The Great Barrier THIEF, a book review



Title: The Great Barrier THIEF
Written & Illustrated by: Dr Suzie Starfish
Publisher: Little Steps Publishing

‘Good grief! What has happened to the Great Barrier Reef?
Did you know the coral colours are a warning sign? A global reef alarm? We all need to do what we can to keep it safe from harm.’

One day Anthia’s home on the Great Barrier Reef starts getting hot, VERY hot. Soon all the colour starts disappearing from the Reef! Join Anthia and her sea creature friends as they find the Great Barrier THIEF and bring the colours back to their underwater home.

What I love about books is that they give a voice to those who cannot speak, including our living earth.

Talented author and illustrator, Dr Suzie Starfish, has created a story of significance. The Great Barrier THIEF is set in the Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia. It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world, larger than the Great Wall of China, and is the only living thing on earth visible from space.

However, being underwater, the vanishing colour of the Great Barrier Reef is all too easy to miss. It’s also a serious ‘the-planet-is-unhealthy-sign’. But thanks to Marine Scientist, Dr Sue Pillans aka Dr Suzie Starfish, and her great ocean passion, she is creating a focussed awareness and mindfulness through her picture book, The Great Barrier THIEF.

The main character of the story, Anthia, lives in a beautiful, colourful underwater paradise, bustling with happiness and life (it’s also Nemo’s home from ‘Finding Nemo’). When the water starts feeling hot, Anthia becomes alarmed. And when her friend, Angela Algae leaves and the coral colours disappear, Anthia knows the problem is bigger than big, and goes in search of the cause and a solution.


Dr Suzie Starfish’s illustrations are bright, colourful, and bursting with life at first, so when the Great Barrier Reef loses its colour, the reader feels a devastating loss alongside the main character, Anthia. This use of colour is an effective way to show that there are consequences for our actions. The visual representation of the effects of pollution on the Reef is confronting, creating a very real awareness of our bigger than big role in caring for the earth.

And for curious and science minds, Dr Suzie Starfish has included an information page – Underwater Wonders – explaining coral bleaching and a special algae called Zooxanthellae, that lives inside the coral. It’s fascinating reading!


I highly recommend The Great Barrier THIEF. It’s a story of planet love. A story of working together. A story of problem-solving; a story of earth survival. We only have one home, and we must look after it. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Purchase a copy:  The Great Barrier THIEF

Title: The Great Barrier Thief
Written & Illustrated by: Dr Suzie Starfish
Publisher: Little Steps Publishing 
ISBN: 978-0-648267-38-6
Target Audience: 6 – 8 years
Pages: 32 pages

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a published author and illustrator who is continually inspired by the gift of imagination and the power of words. When she is not disappearing into her imaginary worlds as Julieann Wallace – children’s author, or as Amelia Grace – fiction novelist, she is working as an editor, book designer, and book magician for other authors. Julieann is a self-confessed tea ninja and Cadbury Chocoholic, has a passion for music and art, and tries not to scare her cat, Claude Monet, with her terrible cello playing.

The Colour of Broken new cover again

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