About Me

My photo
Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Among the Islands by Tim Flannery

I've been waiting for months for this book to come out, chiefly because it is about two things I find fascinating: the Pacific Islands and biology. Tim Flannery is a scientist and author who has written extensively on prehistoric Australia, mammals of Australia and New Guinea, Climate change and Australian explorers. Among the Islands follows his work as a young field scientist gathering specimens and data in the islands of Melanesia. 
Among the Islands (2011, Text Publishing)
   He travels to islands in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia searching for bats, rats, wallabies and possums. I was amazed to read that Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands was once home to three large rats, one as big as a cat even. I remember well the rats that lived in my house in Guadalcanal, gnawing through the walls and electrical cabling almost every night. I was pretty sure they were only regular sized rats. I think I would have totally freaked if they were as big as cats!
A cuscus from Woodlark Island in
PNG. Source: Tim Flannery.
   I was really thrilled to see he had also been to Makira, (another island where I lived for a while), looking for bats.  There are certainly lots of them there! (Each October night I remember the fruit bats squealed in the mango tree outside my bedroom.)  Among the Islands is filled with funny stories of Flannery's travels. Flannery manages to present unfamiliar island customs to the Western reader with sensitivity and understanding. Apart from his muddling east and west in one paragraph about Guadalcanal, I felt totally at home with his descriptions of the Solomon Islands.
   If you are interested in zoology this book is a treasure, and for our Pacific Island friends, this book gives a good account of some of your disappearing wildlife. Maybe this is a good one for a Christmas stocking!

No comments:

Post a Comment