Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Great Expedition

The Great Expedition by Peter Carnavas (New Frontier Publishing)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921042812
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

The Great Expedition is inspired by the story of Burke and Wills who led a party of the first Europeans to traverse the Australian continent from south to the north. In The Great Expedition two young explorers led a group on a great mission to deliver a very important parcel. Like the original expedition, they encounter mishap and misadventure and achieve their ultimate goal. Fortunately, there is no tragic ending to this tale.

Carnavas’ text drew me in immediately and had me travelling the ups and downs of the expedition with the young explorers. There is plenty of humour and the gentle pastel illustrations extend the text contributing an alternative aspect to the story. The text is viewed completely through a child’s perspective. There is no ‘pretend play’ while the illustrations show reality.

This is the beauty of the story. It revels totally in the child’s world and has no adult ‘voiceover’. I loved this book and its reference to the historic Burke and Wills’ expedition and young readers are encouraged to further investigate Burke and Wills. In addition to its literary merit, The Great Expedition is perfect for introducing history to young children.

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