2 Feb 2012

Bushland and Seashore

I don't know why it is that we haven't heard more of this book in Aussie Homeschool circles. Subtitled An Australian Nature Adventure, Bushland and Seashore is just that - an adventure in words and pictures into the world of unspoiled Australia. It's a beauty. Written and sublimely illustrated by Aussie-born artist, Robin Hill, this is the book of a born naturalist. His paintings are accurate, and his observations of Australian wildlife are detailed and fascinating. He manages to paint stories of the most simple of Australian landscapes.
As it says in the Introduction, written by Graham Pizzey (whoever he is):
Robin Hill has immersed himself in Australia until it comes out of the pores of his painting and his writing. His method has been "to gaze so long and often that there is a penetration of fur or feathers or bark". For a naturalist, this is the essence of field observation. For a natural artist, it is the essence.

Chapters are divided into regions: Seashores; Scrub and Heathlands; Forest Country; The Open Plains; Swamp and Stream; The Arid Inland. The writing is elegant, the vocabulary expansive but not ridiculous. Written primarily for adults, it is easily understood by my AO5 daughter, and we are using it this Term One of AO5 as a substitute for the North American Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton. Her narrations of the first few chapters have been excellent.

Sadly, there is an evolutionary bias in the Introduction and the first two chapters. I have used this as an opportunity to discuss our alternative beliefs. I believe it is important for my daughter to understand both what we believe, as well as the predominant belief of today, that of old earth evolution. It has not been an issue to me, but I like to warn you before you purchase the book.

Published in 1962, Bushland and Seashore was Highly Commended as Picture Book of the Year by The Children's Book Council of Australia in 1963. (A very auspicious year, me thinks.)

Out of print, of course, Bushland and Seashore is available at a reasonable price from Abe. I recommend it.

8 comments:

  1. What a beautiful looking book! The artwork is gorgeous. :)

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  2. Oh cool! Another one to look out for:)

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  3. do you know that style looks familiar, trying to find what books I have that he has illustrated, no luck, but I'm sure I've seen it before. I think a book about moo poke?

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  4. Don't know if you are familiar with this book -'Where the Forest Meets the Sea', I love the photographic backgrounds.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Where-Forest-Meets-Jeannie-Baker/dp/0744513057/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1328363670&sr=8-4

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  5. The art won me over immediately. Isn't it a blessing to be able to enjoy the best of books?

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