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The Waterhole
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About the Author

Graeme Base is one of the world's leading creators of picture books. His alphabet book Animalia, received international acclaim when it was first published in 1986, and has achieved classic status with worldwide sales approaching three million copies. It has now inspired an animated TV series. Other favourites by Graeme Base include The Eleventh Hour, My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch, The Sign of the Seahorse, The Discovery of Dragons, The Worst Band in the Universe,The Waterhole (and The Waterhole Board Book), Jungle Drums and Uno's Garden. In 2007 this last title featured in six major awards and was winner of three- Speech Pathology Book of the Year, younger readers; The Green Earth Book, USA; The Wilderness Society Environment Award. In 2003, his first novel for young readers, TruckDogs, was released. It was short-listed for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards the following year. In 2009 Graeme produced the the fascinating, beautiful and challenging book Enigma; can you crack the code? Graeme's most recent book is The Last King of Angkor Wat. Graeme lives in Melbourne with his artist wife, Robyn, and their three children - James, Kate and Will. Visit graemebase.com

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Readers will find more to see the longer they linger over the enticing pages of Base's (Animalia) latest innovative effort. Successive spreads introduce a growing number of animals (from one rhino to 10 kangaroos) at a water hole which, as viewed through die-cut ovals of progressively decreasing size, becomes smaller with each turn of the page. Though the minimal, somewhat quirky text makes no reference to the locale depicted in each mixed-media painting, images in the background of the various landscapes help pinpoint the country or continent in focus (e.g., Mount Rushmore is visible through the trees that flank five North American moose lapping up water and the Great Wall of China looms behind seven thirsty pandas). Borders at the top and bottom of each spread feature silhouettes of 10 animals indigenous to the spotlighted locale. In the accompanying illustration, Base cleverly conceals renderings of these creatures, subtly working them into the vegetation and sometimes into the remarkably lifelike images of the featured animals themselves. Keeping these creatures company and adding a dose of whimsy to the visuals is a cast of diminutive frogs, bedecked in pearls, knit caps and shirts. Though the animals disappear when the water hole dries up, rain eventually falls and the earth springs back to life. Base's final panorama reveals all the species gathered peacefully at one much larger water hole, bringing his story to a hopeful close. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 3 Up-Come to the water hole and immerse yourself in an extravagant experience. The offering from a master of visual delight is at once a counting book, a zoological tour, and a fascinating hidden-picture challenge. As 10 different animals from 10 different countries come to quench their thirst, a metaphorical water hole diminishes until it dries up completely and the visitors leave. Then the cycle begins again with a single drop of water, a torrent of rain, and a luxuriant new watering hole that draws all of the creatures back again. With a quarter page of simple counting text and three-quarters page of sumptuous watercolor and gouache, the story unfolds on many levels. The water hole itself is a concentric cutout oval that shrinks from page to page. There are silhouettes in the borders of the creatures indigenous to each country and those same animals are hidden in the dense background. A comic note is added with 10 frogs, some wearing clothes, whose numbers also decrease as the water dries up. While some children may miss the illustrative subtleties indicating that each water hole is actually in a different part of the world, this numerical and ecological companion to Animalia (Abrams, 1987) is a visual treat.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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