Saturday 18 August 2012

Shy the Platypus

Shy the Platypus Shy the Platypus by Leslie Rees (National Library of Australia)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9780642277411
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

Some books are classics that speak to each generation of readers; Shy the Platypus is one of these. Originally published in Sydney during World War Two (1944), Leslie Rees' story of Shy the platypus growing up in the Australian bush will be enjoyed as much today as it was seventy years ago.

We first meet Shy in the nest with her mother and brother. The two young platypuses grow and learn until it is time for them to make their own homes. Shy ventures into the world and meets her own mate and the life cycle continues.

Leslie Rees love and knowledge of Australian fauna and flora shines through in this tale which weaves a captivating story with a real sense of the bush in all its beauty and danger, including that most vicious of creatures-humans.

One highlight is the inclusion of artwork from the National Library's own collection. The introduction by Rees' daughter Dymphna Peterson provides an intimate insight into Leslie Rees and his work. Included are photographs and corrected typescripts of Rees' own manuscripts. Another bonus is the scientific information about platypuses.

The book is superbly presented and would make a perfect gift. It is a book to treasure and to hand on to the next generation.

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