Koalas, kites and kangaroos,
Penguins and possums and pelicans too.
Worm-eating wagtails and wombats at play,
Surf-riding seals on a hot summer’s day.
Rabbits on roller-skates, lizards on land,
Card-playing crocodiles, shells on the sand.
Turn over the pages and take a close look
At this wonderful, colourful ALPHABET BOOK!
‘Koalas, Kites and Kangaroos: An Australian Alphabet Book’ is exactly what it says: an alphabet book. As well as Australian animals, there are words describing the Australian life including kiting, surfing, ‘beaching’. There are also a broad range of other words that young readers will be familiar with including shapes, foods and plants. Words are listed down each side of openings, with two letters sharing an illustration. Illustrations are in watercolour set in frames on each opening, although the ‘characters’ often burst beyond their frame. A list in the final pages, offers the opportunity to return to images to find other, perhaps less obvious words.
Koalas, Kites and Kangaroos was originally published in 1985 and reprinted several times before this new edition from Scholastic in 2013. It’s pitched at young children beginning to access written language. The animals are anthropomorphised to extend the alphabet into scenes familiar to many young Australians. Echidnas feature on the ‘A’ page, and the list at the end identifies them as ‘anteaters’, providing the opportunity to talk about animals being named by their activity as well as having a scientific name. A zebra does appear on the ‘z’ page, but it is in a zoo, opening the discussion about native and other animals. Recommended for pre-schoolers.
Koalas, Kites and Kangaroos: An Australian Alphabet, David Ridyard ill Doreen Gristwood Scholastic 2013 ISBN: 9781742838724
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author