Amy Martin

Canberra’s Stephanie Owen Reeder and Tania McCartney release children’s book Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather | The Canberra Times

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Did you know that rainbows are circular? Or that raindrops are shaped like burger buns? Stephanie Owen Reeder and Tania McCartney do. The Canberra duo has just released Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather, a children’s book aimed at readers five years and over. But with bite-sized pieces of information served up alongside graphic illustrations, older readers will still enjoy the book’s explanations, whether it be on the causes of certain weather phenomena or what to expect from the climate of the future. “That’s what we want with children’s books because the adults are the ones that buy it,” McCartney says. “An adult is going to pick that up and they’re going to go ‘oh my god this is fascinating’, and they’re not only going to be buying it specifically for the kids but they’re going to love this.” Thinking back to the beginning of the year and the climate conditions that hit Canberra, it seems there never has been a more apt time to release a book covering the weather extremes. Of course, there is a flip side to this, as 2020’s interesting weather patterns did keep McCartney and Reeder on their toes found themselves editing the book right up until it was at the printers to ensure the book covered the summer bushfires and the smoke which covered Canberra. “The whole idea is to just to get them in and interested, and then they can move from what’s in there to finding out more themselves,” Reeder says. “Just like kids get totally taken up with dinosaurs and I think the weather can be the same especially these days when you’re we’re living in a time when the weather’s gone weird, wild and wonderful.” If anything, this game of tag the duo played with the weather is just an example of just how collaborative this project has been. While other children’s books will see an author write the text before passing it on to the illustrator to work on, Reeder and McCartney worked on Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather together, going back and forth making sure the book was cohesive as possible. The result is a children’s book with a great synergy between the text and images. “We’re both illustrators, we’re both researchers, we’re both editors, we’re both authors,” McCartney says. “What I love about Stephanie is that we hear each other, and we’re happy to say, ‘I’m not quite sure’, and we’re also happy to say, ‘I love that I’m going to take it on’. “There’s no ego there, there’s no sort of, ‘No I have to have it my way’. We both understand it makes a book beautiful and work, so it was just this wonderful sort of melange.”

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