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.