Meet Captain Cook by Rae Murdie
Ill. by Chris Nixon. Random House, 2013. ISBN 9780857980175.
In this, the third in this series of picture books introducing our younger readers to those who have contributed so much to Australia, we meet Captain James Cook. While it might be said that there couldn't possibly be room for yet another book about Cook on the shelves, this one has the younger reader, the one for whom the name Cook is still unknown, in mind. Succinctly dealing with his younger life, the story picks up with the beginning of the journey which was to lay the foundation for Australia's future and tells the story that we all know.
Fitting neatly into the history strand of the Australian National Curriculum for Years 3-4 this is a text written at a level for this audience, its picture book format adding to its appeal. It is accompanied by a timeline which continues on to later travels as well as easy-to-interpret maps on the endpapers. Written in a way that draws the reader into a story rather than just a series of facts and figures, this is a perfect introduction to the topic that teaches as it tells.
Others in this excellent series focus on Ned Kelly and Mary MacKillop, with a new title about Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson due for publication early 2014.