The Story of Rosy Dock

written and illustrated by Jeannie Baker

An immigrant gardener cultivates rosy dock in the central desert of Australia and the seeds spread over a wide area during a flash flood. A look at consequences of introducing non-native flora and fauna into the environment.

Along the Finkle River in the desert outback of Australia, a fragile ecosystem existed for thousands of years. When European settlers moved in more than 100 years ago, they brought along their own flora and fauna, including rosy dock, a distinctive plant known for its beautiful red seedpods. It survived and spread until it now threatens many indigenous plants and animals with extinction.

The illustrations are clear color photographs of exceptional collage constructions. The choice of natural materials adds depth and realism to the artwork, and the inclusion of extra details (for example, several rabbits, another introduced species) could stimulate further conversations about ecology.

The illustrations are beautiful and powerful; it may take additional preparation and discussion to help young readers understand the message of the story: "Without their normal predators, some non-native plants and animals multiply so quickly they change whole landscapes and push many native plants and animals to extinction."