Reviewed by Alison Miles
Having recently met the author, and having seen much of her work collected together, the abiding regard she holds for Australia’s native wildlife became vividly apparent. Along with many talented artists, Jill has brought the bush to young readers with such characters as golden wombats, fig parrots, crocodiles, geckos and platypuses. In this she could be compared favourably with another Queenslander, Narelle Oliver.
Platypus Deep follows Orni the platypus as he searches for a deeper home. It is this search that shows both platypus and reader how important the creek system has been to many animals over millions of years.
Orni’s journey visits the familiar imagery of Jill’s books – native animals facing nature while living in a world dominated by humans. The author lives in Maleny where non-fictional platypuses have recently experienced the disruption of human intervention.
A reading of this lyrical narrative suggests a quiet creek setting with just the trickle of a waterfall and FLIP FLOP of Orni’s flippers to rustle the peace. A carefully measured repetition of sounds and the appearance of echidna hunting for ants leads to a beautifully balanced book. It is hoped that Platypus Deep will continue to introduce this curious animal to children, and not be the only remaining evidence of its existence.
(For children aged 3-10)
Platypus Deep, by Jill Morris & Heather Gall
Greater Glider Productions, 2006
ISBN 0947304 74 6
© alison miles, 2006.
Until now, Kolo has lived with his mother, safe within the koala colony. Now, though, his father tells him he must leave. There can be only one big male koala in the colony.
Out on his own, Kolo has difficulty finding a safe place to live. Much of his habitat has been destroyed, and he faces feral predators and other perils such as cars and bushfire. Finding food and shelter is his greatest challenge, but finding company his greatest desire, as he finds it is no fun being alone.
Koala Number One is a fictional story but, like all of the author’s books, is also very educational. Children are being given a glimpse of the threats faced by koalas as man encroaches on what was once koala territory. As well as facts and information scattered within the story, the final page of the book also presents relevant facts.
The illustrations of Heather Gall are a superb complement to the text of Jill Morris, with delightfully detailed depitctions of the koalas, the bush and more.
Koala Number One is suitable for ages 4 to 8 and, as an educational tool is appropriate even for upper primary aged students.
Koala Number One, by Jill Morris, illustrated by Heather Gall
Greater Glider, 2004
Silly Baby Magpie!
Big eyes and floppy head…
I’ve been scratching, screeching, tapping
Now I’m ready to be fed.
Silly Baby Magpie, a brand new book from Greater Glider Publications, follows baby magpie from his early life in the egg through his youth and on to maturity. Along the way we see his antics as he learns and plays.
Author Jill Morris combines simple, lively verse with text boxes containing non-fiction information about the magpie, one of Australia’s most common birds. The story and information are complemented by the richly detailed illustrations of Heather Gall.
A fun and informative picture book.
Silly Baby Magpie, by Jill Morris, illustrated by Heather Gall
Greater Glider Publications, 2003