Alight: A story of fire and nature by Sam Lloyd. Illus. by Samantha Metcalfe

cover image
We are introduced to five things which will be the focus of this entertaining and informative book about fire and its use in the Australian bush. The Eucalypt tree, the Wallum Banksia, Christmas Bells, Wallum Sedge Frog and Antechinus have the tale of the fire woven around them and their behaviour during a bush fire.
The eucalypt watches over the people lighting a spot fire, knowing it will be controlled by them and necessary for the animals to smell the smoke and find a hiding place, while being  a reminder to plants that this means a time for new growth to appear. So the Wallum Banksia divests itself of the seed pods waiting for the fire to open them, the Christmas bells wait for the fire to initiate the splendid bells to appear, dragonflies and damsel-flies shelter amongst the sedges while the frog looks for a place to hide. The antechinus burrows into the tiny tree hollow, and smaller animals, ants and beetles live under the topsoil, protected from the fire, while seeds that have lain dormant for years wait to be germinated by the fire. As the fire passes, it rains, helping the bush to recover and germinate. Fungi begins to grow at the base of the trees, seeds germinate, small animals reappear, larger animals hunt for food, Christmas Bells appear and these attract honeyeaters, bees and ants. The cycle of fire and regrowth has come full circle as the bush recovers. 
Stunning illustrations accompany the story making sure readers will understand the flora and fauna mentioned in the text. The delicate small insects and animals, larger trees plants, and larger animals are all shown with detailed accuracy, ensuring every reader will watch out for them next time they venture into the bush. 
The endpapers will grab their attention as they spot things read about in the book, while the glossary will inform and educate the readers. Teacher's notes are available and the author has shared why fire management and healthy fire is so important.

Themes: Australian bush, Australian flora and fauna, Fire, Regeneration.

Fran Knight