By Claire Saxby Illustrated by Jess Racklyeft
Iceberg by Claire Saxby illustrated by Jess Racklyeft 2021 Published by Allen and Unwin
I have been a fan and friend of Claire for a long time now and am just blown away by this non-fiction Picture Book. The poetry in the text mirrors the splintery, cold and icy world of the Antarctic.
‘In the pale morning an iceberg calves- shears from a glacier
and plunges to the ocean in a haze of sparkle-frost.
The iceberg is flat-topped, sharp and angular
and carries ancient weather in its layers of ice-clothing;
a coat for each year volcanoes blew
and black ash fell like snow.’
Claire uses repetition: ‘If this world looks empty,
Look closer.’ It forms a motif and a continuity for the narrative.
And as the narrative unfolds and the gorgeous blues, white and black of Jess Racklyeft’s artwork also unfolds. Then the colour of summer delights with orange, smudged yellow and the most delectable squid and jellyfish are revealed in fold out flap pages. We have a whole undersea panorama of movement reflecting shadow and filtered sunlight.
The world around the iceberg reverberates with squid, krill, birds, orca and short-tailed shearwaters. It is fascinating to be drawn into this icy world and to recognise the importance of an iceberg calving! Love that description! I remember when Claire first shared her Iceberg poem and I pointed out that I found an iceberg calving strange (as an ex dairy farmer) She reassured me this was the correct terminology and what a visual and literary feast we have now in this book. A precious gem to read, share and reread again.
Thanks Claire and Jess for a great book!