Sunday 15 April 2018

CBCA Eve Pownall Information Book Shortlist 2018

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

Books entered into this category should intend to document factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style, for kids aged anywhere between 0-18 years. 

The 2018 shortlist for the Eve Pownall Award looks a little like this: 

Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost (Illustrator)

Can microbes be made fun for kids? Ben-Barak, a microbiologist amongst other things, thinks so. Min is a cartoon-style microbe whose interactive approach to teaching us about microorganisms is designed to get kids excited and wondering...and washing their hands!

M is for Mutiny! History by Alphabet by John Dickon and Bern Emmerichs (Illustrator) 

An Australian alphabet viewed with an Indigenous perspective in mind. Each letter depicts well-known historical people and events as seen with a European and a first peoples point of view - from first settlement, to William Bligh, from Joseph Banks to the naming of our flora and fauna and from Yemmerrawanne to Terra nullius. Indigenous peoples and culture gets to shine right alongside that of the European settlers to embrace our shared history.

My only concern is a couple of factual glitches that jumped out at me. I'm not sure the Captain Cook was actually eaten by the natives of Hawaii in 1779, but the line in question may have just been a fun, throw away line said for effect rather than authenticity. I'm also not really sure that you could say that the area around The Domain is the Parramatta River either. Yes, technically the Parramatta River flows through Sydney Harbour and out to sea, but it's not really how we think of this body of water. Perhaps, though, there is an Indigenous perspective here that I'm unaware of?

Left & Right by Lorna Hendry

A sturdy yet soft, flexy book cover full of fascinating facts and figures about lefties and righties. From tips on how to remember which is which, to what ambidextrous means plus ancient beliefs, unusual customs and misconceptions. Curious but true information about reflections, symmetry, clockwise, spirals and our brains plus little known facts about left and right in the animal kingdom.
Clear photography and graphics illustrate the various points and facts being made throughout.

Amazing Australians in Their Flying Machines by Prue & Kerry Mason and Tom Jellett (Illustrator) 

Prue and Kerry Mason are both pilots who like to restore classic aircraft. In this book they share with us their love of flying in this book about ten of our early aviators. They include 'amazing facts' and 'did you know?' text boxes for each pilot as well as their planes and aviation in general. Jellett uses old photographs, illustrations and humour to bring the text to life.

The Big Book of Antarctica by Charles Hope

This is one of those books that is very school-y in style and intent, which isn't to say that the photography isn't stunning. It is, but it felt rather dry to me. A worthy contender but nothing outstanding.

Koala by Claire Saxby and Julie Vivas (Illustrator).

A coming of age story for our young koala as he leaves his mother and his tree to find his very own tree. Naturally he faces a few adventures and hazards along the way. Saxby dots the story with little fact checks while Vivas dots the illustrations with love and tenderness.

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