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Christobel Mattingley (2012): My father's islands: Abel Tasman's heroic voyages.

Christobel Mattingley (2012)

My father's islands: Abel Tasman's heroic voyages

National Library of Australia: Canberra.

This is a story of a young girl's devotion to her father, her unflagging interest in his stories of his travels and the people he meets, and the dangers he encounters. Her father encourages her questions in return, frankly answering them, and addressing her obvious concern for his well being. She also offers her own frank comments on the stories, and on the answers to those questions, as well as on what she sees and hears for herself. But this girl's father is the seafaring explorer, Abel Tasman, and their affectionate relationship gives this tale of exploration around Australia and its near neighbours a very human appeal, as well as the added dimensions of original maps, drawings and paintings to give it life. Not only that, Christobel Mattingley draws on some powerful images in her writing to evoke that sense of the heroic suggested in the sub-title:

Towering, thundering waves. Curling, crashing, sucking, swirling, surging, swelling waves. Swallowing the ships, sweeping the decks, submerging the sailors. The shivering, shuddering, sodden sailors clinging to spars, clutching at ropes, as they feared each gasping, gulping breath was their last' (p. 131).

It is powerful imagery, poetic in scope, and the book resonates with it. If we wanted to show children how and when to flout the rules of sentence construction for effect (and based on their knowledge of these rules), there are plenty of good examples here.

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Article Details
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Author:Zeegers, Margaret
Publication:Practically Primary
Article Type:Children's review
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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