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Rainbow the Koala by Remy Lai

Title: Rainbow the Koala

A koala hanging in a gum tree against a rainbow sky. Rainbow the Koala by Remy Lai.

Author: Remy Lai

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Published: 12th April 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 112

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: A heartfelt and hopeful early reader graphic novel series featuring adorable animals surviving in the wilderness despite the perils of climate change, from the award-winning creator of Pawcasso.

Hi! I’m Rainbow and I’m a koala. My mum says it’s time for me to go out and find a new home to call my own. But life in the bush can be scary! It’s hard to find the perfect tree. A kookaburra keeps laughing at me. It’s hot and I’m thirsty and … do I smell smoke?

From the creator of Pawcasso comes an inspiring graphic novel series for young readers, the perfect introduction to the wonders and perils of the natural world – and how we can all do our part to protect it.

~*~

Rainbow the Koala is ready to leave home, and find his own tree, away from his mum. But everyone else has all the trees, and birds keep taking his fur for their nests. But soon, a bushfire comes, and burns the bush where Rainbow is living. What will happen to Rainbow and his home?

Remy Lai’s new series of graphic novels looks at climate change and environmental issues in an accessible way for younger readers, through the eyes of animals like Rainbow, who are experiencing the fires firsthand. It is a clever way to explore these issues, and quote sobering because we begin to understand what the impacts are beyond what we experience.

Remy has written and illustrated this book herself, and it is one of the first two books released in this series. For me, it was an easy read, though reading graphic novels isn’t as familiar to me. I’ve only just started reading them and find that these ones are really good for reluctant readers and confident readers, as they have a great plot and the images work just as well to tell the story as the words do. Some of the images have no words, and this makes them very evocative – like the blackened bush towards the end of the book.

It also gives hope – hope that people will work together to overcome crises and work towards saving the environment. Whilst Rainbow’s story explores recent events, it does so sensitively, and presents it in an easy way for younger readers to engage with and open discussions about bushfires and climate change, and how it affects everyone in many ways.

Books like this are important to open up discussions about issues that are pertinent, yet in some ways, ignored or not discussed because people do not want to think about them, and possibly because people in power are ignoring or refusing to acknowledge the issues surrounding climate change. It was a beautifully  conceived and evocative story that everyone, regardless of age, should have access to.

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