Dry To Dry : The Seasons Of Kakadu – Book Review

Frank Sinatra popularised a song in the late 60’s that contained the lyrics “Regrets, I’ve had a few But then again, too few to mention”. My Way – can you hear it playing in your head now? – has recently been knocked off the top of the charts as the most popular song to have played at a funeral. As at last October the perennial favourite dropped to number two in the annual rankings, being replaced by Gerry & The Pacemakers’ You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Anyway, I totally get the sentiment. Even with Covid my life has been blessed. My only personal regret is not having made it to the Northern Territory to visit my daughter due to border closures, especially following the arrival of the country’s finest project, young Harry Kilom.

Kakadu National Park is in the Northern Territory, roughly 180 south east of Darwin, the capital city. It covers an area of 19,804 km2 making it the second largest national park in Australia. It is the size of Wales and nearly half the size of Switzerland to give you some perspective.

Our First Nations people have occupied the Kakadu area continuously for at least 40,000 years. Kakadu National Park is renowned for the richness of its Aboriginal cultural sites as well as the diversity of the fauna and flora. Its cultural and natural values were recognised internationally when the park was World Heritage Listed.

Dry To Dry : The Seasons Of Kakadu won an award in the 2021 Children’s Book Council Of Australia for “books which have the prime intention of documenting factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style.

Written by Pamela Freeman this book explores the changing seasons of Kakadu – the Dry and the Wet, then back to Dry – and how this impacts on the animals and plants that live in the region. Liz Anelli’s illustrations are simple though easily recognisable even by younger readers.

Each page includes a simple storyline about the environment in its various stages and in a different font at the bottom of each page is a paragraph of factual information, though still in language for younger readers to understand.

Interestingly, although we label the seasons of Kakadu the Dry and the Wet our Indigenous people believe that there are indeed six seasons. This is important because following the seasons is vital for their food supply.

One of the greatest dangers to the natural environment of Kakadu is the Cane Toad, imported in the early 1900’s to combat beetles hurting our sugar cane industry and which are poisonous to our native birdlife and marsupials. A note at the end of the book gives thanks to “the native water rats who have figured out how to safely eat cane toads”.

This is one beautiful children’s book and if you are unable to visit the NT it isn’t a bad substitute. Young Harry Kilom just loves the baru – crocodiles.

( For Gum Trees And Galaxies Gaia/ Nature Reading Challenge ).

16 thoughts on “Dry To Dry : The Seasons Of Kakadu – Book Review

  1. What a lovely book! And so beautifully illustrated. I have only been to the Northern Territory once, and that was years ago in my teens, and we only made it as far as Uluru. The Top End is definitely on my bucket list, some time in the future. Great start to the Gaia Challenge.

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  2. The Kakadu Park you must visit May. I have fond memories of spending a week exploring it in a camper van in 1986. Would love to revisit. That book looks beautiful and I checked it out from the library. I see she has written others about Australia, so i’ve also ordered “Amazing Australian women, 12 women who shaped history” and “Desert lake : The story of Kati Thanda- Lale Eyre”. Good reading for these wet days.

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    1. Yes, I too will have to check out Desert Lake. Did organise tickets to a marquise for the Darwin Cup including a swish frock I am yet to wear followed by a week exploring country and then on to Gove where Pocahontas was residing. Sad it didn’t happen but fingers crossed for sometime soon….I still have the grandfurbaby here so not much reading happening. I’m so itching to get into the garden. Next week.
      If you are interested in Amazing Australian Women check out my wordpress site Trailblazing Women Of Australia. This was a lockdown project with a friend because we didn’t think our women received nearly enough recognition. Happy Weekend!

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    1. I have been to Darwin which is as fascinating with its WW2 history as it is beautiful. I missed out on visiting the rest of the NT because of border closures. My daughter who lived in East Arnham Land has just relocated. Several issues travelling to the area at the moment : 1. With restricted travel everyone is travelling at home so unless you have a caravan or mobile home it is often not possible to find accomodation 2. It’s a damn big country and you need to avoid the wet season. 3. Roughly 4.5k kms drive away. Don’t worry though – travel plans in the mix. 🙂

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  3. Sharon

    Great choice and I think Kakadu and the top end is on a lot of bucket lists. We live in such an amazing country. And what a lovely book for kids, the illustrations look great and the information about the environment and first nations knowledge is wonderful. Love that the water rats have figured out how to deal with cane toads.

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    1. Darwin is a lovely city : aesthetically pleasing, fresh fruits with a tropical flavour in abundance, a multicultural influence that makes it interesting, and a rich history. Unfortunately, this time of the year the heat drags on and locals have a tendency to go “troppo”. I love visiting the joint though……
      Happy weekend:)

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  4. Pingback: Wombats and wonder – Gum trees and Galaxies

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