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
The animals floated on the waves.
They BOBBED and BOUNCED.
SURFED and SPLASHED.
They were having a wonderful time.
Echidna Jim went for a swim.
It’s a very hot day, but the animals don’t mind. Dingo has fixed the old blue bus that used to sit in the creek – and he’s taking everyone to the beach for a swim. At the beach everyone blows up their inflatable toys and swim rings, and has a lot of fun – until Echidna Jim joins in. His spikes wreak havoc, popping the inflatables – which could be a disaster, but instead, adds to the fun as the animals whoosh around.
Echidna Jim Went for a Swim is a humorous picture book story featuring lots of favourite Australian animals, including the echidna, the wombat, a platypus, an emu, a kangaroo and more, as well as all the fun of a bus ride and a trip to the beach. With lots of golden sand and watery aquas and blues, as well as the colourful inflatables and the browns and greys of the animals themselves, the illustrations fill the pages with movement and fun.
Echidna Jim Went for a Swim, by Phil Cummings & Laura Wood
Wombat stared in surprise at the other animals.
Am I special after all?
When Wombat emerges from his tunnel, his friends are really glad to see him, but as Wombat watches them celebrate he feels sad. Each of his friends is good at something: Goanna is the fastest climber, Magpie is the best singer and Dingo is the cleverest dancer. Wombat wants to go back and hide in his tunnel, but his friends run after him to remind him that he, too, is good at things, and best of all, that Wombat is their friend.
A Feast for Wombat is a gentle tale of friendship and self belief. While Wombat wants to be like his friends, he seems unaware that each of them is different, as is he. His friends’ reminder of his own strengths is reassuring, and will reassure young readers, too.
The acrylic illustrations bring the cast of Australian animals to life in gentle bush colours with lovely textured backgrounds, adding to the warm feel of the book.
A Feast for Wombat, by Sally Morgan & Tania Erzinger
Available from good bookstores or online.
One fine day, on the banks of a billabong, a very clever dingo caught a wombat…
and decided to make…
Of course the poor Wombat isn’t very keen to be made into stew, but his clever friends have a sneaky way to help outwit Dingo. Each friend tells Dingo he is missing an essential ingredient for his stew, so soon Dingo is adding mud, feathers, flies, bugs and more. But, when he tastes the stew, he thinks he’s been poisoned and hurries away leaving Wombat and his friends celebrating.
This classic Australian picture book was first launched twenty one years ago and, to celebrate, has just been re-released by Scholastic Australia. The rhythmic text and the repetition of the ‘Wombat Stew’ chant make it very appealing to young readers, who will join in on the first or second read. Pamela Lofts’ illustrations are a delight, with amusing yet somehow lifelike Australian animals peppering the pages. Even the mean Dingo is cute and dopey rather than scarey.
Loads of fun.
Wombat Stew, by Marcia K Vaughan and Pamela Lofts