Kids’ Book Review: Review: Dirt By Sea

Have you ever been
travelling around Australia, or had the hankering to? This book will not only indulge that craving, it might even have you packing your bags. 

Dirt By Sea is
a brilliant large-page comic picture book with 40 glorious pages about a girl
and her father adventuring around Australia.

Daisy lives in
outback Queensland when whilst listening to the national anthem realises – what
on earth does ‘dirt by sea’ mean? 

Her dad explains that it is ‘girt by sea’
meaning they are surrounded by the ocean. Daisy walks outside and says – hold
up, we are surrounded by dirt!


Daisy’s dad then realises
he has never taken his daughter to the ocean. ‘What have I been doing these last 5 years?’ he
asks himself with resignation, ‘looking
after me of course!’ 
his five-year-old replies. The dad
decides – not only will he take her to the sea, but many seas and many places!
They pack up their old Kombi van (the ONLY way to travel Australia of course!)
and head off on the journey of a lifetime. 

What follows is a voyage
across Australia in a van. Together Daisy and her dad have all kinds of wild
travel adventures from daring things such as ATV driving, and diving with
sharks and giant rays, to more relaxing things like chilling on the beach and
trying new foods.


 Dirt By Sea is like a travel journal for kids and represents
everything about Australia and shows off some of the best of what we have to
offer from every corner of the country – from a red dirt farm in the middle of
Brissy, to Ningaloo reef in Perth and Byron Bay. It is about finding your place
and identity and spending time together as a family.


The relationship between
dad and daughter is gorgeous and a strong point in this story – you get to
watch both characters grow physically and mentally over the trip, as well as
subtly talk about the grief of the passed-away mother.

They develop a beautiful
bond which is wonderful to watch unfold over the story. It also features plenty
of Aussie humour and dad jokes to appeal to those with a funny bone that needs an occasional itching. 


Dirt by Sea will charm a large audience, from
young to old. The illustrations and the comics work incredibly well with the
writing. The blues and oranges perfectly sum up the combination of outback and
sea that encapsulates Australia, as well as the endless stretches of road.
Wagner and Jellet have worked together on other books, 
Why I love
and Why I love Summer, and
their experience together shows, with each taking up the perfect portion of

Title: Dirt By Sea
Author: Michael Wagner
Illustrator: Tom Jellett
Publisher: Penguin Publishing, $24.99
Publication Date: 20 September, 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760894061
For ages: 3 – 7
Type: Picture Book

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