Friday 5 August 2016

Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre by Pamela Freeman

Desert Lake by Pamela Freeman and illustrated by Liz Anelli follows the dry/full life-cycle on and in Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre.

It is possible to read Desert Lake as two separate stories. A descriptive narrative runs parallel to information text (in a different sized font) on each page.

The non-fiction story takes us through the life cycle of rain, abundance and drought that occurs in this area of South Australia every ten years or so.

"The skies above the lake are alive with birds."

While the information text gives us detailed information about the various animals, plants and unique features particular to Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre.

I've always been fascinated by how the animals, particularly the pelicans, know when the lake is full again.

Anelli's mixed media illustrations are a beautiful homage to the colours of the Australian outback. She received a grant to visit Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre for the purposes of illustrating this book. The details, colours and textures in her magnificent double page spreads feel authentic for a very good reason!

Desert Lake was a six year collaboration between Freeman and Anelli. Their shared enthusiasm and passion for this project shows in every word and every picture. It will be a sure-fire hit in every school library and it's another beautiful addition to the growing market in children's books that feature the grand, majestic and unique Nature of Australia.

I suspect this will be a CBCA shortlisted book for 2017.


  1. I first saw this at Newcastle Writers Festival back in April, I knew I should have picked it up. Of course I'm rather fascinating with Lake Eyre, and have been for a very long time. I'd love to visit one day, hopefully in flood, probably after I retire as I can't just pick up and leave. It's incredible how the birds know it's full, if only we were half as smart as birds. I'll have to check this one out, and I'm sure you're right about the awards listings.

    1. My parents visited Lake Eyre during the wet - their photos were incredible.

      For some reason I feel that one of Nancy Cato books featured a scene on Lake Eyre during the floods with raging storms and a paddle steamer. But since the Murray & Darling Rivers do not drain into Lake Eyre I must be thinking of the wrong body of water.


This blog has now moved to Wordpress.
Please visit This Reading Life to comment.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.