Ask people to name a famous reef in Australia and most will identify the Great Barrier Reef. However, there is another reef that is equally as impressive. Spanning along the south coast of Australia - all the way from New South Wales to Western Australia - is one of the country’s best kept secrets and hidden gems. The Great Southern Reef is over 8,000 kilometres long and home to over 5,000 different species including 400 different forms of red seaweed that are endemic to the reef. Thanks to CSIRO Publishing the reef will hopefully become much more prolific with the younger generations.
Professor Seaweed is passionate about the beaches and the oceans near her home. And the morning after a storm is the perfect time for a spot of beach-combing to explore the treasures from the ocean that have washed up onto the shore. Frankie and Sam are keen to explore too and with fascinating plants and incredible animals all calling the reef home, there is lots to get excited about. But what will the trio find…
The Great Southern Reef is celebrated and championed in this delightful non-fiction narrative. With Professor Seaweed as expert guide, Frankie and Sam, along with readers, uncover the secrets of the reef and discover a rich and diverse ecosystem that teems with life. Colourful pages are full of beach treasures and marine life as the knowledgable professor shares information on all of the terrific things that the children discover on their day of beach-combing. The inquisitive trio do a brilliant job of bringing marine life into the spotlight with cuttlefish and molluscs, rock-pools and anemones, shark eggs and seagrass meadows, kelp and sea lettuce, fish and sea dragons, crabs and lobsters, urchins and sponges all being observed and celebrated in this marvellous marine-fest.
Unfortunately, the children find plenty of things that don’t belong on the beach but their clean-up efforts raise the issue of our duty to help keep beaches and oceans clean. This isn’t the only valuable lesson offered by Professor Seaweed on the day of exploring; the importance of respecting nature, exploring responsibly, being a good conservationist and not taking things home are all touched upon.
Whether children live near the Great Southern Reef or not, Professor Seaweed is sure to inspire them to care and protect about the beaches and oceans near to home and to get out exploring to see the treasures for themselves. Back-matter includes facts and additional information about the Great Southern Reef and a glossary, a map can be found on the closing end paper. Further resources can be found in the excellent teaching notes provided by the publisher.
With huge thanks to CSIRO Publishing for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 5+.