Where do penguins go to dance?
The book illustrates author Tanya Patrick’s journey through the scenes and science of one of the most fascinating parts of the planet.
Children and parents alike will be spellbound as Tanya covers topics ranging from thinning sea ice to snotty elephant seals, accompanied by quirky and poignant drawings by artist Nicholas Hutcheson.
Scattered with questions from readers of Scientriffic, CSIRO’s popular science magazine for children, Polar Eyes uses interviews with scientists, amazing photos and hands-on activities to illustrate the sheer diversity of Australia’s Antarctic science program. The story running through Polar Eyes makes it read less like a textbook and more like a jumping-off point for a whole range of science topics.
“For example, people may not know that understanding more about microorganisms found beneath the icy crusts of frozen Antarctic lakes could help in the development of more environmentally friendly laundry detergents,” Tanya said.
Tanya hopes that Polar Eyes will motivate kids to explore their own interests and the environment around them.
The hands-on-activities will bring Antarctic science to your kitchen or classroom. They vary from the tempting: making an edible Antarctica, to the serious: surviving in a white out. The whole family will be kept busy building everything from weather stations to mini-biospheres, all from objects we often throw out in the recycling.
It’s also packed with odd facts to entertain young minds, such as bugs that can be freeze-dried and brought back to life, and how Antarctic scientists have to pollinate cucumber flowers with paintbrushes in their insect-free hydroponic gardens.
“I received nearly 2,000 questions from children across Australia before I set sail,” Tanya said.
“They wanted to know about the penguins of course, but also really basic things — from what clothes you need to wear to survive Antarctica’s extreme conditions, to the day-to-day experience of living in Antarctica, so I tried to capture scientists’ everyday lives in the book.”
She said one of the highlights of visiting Antarctica was a twilight helicopter flight along the coast from Australia’s Davis Station to visit a Weddell seal colony.
“When we landed, about 30 Weddell seals were lying about on the sea ice and I felt fortunate to stare into the eyes of a wild animal — in this case a very sleepy Weddell seal in its natural habitat,” she said.
Polar Eyes is available for $24.95 through CSIRO at: www.csiroshop.com
About the author:
Tanya Patrick is the Editor of Scientriffic magazine, which is published by CSIRO’s Double Helix Science Club. She travelled to Antarctica as a recipient of the Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowship Program.
The original artwork and photography from Polar Eyes will be on display at the Antarctic Art exhibition from May 11 to June 5 at Parliament House. The exhibition is part of the Australian Science Festival program.
Download images at: Where do penguins go to dance?
- The book illustrates author Tanya Patrick’s journey through the scenes and science of one of the most fascinating parts of the planet
- Children and parents alike will be spellbound as Tanya covers topics ranging from thinning sea ice to snotty elephant seals, accompanied by quirky and poignant drawings by artist Nicholas Hutcheson