Friday, 20 June 2014

Meet...Captain Cook by Rae Murdie & Chris Nixon

I had put off reading through this CBCA shortlisted book as I feared a heavy-handed, worthy attempt at distilling historical facts into young children's minds!

Imagine my delight when, instead, I found an easy to read, lighthearted and even humorous tale that begins with...well, the beginning!

"Before Captain James Cook became a famous explorer, he was...a baby born in a two bedroom cottage...a schoolboy...a farmboy..."

The story features Cook's first voyage in the Endeavour to chart the transit of Venus and to explore the southern ocean for Terra Australis.

Nixon's illustrations are imbued with lovely, earthy colours. A nostalgic feel is conveyed via the clean, stylised, detailed scenes. The adult Cook is drawn with straight lines and sharp angles which makes him stand out/apart from the more flowing, gentle background scenes.

There are now 5 books in the Meet... series all written and illustrated by different people - a 6th book is due out in October Meet...Nancy Bird Walton. (Click here if you'd like to see the other 5 books). They are all easy to read snapshots of famous Australians.

The Murdie/Nixon combination is my favourite one so far.
Keeping a narrower focus than the other 4 books, has actually allowed them to concentrate the amount of detail & personality into a more satisfying & complete narrative.

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