Who Is It? Australian Animals of the Night, by Julie Murphy

Reviewed by Molly Martin


The narrative opens as we creep through the Australian bush with our torch (flashlight) at night. If we are quiet we may be able to see the secretive night creatures. An underwater world and a feathertail glider, a hollow log reveals an echidna; our adventure begins. There is a big wombat in a hole under the log, and a bandicoot making pointy bottom holes like ice cream cones as he searches for food. Up in a tree is a ringtail possum, while down in the grass is a grey kangaroo and her joey . Something up in the tree is grunting like a pig. A pig in a tree? No, it is not a pig. And, what can be splashing in the stream? There in another tree is a brushtail possum gathering leaves.

Who Is It? Australian Animals of the Night as presented by writer Murphy and illustrator van Hoesel is a delightful edition for all children. Australian children will recognize the critters, the torch and the setting. Children not familiar with the Australian bush or the critters will learn something of them.

The tale told on the pages of Who Is It? Australian Animals of the Night is presented in simple, child friendly prose. Illustrations are resplendent and colorful. As a teacher this book is one I have taken to use in my classroom. While the language used is a bit immature for my 4th graders, kids ages 9 – 10 years, the pictures and animals have much appeal. The work serves as discussion starter for beginning a study of some of the fascinating critters found in a country far distant from the plains of Oklahoma, USA. Children’s natural curiosity is piqued leading to the class ‘digging’ into books and internet for more information relating to the critters and land of Australia.

Who Is It? Australian Animals of the Night is a good addition to the eBook library whether the personal reading list or for classroom and library use.

I had a bit of trouble trying to use the flip book edition, however the pdf is easily navigated.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.

Who Is It? Australian Animals of the Night, by Julie Murphy, illustrations by Richard JM van Hoesel
Writers Exchange, 2006

Reviewed by: molly martin
20+ years California classroom teacher, again teaching today in Oklahoma USA


Kangaroo Clues, by Margot Finke

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Children’s EBook Review: Kangaroo Clues, by Margot Finke
Reviewed by Molly Martin

Entertaining new ebook title.


It must have been Dreamtime spirit-man who sewed the pouch in kangaroo. Near a shady billabong Old Man Kanga and his friends, Marsupial mouse, Emu, Goanna, Platypus, Kookaburra, frill neck lizard, Cockatoo and Echidna all heard the dogs coming. With leaps and bound Old Man Kanga made it to the water just in time. The dingoes were right behind. Into the water went Platypus and Old Man Kanga while Kookaburra laughed and Goanna hid. Galas screamed while Koalas encouraged Kanga on.

Kangaroo Clues is a marvellous book told in rhyme, created by talented writer Margo Finke and filled with delightful illustrations from Mustafa Delioglu. For readers living outside of Australia the tale introduces children to animals and words not heard in every day conversation. For children living in Australia the words may not be new, but the story will offer as much appeal. Delioglu’s drawings are vivid, well executed and large enough for children to understand.

Full page art work sets off the narrative to perfection. Kangaroo Clues covers 31 pages of cheery rhyme and exciting illustrations sure to please the target audience of beginning readers. Vocabulary is a bit advanced for the youngest readers, however even very young children will be held captivated by the tale as they navigate the buttons turning the pages while Mum or Dad, or older sibling read the words to them.

A read-to book for the 3-5 set, read-with some help for the 6 and 7s, and read mostly alone for the 8 and 9s. Wonderful book for the home or classroom library. Teachers will find the work a good addition to the ‘multi culture’ unit. Kangaroo Clues is a book sure to be reached for often for both pleasure time reading and for class work.

Enjoyed the read. Kangaroo Clues is a book I would use in my own Kindergarten-First grade classroom.

Happy to recommend.

Kangaroo Clues, by Margot Finke, illustrated by Mustafa Delioglu
Writers Exchange Epublishing, 2004

Molly Martin is a classroom teacher of over 20 years’ experience.

Captain Angus, the Lighthouse Ghost , by Wendy Laing

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Writer Wendy Laing has taken an actual lighthouse where she has been a guest at the lighthouse keeper’s cottage – The Cape Otway in Victoria, Australia – as the starting point for her nicely wrought tale, and she has woven an entertaining book of eight chapters for early readers. Through the magic of a time tunnel, children Aaron and Gracie Brandon are taken to a long ago time where they meet a marvelous old Scottish sea captain’s ghost. The pair had been less than enthralled while vacationing with their parents to discover the old lighthouse where they are staying has no video games or anything else interesting for them to do. And, then they meet Captain Angus! When they do everything changes. Cap’n Angus takes the pair on virtual reality trips sailing on masted ships, with opportunity for meeting one of their ancestors along with watching a sea rescue and other adventures.

Wendy Laing has done it again! This talented writer continues to produce excellently written, well researched materials sure to be used in the classroom and for home reading alike. Captain Angus, the Lighthouse Ghost is an inviting venture for children sure to keep youngsters entertained as they travel through the interactive links allowing them to make a voyage through the internet. Writer Laing really understands how to make history come alive for young readers. Children will make stops at sites where they can tour old ships, discover lighthouses and learn a little about them in the process. Young readers are sure to enjoy following the links and learning a little of history without their realizing they are doing so.Captain Angus, the Light House Ghost is a delightful guide children are sure to like. The Links to sites will pique their curiosity.

Chapter titles include: Cap’n Angus, Spirits and Ghosts, Land Ahoy!, Rescue!, The Tower, Ship Ahoy!, Aurora’s Spirit, A Light in the Future and The Beacon of Hope. Captain Angus, the Light House Ghost is a read-to book for the younger set. As such, it provides a marvelous opportunity for quality parent-child time as they sit together at the computer reading and travelling the links to various sites. Older children will enjoy reading and manipulating the work themselves.

The only thing I find lacking from a teacher standpoint, and in no way detracts from the delightful tale itself: I like to see a target audience noted and the word/vocabulary list at the end of the books I use in the classroom when possible. These just make it easier for teachers, and parent home teachers too to quickly decide if this book will fit into our particular teaching need at the moment.

Captain Angus, The Lighthouse Ghost, by Wendy Laing
Writer’s Exchange Epublishing, 2003

Jack's First Fish, by Lou Tognola

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Jack is visiting his grandparents. He has never been fishing before but Granddad and he go out to dig some worms while Nanny fixes them a lunch to take with them. Jack, Nanny and Granddad go to a good fishing spot where they catch enough fish for supper. Jack has a lot to tell his parents when they telephone to see how he is enjoying his holiday.

Writer Tognola is Australian, a teacher, grandparent and a fisherman. These are all talents he puts to good use in his little book Jack’s First Fish. Tognola, together with illustrator Roberta Hubbard, has produced an enchanting publication sure to please youngsters and adults alike.

While the vocabulary is a tad difficult for the 5 – 8 set, Jack’s First Fish will lend itself well to ‘please read to me’ time. Children ages 9-11 should have little difficulty with vocabulary. A glossary of words and phrases in the back of the book will aid with some words kids may find difficult.

Two things I found particularly endearing when reading Jack’s First Fish were, first, a new word: YUM LICIOUS to describe how Jack’s fish tasted. The other is the fact that American, and perhaps other, children worldwide are introduced to a new concept or two while they are also shown that folks living in other countries often live very much as do we here in the U.S. Jam in the book comes in a tin, while in the U.S. it comes in glass and plastic jars or squeeze bottles. Hubbard’s drawings are a delight: grandfather’s truck is different than the ones most kids here in the U.S. know, however Grandpa’s cat, his fishing gear, Nanny’s kitchen and sofa and chair all resemble those kids outside Australia country know.

Each page of Jack’s First Fish contains both Italian and English verbiage. I like this from an educational standpoint. Whether parent or teacher speaks Italian or not children are introduced to another language and may well have their appetite for more of other cultures whetted from this introduction.
Good book for multi culture unit in middle grades, the home library and pleasure reading. Happy to recommend Jack’s First Fish.

Jack’s First Fish, by Lou Tognola
Writer’s Exchange Epublishing, 2003