Monday, 13 June 2016

Desert Lake: the Story of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre

Desert Lake: the Story of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre by Pamela Freeman, illustrated by Liz Anelli (Walker Books)
HC RRP $ 24.99
ISBN 9781921529436

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This beautifully illustrated book begins with its eye-catching cover - front and back. It’s another book from the award winning Nature Storybook series. 

Colours immediately draw us to the red earth of the dry desert of central Australia. The end pages depict the fossils and waiting plants and insects hidden deep beneath the lake’s surface. The title pages are the colour of the desert sky; a singular blue owned by the area. Without boundaries, it floats above the salt white cover of Lake Eyre. Countless birds are imprinted on the background, all travelling in the same direction.

The layout is presented in double spreads. Full page illustrations, carry the narrative story in large text at the top, and the facts in smaller text at the bottom; two stories in one. Mixed media is used to create the illustrations.

Lake Eyre is the largest salt lake in Australia, situated in northern South Australia. Life sleeps beneath its salt crust. It waits for the rain.

The torrent comes from the north, flooding the riverbeds.

Everything awakens and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre fills with pulsing life.  Birds of all kinds set out, and prepare to nest at the Lake. Animals come to drink. Flowers blaze as colour floods the area.

When the rain is gone, the river starts to dry up again. Frogs and shrimps bury their eggs deep in the soft lake floor. The birds leave. The sun returns the lake to its dry state until the next rain falls.

Stunning in every way, this book is breathtaking in its beauty and highlights Lake Eyre before and after the rains. Text and illustrations are perfectly blended.  A visual feast, this book is a collector’s delight. It will also be snatched up by tourists. Libraries and schools will want it as part of their collections for use as a valuable reference and teaching tool.

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