us

Lesley Parr

Bloomsbury, 2023

320pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99


Wales, February 1974. The coal miners are on strike for better pay and conditions, and energy rationing is enforced with power to homes and businesses only being allowed at certain times of the day, and thus many businesses are working on a three-day week. It’s winter, it’s wet and cold.  And to add to this misery, in a small village 13-year-old Jason  and 18-year-old Richie are grieving the death of their parents in a car accident while struggling to stay together in their family home.  The mortgage is due again on March 1 but there will be no celebration for St David’s Day this year because Richie’s wages just aren’t enough.

When Jason learns how Richie has been tricked into making some extra money on the side, he is terrified his brother will end up in prison and they will be separated, regardless, and so when he learns about a reward being offered for proof of the existence of a wild beast roaming nearby mountains, it seems like a lifeline worth pursuing at all costs.  An idea is born and a quest begun.  With his best friends Jinx, Tam and Catrin, he sets off on adventure following the river up into the high country, determined to be the first to photograph the Beast with the camera Catrin has “borrowed” from her father. But they’re not the only ones on the hunt as they are dogged by their arch-enemies Gary and Dean, and so the trip is made even more hazardous…

Underpinned by the bonds between the four children, this is a brilliant, fresh, original story that kept me reading until I finished.  While the lure of the £100 reward which they have agreed will be used to pay the boys’ mortgage. is the carrot that keeps them going physically, it is as much an emotional journey for each of them as they learn so much about themselves, about each other and about the power of friendship and the complexity of grief.  Unbreakable ties are forged that will exist regardless of the outcome of the quest,  while both Jason and Richie begin to accept that they are not alone and it’s okay to let others in for support and guidance.  

Like The Valley of Lost Secrets, (the first chapter of which is included at the end), this is a superbly crafted story built on the interactions between the key characters – ordinary kids doing something as ordinary as an overnight camping trip in the school holidays, but who find themselves learning more than they ever imagined.  When questioned about what they are doing, rather than divulge their hunt for the Beast in case others are too, Catrin refers to the Duke of Edinburgh Award, one often associated with outdoor adventure, but if the reader examines the full purpose of it – “to explore their full potential and find their purpose, passion and place in the world, regardless of their location or circumstance” – then perhaps that’s exactly what they did, just without the formality.

Independent readers who like authentic stories with real body will adore this, as will class teachers looking for an absorbing read-aloud that will hook the entire class.

In the meantime, I am eagerly awaiting a copy of When the War Came Home because Lesley Parr is becoming a name I am always going to look for. 

The Great Gallipoli Escape

The Great Gallipoli Escape

The Great Gallipoli Escape











The Great Gallipoli Escape

Jackie French

HarperCollins, 2023

224pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


Sixteen-year-old Nipper and his Gallipoli mates Lanky, Spud, Bluey and Wallaby Joe are starving, freezing and ill-equipped. By November 1915 they know that that there is more to winning a war than courage, that the Gallipoli campaign has been lost, and that the reality of war is very different from the pictures and perceptions painted in the posters at home touting war as an adventure, a way out of inevitable unemployment, a ticket to see the world that few in isolated Australia would ever get, and that to fight “for King and country” was as noble as it gets for those with strong ties to England in early 20th century Australia – calls to arms that compelled many like Nipper to lie about their age so they would be allowed to join the army to defend their country.  

As with Last Man Out, this story, based heavily on accounts in primary sources like letters, diaries, oral histories and memories, takes the reader into the disease, deprivation and desperation of life in the trenches that were the origins of “diggers” the nickname for Australian soldiers, and while Nipper and his mates are fictitious, what they experienced was real.  As author Jackie French, renowned for her research and attention to detail when she crafts historical fiction, says, this is “still only one story… there are possibly one hundred thousand stories, all of which might vary in many respects, but still be true.” 

Nipper has played cricket with the Turks in the opposing dugout, dodged rocket fire and rescued desperate and drowning men when the blizzard snow melted. He is one of the few trusted with the secret kept from even most of the officers: how an entire army of 150 000 men, their horses and equipment will vanish from the Peninsula, secretly moved to waiting ships over three impeccably planned nights without a single life lost – but a plan that leaves those still alive with the very mixed feelings of seeing an opportunity for their own salvation while being reluctant to leave behind those who endured so much and gave their lives for something seemingly futile. 

“Will we be remembered for holding the line here, in a campaign that has won nothing and lost so much?” 

And that question is just one of many philosophical discussion points that takes this book beyond an historic narrative. What was and is the legacy of Gallipoli? Why do we still commemorate a failed campaign more than a century later, and why is commemorating it in Gallipoli, itself, such a milestone for so many? 

Apart from the discussion points and activities that relate directly to the book raised in the teaching notes, there are some outstanding opportunities to explore some big-picture questions and really extend students’ thinking such as 

  • How does historical fiction (as opposed to fiction set in the past) enrich and enhance our understanding of life and living during significant events and times?
  • Given that the Turks were defending their families and livelihoods from invasion by the ‘Tommies’ and their allies, were they necessarily the enemy? Were the invaders in the wrong?
  • Are there parallels between the allies invading Turkey and the Russians invading Ukraine?  What are the differences in approach this time? 
  • The lads in the stories could be the older brothers of those reading it so, if Australia were to put “boots on the ground” in Ukraine, as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan, would they be as eager to join up today as Nipper and his mates were? Why?
  • Have attitudes to conflict changed in the past century, and if they have or haven’t, why?

To me, quality historical fiction inspires the reader to think beyond the story, to the what-ifs, and the why-dids, and this book has certainly done that on both the professional and personal level because between this and Last Man Out I am learning more and more about what my grandfather experienced and why he didn’t share his stories (even if I had known to ask) and how that shaped him, and ultimately me.  How being named after Lord Kitchener impacted my father’s life so that my brother, currently on his way to Villers-Bretonneux, will then make his way again to the  anniversary of the Battle of Crete where dad was captured on his 25th birthday – just two of those 100 000 stories that had their roots in those eight months on a remote Turkish beach. How many more will be inspired to investigate their own?


Flora’s War

Flora's War

Flora’s War











Flora’s War

Pamela Rushby

Ford Street Publishing, 2013

pbk., 243pp., RRP $A18.95



Flora’s war begins in late 1914 in Cairo where the somewhat indulged daughter of an Australian archaeologist whose only interest is discovering the antiquities of Ancient Egypt meets up with her American friend Gwen, quite determined to be ‘modern young ladies’ of the time now that they are 16 and having ‘come out’, are afforded much more freedom.  Flora’s war ends a year later in Cairo where two much more mature young ladies contemplate their future having seen and done much more than ‘modern young ladies’ should have – in fact having seen and done much more than modern young ladies (or gents) of any generation should have.

Cairo in 1914 is not the place Gwen and Flora have known from their annual visits for the excavation season since childhood.  Instead of the close-knit expatriate society they know, the riches and richness of the privileged life of hotels where steps are swept as soon as they are stepped upon, and the endless desert stretching to the beckoning pyramids, it is becoming more and more crowded with troops from Britain, Australia and New Zealand and tent cities are springing up.  There is an air of expectation that something is going to happen, strengthened by the military’s acquisition of their hotels for hospitals and the girls being commandeered to volunteer as helpers in Lady Bellamy’s rest and recreation centre – a pavilion in the Ezbekieh Gardens where soldiers on leave will be tempted with tea and table tennis to distract them from the salacious attractions of “The Wozzer”. The war is acknowledged but it is far away from Egypt, yet still the troop build-up and training continues and the arrival of contingents of Australian nurses is an ominous sign.

But, undeterred, Flora and Gwen push on to being modern young women, learning to dance in new ways, smoking cigarettes, hosting spectacular parties, and most importantly for their freedom, learning to drive a car.  And it is this skill which takes them to sights, sounds, smells and experiences that no one should ever endure, let alone 16 year-old girls.  For, as what we now know as the Gallipoli Campaign begins and intensifies, the war comes to Cairo as tens of thousands of wounded soldiers are evacuated and Flora and Gwen are enmeshed in their care.

There have been so many books written about the events of 1915 on the Gallipoli Peninsula, events that have shaped the Australian and New Zealand psyche and spawned the enduring ANZAC spirit of collaboration and rivalry.   But Flora’s War is different – it’s written from the perspective of ‘what happened next”.  We know the facts and figures and stories of the soldiers in the trenches and the bravery, courage and losses, but what happened to those who were injured, those who were evacuated to the hospital ships sitting just offshore?  So often the stories stop on the beach.  In the notes, the author, Pamela Rushby tells of her journey from reading a story about Australian nurses in 1915 to writing a story of a young civilian volunteer in Egypt, and it is this aspect that makes this novel stand out.  Even though Flora Wentworth is fictional, it is nevertheless the story of real people, inspirational people whose story has seldom been told.

Flora’s War is an engaging read, written by a hand that knows how to weave light and dark together so that the reader is entertained but also educated.  Flora loves her social life and we learn how the social conventions of the time remain paramount – as unmarried young women their duties are arranged so they cannot see men without their pyjama tops, yet emptying bedpans is acceptable – contrasted against the pathos of young men knowing they may never return from this ‘adventure’ they signed on for.  It paints a picture of a time in history that we all know, that has been rarely seen.  Like Boy Soldiers by Cliff Green, this is a story that stands above others on this topic for me. My copy remained on my shelves until my granddaughters were old enough to read it and perhaps understand what their great great grandfather endured.

There are teachers’ notes written by the author which offer a range of ideas to take this story beyond the realm of a girls’ own adventure to a work that has a real place in supporting our students understanding of this critical piece of Australian history.  If you are looking to boost your collection on this topic for older independent readers, this should be at the top of your list.

First published August 9 2013

Updated April 7 2023
















Sophie Masson

Lorena Carrington

MidnightSun, 2023

32pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99


Every morning early, when no-one’s about, Satin slips out of the forest and walks along the sleepy sunrise streets, looking for blue…

He’s collected all kinds of blues, from all kinds of places. He’s making something beautiful, with all those blues. But something’s missing, and he doesn’t know what it is. And then, one day, he comes to a street he’s never been in before. And what he finds there will change his lonely life forever.

This is a stunning story, superbly illustrated, that takes some thought to work through all the imagery…

Is Satin searching for blue because he, himself, is blue in mood, and that’s what attracts him right now?

Is he searching for the elusive piece to finish his creation, both physically and emotionally? Does he even know what it is that he is searching for?

What is the significance of the satin bowerbird in the illustrations? Is Satin searching for blue things in order to find a mate, just as the bowerbird does? 

Why does Satin prefer the cover of darkness to do his searching?

Described by the publisher as a “beautiful, haunting fable”, this is a sophisticated read for older, independent readers, each of whom will take something different from the story as they unpeel the layers of symbolism to find themes of aloneness and loneliness, longing and belonging, and the human need to connect with others yet remaining individual.  Just as Satin’s masterpiece is made up of many pieces of found things, continually growing and evolving, so are we as people, made up of the connections we have, the contacts we make, the things we value, chance discoveries and things sought, a willingness, perhaps even courage to embrace change and difference,  so that we become shape into a whole. A whole that is enough and one which fills a piece in another’s life.

Echoing Satin’s journey from the sombre tones of being a solitary soul to one who is more complete, are the illustrations, primarily blue, but which contrast dark and light in colour as in mood.  As Satin emerges from the dark forest of his daytime home to wander the town bathed in bright moonlight, so is the hint that this is where he knows he will find that missing piece of himself … this is the perfect marriage of text and graphics, just as it was in its original creation.

One Minute’s Silence

One Minute's Silence

One Minute’s Silence











One Minute’s Silence

David Metzenthen

Michael Camilleri

Allen & Unwin, 2019

48pp., pbk RRP $A16.99



One minute’s silence is the traditional way of honouring the memory of those who have died, particularly military personnel.  And during that one minute’s silence, we are urged to think about those who have fallen and the sacrifice they have made for their country.  But what do you really think about?  Are you like the bored, disinterested Year 12 students who open this story? Do you think about the feats and fears of our soldiers and what they did?  Do you ever think about what it was like for those on the other side of our bullets and bayonets? For, in this powerful picture book, we are encouraged to do just that, to consider what it was like both for those who made that fateful landing on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915 and those whom they were fighting against.

“In one minute’s silence you can imagine the grinding in your guts as the ironbark bows of the Australian boats bumped the stony shore of Gallipoli on the twenty-fifth of April 1915…when twelve thousand wild colonial boys dashed across the shivering Turkish sand in the pale light of a dairy farmer’s dawn lashed with flying lead.

But can you imagine, in one minute’s silence, lines of young Turkish soldiers from distant villages, hearts hammering, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in trenches cut like wounds…firing on strangers wading through the shallows intent on streaming into the homeland of the Turkish people.”  

This remarkable retelling of the events that  form the focus of the annual commemorations of those eight fateful months in 1915 starts with a picture of that group of senior students who have been asked to observe one minute’s silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – Remembrance Day in Australia. Their expressions of here-we-go-again-we’ve-been-doing-this-for years have been captured perfectly in the pencil strokes of Michael Camilleri and one might wonder what this book has to offer that has not been done before. But then the narration begins and as the events unfold the students are drawn into them, gradually realising the youth and ordinariness of those who were embroiled in this conflict over 100 years ago. These were kids just like them. They can put themselves in the picture, as Camilleri has. However, not only do they see themselves in the Australian uniform, but their attention is also drawn to the youth and the ordinariness of those on the other side and their perspective. They are no longer just a faceless enemy responsible for the deaths and maiming of these students’ bygone family members. The futility of war is apparent…

“In one minute’s silence you can imagine the solitary day when these men without weapons, sharing cigarettes and shovels as they buried their dead in the cool Turkish earth…and the sound of the wind and waves, and quiet talking, replacing the crack, boom and blast of war.

But can you imagine the fierce Anzacs and the fighting Turks quietly returning to their trenches after this one day of truce then firing at each other that afternoon, although they truly knew that the other M.Ed.(TL) were not so much different after all.”

Metzenthen has done a remarkable thing in this story – he has provoked the reader into walking a mile in another man’s shoes; a mile that is thought-provoking and enlightening.  The juxtaposition of the Australian and Turkish experience which really serves to emphasise their similarities is masterful. Camilleri’s illustrations are equally as powerful. The scene is set on the front cover where two boys – one Australian, the other Turkish – eye each other off and every image within is just as potent.   Could there be anything more evocative about death than a double-page spread of a very large fly surrounded by hundreds of its cousins? Unless it’s the picture of men retreating over a hill that has hundreds of bodies beneath their feet? The imagery used to help students understand the difficult concepts surrounding war is outstanding.  Michael Camilleri has provided information about the extraordinary research and thought that underpin each image at 

Teachers notes are available and it is also one of the feature texts in the PETAA Lest We Forget collection for those with membership. Since its original publication in hardback form in 2014, as predicted this book has won a number of prestigious awards including

  • Winner, CBCA Book of the Year, Crichton Award for New Illustrators, 2015, AU
  • Winner, Prime Minister’s Literary Award – Children’s Fiction, 2015, AU
  • Runner-up, CBCA Picture Book of the Year, 2015, AU
  • Short-listed, The Nib Anzac Centenary Prize for Literature, 2015, AU
  • Short-listed, Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature – Children’s Literature Award, 2016, AU
  • Short-listed, Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards – Children’s Books, 2016, AU
  • Long-listed, CBCA Book of the Year, Eve Pownell Award for Information Books, 2015, AU

This it is an essential addition to any collection of resources about this period in our history.

Originally published November 11 2014

Updated April 1, 2023

Cop and Robber

Cop and Robber

Cop and Robber











Cop and Robber

Tristan Bancks

Puffin, 2022

256pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99


Nash Hall’s dad is a criminal who just can’t seem to go straight. As a former boxer fallen on hard times, he thinks the only thing left for him is to steal money.  He wants Nash to help him commit a robbery and seems to have no qualms about making his son an unintentional accomplice.  The trouble is, Nash’s mum is a cop. and she is Nash’s rock. And the robbery is at Nash’s school because his dad sees it as a soft target, particularly immediately after the school fair. But Dad owes a lot of money to some very dangerous people and if Nash doesn’t help him do the job, it could cost both their lives. So does Nash try to stand by his Dad likes his mum stands by him, and turn his activities around in a way that his mum couldn’t, or does he tell his mum and ruin the relationship with his dad for ever? Can there be a happy ending for anyone in this story?

I read a lot of books, particularly those for children, and therefore it is to be expected that not all of them stand out to be recalled over and over again. But this one had me enthralled from beginning to end, not just because of the quality of Bancks’ writing – he has had me as a fan since Two Wolvesbut for the originality of the plot and that I could hear myself reading it aloud to equally enthralled students and asking them, “What would YOU do?” So when I recommended it, yet again, to a teacher librarian’s forum as a story that would allow them to explore perspective and perception perfectly, I was surprised that I had not reviewed it already.  My only excuse is that this blog is primarily for books for for younger readers but occasionally I add must-reads-for-olders and this is one of them.  

Nothing that Bancks has written in this genre, including Detention  and The Fall has ever left me disappointed, even as an adult reader, but it is this new one that offers so many avenues for exploration particularly relating to moral dilemmas which the target audience are going to have to face as they navigate adolescence into adulthood.  Not that they are likely to be in the same scenario as Nash, but there are going to be challenges where they will be torn between what they know is right and what their peers are pressuring them to do.  Comprehensive teaching notes  explore these issues including how to explore the inner and outer worlds of Nash’s thinking as he grapples with the dilemma.  

In a literary world that is full of futuristic stories of fantastic heroes, this one is one that will endure long after the reader has put it down,  Ask me how I know! 

Rocks, Fossils and Formations

Rocks, Fossils and Formations

Rocks, Fossils and Formations











Rocks, Fossils and Formations

Thomas R. H. Woolrych

Anna Madeleine Raupach

CSIRO Publishing, 2023

120pp., pbk., RRP $A29.99


Travel the road between Cooma and Jindabyne in the NSW Snowy Mountains and you will see the most amazing rock formations that are as old as the planet itself.  Go to New Zealand’s South Island and visit the boulders scattered along Moeraki Beach.  Go anywhere in the world and you will discover the most amazing rocks and formations that spark questions such as how old they might be, how did they get there, why are they that colour, shape, texture and could they contain some unknown mineral or fossil treasure?

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

This new publication from CSIRO Publishing is an introduction to geoscience, which uses clues in rocks and the landscape to tell the story of the Earth. It’s a story so old and so fascinating that it’s almost hard to believe – except that the evidence can be seen all around us! It takes readers on a 4.6-billion-year-long time travel adventure to explore rocks, minerals and fossils, meet ancient plants and animals, and discover how the continent of Australia was created!

Beginning with an explanation of what geoscience is, it then navigates a 4.6 billion year history beginning with when the planet was a ball of molten magma exploring the geological timeline , enabling the independent reader who wants more than an introduction or overview be “in the driver’s seat of a time machine” so that there is a better understanding of the continent and its surrounding oceans that support our lives and lifestyles. Big-picture questions are addressed such as 

  • Has our continent always been the way it is today?
  • What is the size and shape of our continent and the surrounding sea floor? What is our continent made of?
  • How old is our continent and when did the different parts of it begin to form? What are the clues that tells us thee things?
  • Why do we live where we live? Why is this town or city here?
  • Does the way that Earth works make it safe to live here?

While it is more for the upper primary/ secondary student, with its accessible text, photographs and diagrams, it is one that will appeal to any reader who has an interest in this subject, perhaps a stepping stone for all those who are deeply inspired by the reign of the dinosaurs and want to know so much more than just the habits and habitats of those creatures and delve into even bigger secrets. Who knows what new careers might be launched!