The Great Southern Reef by Paul Venzo & Prue Francis. Illus. by Cate James

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The Great Southern Reef is another beautifully illustrated factual narrative picture book from CSIRO Publishing telling a story about the Great Southern Reef, which stretches between Western Australia and northern New South Wales. The reader is taken on a journey with Professor Seaweed and her two companions, Frankie and Sam. The story begins with a huge storm hitting the coast in the evening and clearing by the next morning. It is then the perfect time for the trio to go beachcombing. Along the way they discover many wonders of the ocean that have been washed ashore, including cuttlefish, a shark egg and shells. They also find heaps of rubbish which they collect and take home to recycle. Throughout the exploration, Professor Seaweed gives an explanation about what they have discovered and how to care for the beach and ocean environment. Unfamiliar words are highlighted and explained by the professor as well as being referenced in the Glossary at the end of the book. The book also contains a double page spread giving facts about the Great Southern Reef and a large map on the final endpapers showing the southern half of Australia and where the reef is located.

This wonderful story would be a prefect resource to share with children on June 8, World Ocean Day. For both adults and children this story will remind them of moments spent walking along a beach and searching for hidden treasures from the sea. Teacher's notes are available.

Themes: Australia, Ocean Environment, Marine Life, Nature, Ecosystems, Sustainability.

Kathryn Beilby