The shark with the glinting, pointy teeth saw Turtle.
The octopus with the dangly, stretchy tentacles saw Turtle.
As Turtle makes her way across the sea, the reader is asked ‘Who saw Turtle?’ giving an element of interaction to this delightful tale of a turtle travelling to lay her eggs. The illustrations, too, are interactive, encouraging both prediction and a close examination to see previous animals repeated.
Who Saw Turtle is beautiful picture book offering from Ros Moriarity, with indigenous artwork from the Balarinji studio. Together with The Rainbow, it offers both simple text and rich visuals, perfect for very young students and second language learners.
An important inclusion in both books is a back of book translation of the text into the Yanyuwa language, spoken by families in Borroloola, in the Northern Territory. Such use of traditional language is vital not just for the speakers of that language, but for promoting Australia-wide awareness of the existence and importance of the many languages of our first peoples.
In paperback format, this pair will be enjoyed for its simple, engaging text and rich, bright illustrations.
Who Saw Turtle? ISBN 9781760297800
The Rainbow, ISBN 9781760297794
both by Ros Moriarty, illustrated by Balarinji
Allen & Unwin, 2018
Can you see her?
There – deep in the stretching shadows – a dingo.
Her pointed ears twitch.
Her tawny eyes flash in the low-slung sun.
It is dusk, and Dingo is awake, ready to hunt to feed her cubs. As she moves through the landscape, the reader learns about this dingo and, through her, the dingo species.
Dingo, part of the Nature Storybooks series from Walker Books, is a sumptuous picture book offering. The text is lyrical, pacing across the pages like Dingo paces across the landscape. The illustrations, in layered oil paintings, are rich and wild, matching the subject matter perfectly. Short factoids on each spread, in a different font, give the reader further detail about the species.
Perfect for young animal lovers to enjoy on their own, Dingo will also be a valuable classroom and library addition.
Dingo, by Claire Saxby & Tanya Harricks
Walker Books, 2018
‘What kind of animal are you?’ they asked Paddy.
‘I’m Paddy O’Melon and I’m an Irish kangaroo,’ he proudly explained.
‘Really?’ said Keiran, and the gang of animals giggled.
Paddy wondered why they thought this was funny.
It’s an exciting day for the young joey: his first day out of his mother’s pouch. But when he and his mother are separated, the day becomes a bit too exciting, for all the wrong reasons. Luckily he is rescued by an Irish family who live near the forest and rescue orphaned and injured animals. they look after the joey, who they all Paddy, and Paddy is safe, but he really isn’t sure what kind of animal he is or where he belongs. The humans say he’s an Irish kangaroo, so he figures that’s right – until he is put straight, and eventually returned safely back to his mother.
Paddy O’Melon The Irish Kangaroo is an entertaining and educational picture book, which, as well as being the story of one young pedemelon’s separation from his mother, also gently shares the importance of protecting wildlife from dogs and other dangers and, through back-of-book notes, educates about the rainforest flora and fauna. The book’s author had a passion for Australian wildlife before her early death, and the book has been posthumously published to share her passion.
Illustrations, in watercolour and pen, are realistic in style with beautiful renderings of the various animals.
Suitable for solo reading and educational settings.
Paddy O’Melon The Irish Kangaroo by Julia Cooper & Daryl Dickson
EK Books, 2017
In a high tree fork, a grey ball unfurls. Tall as a toddler, a dozy young koala sniffs at leaves. … Climb, little Koala,
it’s dinner time.
Following the adventures of one young koala as it becomes time for him to separate from his mother and find his own way in the world, Koala is a wonderful blend of narrative and fact. Koala must overcome hunger, predators, natural disasters, and even other koalas before, finally, he finds a new home where he can live safely.
Part of the wonderful nature Storybooks series, Koala uses narrative non-fiction to trace the life of a fictional koala, grounded in fact, and supported on each spread by additional facts. The text is lyrical, making it accessible and a joy to read, and the illustrations, by one of Australia’s best-loved illustrators, Julie Vivas, are superb.
A must have for Australian homes and classrooms, Koala is also sure to be enjoyed by overseas audiences.
Koala, by Claire Saxby & Julie Vivas
Walker Books, 2017
The post office didn’t hire echidnas
(or any other animals for that matter).
But this wouldn’t stop Eric.
he would do anything to fulfil his dream!
Eric knows he could be the best postman ever – he can stay dry, avoid dogs, lick the envelopes, and even help open letters. If only he had some mail to deliver. But, no matter the obstale, Eric is determined to follow his dreams.
Eric the Postie is a delightful picture book about following dreams, even if they are big and you are little. Young readers will enjoy both the silliness of an echidna wanting to be a postman, and the rightness of the solution. the illustrations, in watercolour with white backgrounds, are gorgeous in their apparent simplicity.
Suitable for at home reading or sharing at school, Eric the Postie will also appeal to adult readers.
Eric the Postie, by Matt Shanks
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
There is no doubting the popularity of classic nursery rhyme brought to life in this book, though probably many readers will be surprised at the number of verses, some of which may be less familiar. But it is the way it is brought to life in the adorable illustrations which make this version so appealing. Olive the owl (named only in the blurb), flies across the darkening landscape, delivering books (each adorned with a star) to her sleepy friends – a flock of sheep, a family of wombats, even a human child – before returning home to read to her three owlets.
The gentle blues and purples of the night skies, together with the expressive, sweet faced animals and the familiar text make this an ideal bedtime or rest time offering.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, illustrated by Matt Shanks
ONE keen koala
ready for school.
One keen koala is ready for his first day of school. hH is joined by two perky penguins, three excited wallabies and so on, as they discover the fun of starting school. From posing for photographs, to meeting the teacher, to playing with paint and glue, having stories and, at the end of the day hurrying home to mum, the animals romp through the day.
With rhyming text by Margaret Wild and joy-filled watercolour and pencil illustrations by Bruce Whatley, this is an offering sure to be embraced by youngsters starting school, and their parents. It will withstand repeated rereadings, and the simplicity of the text will encourage children to join in on rereadings.
One Keen Koala, by Margaret Wild & Bruce Whatley
This is a mopoke.
So begins this delightful, understated picture book featuring (as the title suggests) a mopoke – or bookbook owl. Each spread features just one line of text – or even a single word, as the mopoke becomes a poorpoke, a poshpoke, and a range of rhyming ‘pokes’ – slowpoke, yopoke, crowpoke and so on. By the end of the book, the mopoke begins to look bothered, before squawking (hooting?) in frustration and flying away. Apparently, what the mopoke wants – peace and quite – is not going to be found on this branch.
The illustrations, on black backgrounds representing the night sky, are simple, with the mopoke seated on a single branch, a few stars in the background, and occasional appearances from other animals, including other mopokes and – surprisingly – a wombat, the surprise of which will make youngsters laugh.
Adult readers should find the repetition and simplicity of the text an opportunity to use expression and encourage child participation. Creator Philip Bunting has written about this on his website.
Lots of fun.
Mopoke, by Philip Bunting
Available from good bookstores or online.
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.
This popular Christmas song filled with mentions of snow and sleighs seems an unlikely choice for an Australian picture book, but illustrator Matt Shanks has given it a very Australian makeover. The words are unchanged, but the sleigh bells belong to an icecream van, and the sleigh is a trailer towed behind it. The ice and snow come from an esky. The pages are also populated with a cast of Australian animals – koalas, wombats, numbats, galahs, echidnas and more are picked up in the icecream van sleigh and end up at the beach where the van’s driver is revealed as a penguin.
Youngsters will love seeing the song interpreted in a beach and outback setting, and there is a bonus CD featuring the song performed by Hum,an Nature and Jessica Mauboy, so they will be able to sing along.
Sleigh Ride, by L. Anderson & M. Parish, illustrated by Matt Shanks
Penelope looked down the mountain, but Percy was nowhere to be seen.
‘Where’s that Percy?’ she thought. ‘He should be coming back by now.’
Penelope the pygmy possum wakes from her winter hibernation, looking forward to the return of her mate, Percy, who has spent the winter with the other males away from the cold of the mountains. But there is a problem. Over the winter roadworkers have built a new road, and now it is blocking the path of the male possums. Luckily, Rick the Ranger has a solution, and soon the males are using a new tunnel under the road to get home. Penelope and Percy are reunited.
Penelope the Mountain Pygmy Possum is a cute picture story book which fictionalises the real events surrounding the building of a ‘tunnel of love’ for male pygmy possums to safely leave and return from the Snowy Mountains during the colder months, while the female possums remain on the mountains and hibernate. The story gives young readers the chance to learn about the pygmy possum and the threats to its existence. Illustrations show realistic landscapes, roadworks and wildlife, though the possums are partly anthropomorphised for narrative purposes.
Educational and entertaining.
Penelope the Mountain Pygmy Possum , by Gordon Winch & Stephen Pym
New Frontier, 2016