An Amazing Australian Road Trip, Jackie Hosking, illustrated by Lesley Vamos. Walker Books, Hardcover. Isbn 978 1 760650 76 6, 2021.
It is aunty’s 60th birthday and her family decide to celebrate her special day with a picnic and birthday cake at an amazing locale.
So the family pack up the car with everything they may need as well as an enormous birthday cake and leave their home town Melbourne to journey west.
There is also a statement on the opening double page spread that hints that there will be so much more to discover in this book when the reader is asked if he/she can find some of the… ‘…19 World Heritage listed properties…’ listed in the book.
The first stop is the 12 Apostles where the family bring the cake to the viewing platform but don’t eat it.
From here the family journey further west, discovering more interesting places along the way, including Coober Pedy (I particularly loved the illustrations here, especially the toilet scene). Then they change direction and head north to Broome, from here changing direction again in order to visit many other famous Australian landmarks, all the while trying to find the best place to wish aunty a Happy Birthday and eat the cake.
As well as the story of the family’s birthday journey, Hosking has added extra information about each location they are in. For example when the family are in Kakadu some of the information includes …‘Kakadu is home to more than 10,000 crocodiles…and 2000 different types of plants.’
The book is choc-full of vibrant illustrations, with each location featured on its own double page spread.
Like any good picture book the illustrations both serve to underline and enhance the existing text, for example when aunty decides she will climb the stairs to the moon (love the faces on the grown ups) or the majesty of Uluru is so richly illustrated.
As well, Vamos has added extra humorous drawings within the story which children and their readers love to find. As I said, I loved the Coober Pedy section of the story particularly, both for the humour and geological extras included, or going back to the beginning the things the family pack seem a little excessive!
There is a lot in this book, it features many stunning places of Australia as well as the story of an Australian family wanting to share a special celebration.
Oh and where, or if ,does aunty eat her cake?
You will need to read the story but for me it was such a suitably Aussie ending to this tale.
17th Feb. 2021.