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Jackie French, Bruce Whatley

This is a story that shows how strong and devastating flood water can be to homes and livelihoods. It is inspired by the 2011 Queensland floods but it could be about any of the disasters that strike our land, and the events that turn everyday Australians into heroes. Flood depicts water mercilessly ripping through Queensland towns and then receding, leaving destruction and devastation in its wake. Told from the perspective of a cattle dog who is separated from his family, Flood helps children to understand the affects of a traumatic natural disaster without being too confronting, while the story of the little tugboat that pushes a boardwalk out to sea, staving off further disaster, gives smaller children a hero they can relate to. Flood is a beautiful and timely expression of the strength of the Australian spirit during times of adversity.


The water brings relief to the dry land initially, but it quickly becomes the enemy as the river bursts its banks and turns into a flood. This picture book depicting the recent Queensland floods has a simple but powerful storyline. But the real star of the book is Bruce Whatley’s evocative watercolours, many taken from an aerial perspective and featuring a lone cattle dog, that cleverly evince the small victory of a tiny tugboat or the banding together of humans against the overwhelming forces of nature. As the waters retreat, aid emerges from friends and strangers to help life return to some semblance of normality.

With all profits raised going to the Flood Disaster Relief Appeal, this beautiful picture book helps explain Australia’s extreme weather events to children and shows how we cope as a nation.

Angela Crocombe is a childrens' book specialist at Readings St Kilda.


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