The Great Lizard Trek

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Felicity Bradshaw (Text), and Norma MacDonald (illustrator), The Great Lizard Trek, CSIRO Publishing, August 2018, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781486308828

The climate is changing.  It is too hot for the lizards of the north so they must relocate; find a new home further south on the granite rocks of south-west Australia where they hope it may be cooler, a place where their eggs can hatch and youngsters survive.

So, The Great Lizard Trek begins; first with the lizards who are joined by the dragons, then the geckos come along followed by the goannas – encouraged by the crow, nature’s broadcaster, to join the exodus to a safer place.

The Great Lizard Trek is a beautiful and intimate depiction of a group of animals from outback Australia.  The melding of indigenous and western language is superbly undertaken; informative in storybook format and so engaging to read.  This book is a remarkable coming together of art, science and knowledge of the land.  The illustrations by Norma MacDonald, an Aboriginal Yamatji artist, are quite breathtaking with their heated landscapes and rocky outcrops.  The inclusion of the patterns, textures and totems of our indigenous people are the “icing on the cake”.

The comprehensive Teachers Notes for Years 2 to 5 contain a wealth of resources at a variety of levels for development of the themes within this book; themes we all need to understand for the future – climate change, greenhouse emissions, the frailty of our indigenous animals, human impact on the land, the importance of country, and the cycle of life.  The Great Lizard Trek is a must-have for every school library and classroom.

Thank you Felicity and Norma.

Reviewed by Jennifer Mors

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