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It is the 1640s and Claesgen lives in Batavia with her stepmother, Jannetje, waiting weeks, and sometimes months, for her father, Abel Tasman, to come back from his sea voyages. When he returns, Tasman delights his young daughter with tales of treacherous oceans and relentless wild weather, hazards of unseen coral reefs and endless days of empty ocean, encounters - both friendly and hostile - with indigenous peoples, murder and theft, and the threat of smugglers and pirates.
Inspired by a 1637 painting of the Tasman family by Jacob Cuyp and meticulously researched, 'My Father's Islands' is a fictional story told through the voice of Claesgen. Tasman's young daughter's curiosity about her father's life takes the reader on his voyage on the unchartered seas of the Pacific Ocean, in the search for unknown lands and new sources of riches for the powerful trading company, the Dutch East India Company.
Either a gift for young readers or an invaluable resource for the classroom, 'My Father's Islands' opens up to children a significant, but little known, part of Australia's history - the European discovery of parts of the Unknown South Land by the heroic explorer and navigator, Abel Janszoon Tasman.
Christobel Mattingley, one of Australia's most respected and admired writers, has written over 50 books. In 1990, she received an Advance Australia Medal for her contribution to literature in Australia and in 2011 she was nominated for the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Awards by the International Board on Books for Young People.
This is a very good book with an interesting story to tell that is historically correct based on actual journals, maps and illustrations. It tells the story of Abel Tasman - his life and his sea voyages, as told by his daughter, Claesgen. It is set in the 1640's and explains in great detail what the voyages were like for her father, Abel Tasman. It is presented in a different way and I believe that this adds to its appeal.
My husband is not an avid reader but when he saw the book and read the blurb on the back, he asked to read it which is unusual. He liked the book and would recommend it. As it says on the back, anyone from 9 to 90 would enjoy it and I believe that this is the case. It has universal appeal for both boys and girls but I would probably recommend it to boys as it contains nautical themes and accounts of voyages.
One thing I didn't like about the book was the continual use of footnotes at the end of each page. I appreciate that some terms need an explanation but I would rather have this done throughout the text, either in brackets or with commas. The fact that I had to continually read the footnotes made the story not flow for me. I understand that many of the terms were unknown and therefore needed an explanation but I didn't like how it was done.
An extremely well written book which provided many insights into what life was like for adventurers in the past and told in a way that was interesting and unusual. I would highly recommend this book.
Target audience- For ages 9 and over.