Friday 22 March 2019

The Great Lizard Trek

The Great Lizard Trek by Felicity Bradshaw and illustrated by Norma MacDonald. Non-Fiction Picture Book. RRP $24.99   ISBN: 9781486308828

Reviewed by Vanessa Ryan-Rendall 

Written by Felicity Bradshaw and illustrated by Norma MacDonald, an Aboriginal Yamatji artist, The Great Lizard Trek is an excellent addition to the science, geography and sustainability curriculum in classrooms. It is also a wonderful book for family homes where nature lovers will delight in looking at the detailed illustrations, the maps and the reasons why we need to care more for the world we live in.
The Great Lizard Trek takes us on a journey from the north to the south coast of Western Australia. Along this journey we meet the different types of lizards who live in this part of the world and learn their indigenous name and the indigenous country they come from. Not only do we learn about these lizards we also learn that they are having to move from the places they have always lived because of climate change. Many lizards cannot cope well with extreme heat, lack of water, too much water or lack of shelter. And we often forget that reptiles play just as an important role in the ecosystem as mammals and marsupials do – not as cute and cuddly so they just don’t get the attention.
We learnt a lot about different lizards and were especially surprised by goannas and how important temperature was for the development of their eggs. If the eggs get too hot all the babies will be girls, and this is a big problem for the future.
The Great Lizard Trek is a book you can read in one sitting or one you can take your time with, drawing on information, flipping to the maps included at the back and the front of the books and doing a bit of your own extra research. The story is engaging, as are the lizard characters we meet. The dialogue between the characters adds lots of fun to these reptiles that often get ignored!
Norma MacDonald’s illustrations are highly detailed and the background for each lizard is a reminder of where they live and the conditions in which they live.
Reptiles are amazing creatures that live in Australia – and we have so many of them. This book is a great wake up call for all readers to see how human actions are having huge ramifications on the animal world.
Luckily for these lizards the outcome seems to be good – but will it always stay this way? Will there be a part two? I’m not sure if the part two will be as positive.
The Great Lizard Trek is an excellent book to discuss climate change from a different angle, various reptiles and to learn more about indigenous language, culture and country.

Vanessa Ryan-Rendall is a teacher-librarian (St Mark’s, Drummoyne) and a gifted educator (Sydney CEO Gifted Education) 

Book reviews, links to literacy and ideas to create globally conscious children can be found on 

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