Snow on the stockman’s hut
Snow on the crows
Snow on the woollybutt
Snow on my … NOSE!
A little wombat takes a stroll across the winter landscape of Australia’s High Country watching the snow on the animals, birds, people and plants – and on himself as well. The snow is fun, but Wombat is happy to snuggle down for a sleep in the only place with no snow – his burrow.
The Snow Wombat is a beautiful picture book featuring gentle rhyming text and divine watercolour and ink outline illustrations. T
The story is simple, with youngsters likely to predict the rhymes on early readings and subsequently remember and join in. Adults shouldn’t mind the repeated rereadings, with the rhyme scanning well. The illustrations bring he winter landscape to life, with the wombat being particularly delightful.
The Snow Wombat, by Susannah Chambers & Mark Jackson
Allen & Unwin, 2016
Always looking for a meal.
Platypus is perpetual motion
– never still.
At dusk, Platypus leaves his sandy burrow and dives into the cool green pool. It is time for him to hunt and forage. As he dives, floats and swim, readers are taken along on his evening outing, all the way learning about this unqiue Australian animal. Alongside the story of this one platypus, there are platypus facts including physical features, diet, habitat and more.
The gentle text is informative, but is also poetic, with the feel of the nighttime meanderings. This is reinforced in the dusky colours of the mixed media illustrations. The platypus is realistically rendered, which makes him all the more endearing.
Part of Walker Books’ amazing Nature Storybooks series, Platypus is suitable for private enjoyment as well as classroom use.
Platypus, by Sue WHiting & Mark Jackson
Walker Books, 2015
Avalable from good bookstores and online.
Kites and windy days – is there a better combination?
One warm and windy day Charlie decided to fly his kite.
It took off, and soared and swooped and plunged …
Kites and windy days – is there a better combination? Charlie’s kite flies beautifully before becoming stuck in a tree. Nothing, it seems, will dislodge it. Everyone has a potential solution, but nothing works. Of course there is a solution eventually, but not the one anyone expects. Illustrations are soft watercolours set in plenty of white space.
Stuck! is a lovely picture book. The text is simple and believable and it’s delightful to see the play of a group of young children so beautifully portrayed. The language is delightful. Look out particularly for the littlest member of the group and the assured Athena. Mark Jackson’s illustrations convey emotions and body language so very clearly. Recommended for pre- and early-schoolers.
Stuck!, Charlotte Calder ill Mark Jackson
Walker Books 2012
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.
Traces the life of a young bilby from its birth in a burrow beneath the ground, to being fully grown and living alone, ready to mate. Using the picture book format, the text focuses on one specific bilby, but recounts this is a typical bilby’s life rather than a fictional story. Each page also includes facts about bilbies, printed in italics.
In the moonlight, Mother Bilby canters – tail aloft like a banner – across the spinifex and enters a steeply sloping, spiral tunnel. She flings the dirt back, hind feet together, closing the entrance to her burrow.
It’s time for the birth of her baby.
Bilby Secrets traces the life of a young bilby from its birth in a burrow beneath the ground, to being fully grown and living alone, ready to mate. Using the picture book format, the text focuses on one specific bilby, but recounts this is a typical bilby’s life rather than a fictional story. Each page also includes facts about bilbies, printed in italics.
Mark Jackson’s mixed media illustrations bring not just the cute bilby, but also other desert residents – from predators such as the fox, to insects and spiders, little details which can be found on most spreads. the colours are the colours of the West Australian Pilbara region – orange and red dirts, blue and dusky skies (the bilby is nocturnal) and, of course, the greys of the bilbies.
This hardcover offering is part of Walker’s wonderful new <>Nature Storybook series, set to be a wonderful educational tool but equally suitable for home reading.
Bilby Secrets, by Edel Wignell & Mark Jackson
Walker Books, 2011
This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
Jimmy isn’t coming to my birthday party.
He’s working at his family’s restaurant.
And Matt isn’t coming.
His Dad is having an operation.
And Rosa isn’t coming either.
She’s going to her Uncle Nick’s
third or fourth wedding.
She can’t remember which.
A small boy is having a birthday party. Invitations have been given to many children, but one by one, the invitees decline. Some of the responses seem genuine, others have the sound of excuses. But the boy doesn’t mind. Each page shows a child doing what they’ve said they’ll be doing rather than attending the boy’s party. But of course the illustrations show so much more. Jimmy, who has to work in his family’s restaurant may be carrying crockery, but there’s a cake missing and his cheeks are bulging. But no matter, the main character is unfazed by their inability to attend. None of these children, singly or as a group can do the things that he can do with his best friend Georgie.
Not Like Georgie is less a story about a birthday party and excuses and more about friendship. Not the ‘everybody is your friend’ kind of friendship, but the special best-friendship that can make the simplest things seem wonderful. It is the triumph of quality over quantity. Anticipation about whether Georgie too will offer an excuse and not come to the party, keeps the pages turning, lest the boy have no one at his party at all. Children will also enjoy the humour and detail in each image. The illustrators have captured so much emotion, personality and more in each character – even the sun-shading seagulls have personality! Recommended for 4-7 year olds.
Not Like Georgie, Scott Hatcher ill Heather Potter & Mark Jackson
Walker Books 2008