Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground By Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler, CSIRO Publishing, 2017. ‘Have you ever wondered what happens in the earth underneath us?’ Journey with James as he learns that there is more to dirt than meets the eye. James wants to be a soil scientist, and he explores the ‘hidden world underground’. He learns about the differences between clay, silt and sand particles, and discovers what each soil type can be used for. Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground takes children on a journey into and under the earth. A wonderful resource not only for parents and grandparents but also for pre-school and primary schools. Teacher’s notes are also available from the CSIRO. The illustrations are drawn sensitively, and the level of detail in the insects is impressive. Ideal for the budding gardener. As an adult, even I learned things from this book! For example, I had never heard of Clorpt before 🙂 Suitable for ages 6 to 9 years. The book raises questions, such as: What is soil? How does it change? Why is it important? What can we do with soil? Awards Children’s Book Council of Australia 2018 notable books under the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books….
Can You Find Me? By Gordon Winch and Shirvington Patrick, New Frontier Publishing, 2017. Can You Find Me? is a delightful story about Australian animals hiding in their natural habitat. Journey along with your child as he or she discovers the animals hiding in the pictures. Even I had to search for a few of them the first time around! There is a lovely repetition on the pages, creating a rhythm to the story. Can You Find Me? teaches children about camouflage and about how animals, insects, and other creatures are often designed to reflect their environment. Can you find all the creatures hiding within the pages of this book?
A Walk In The Bush By Gwyn Perkins, Affirm Press, 2017. A Walk In The Bush will take you and your child on a journey through the Australian bush. Grandad can’t find Iggy. He looks everywhere for him. When he finally finds him, he takes him on a journey into the Australian bush looking for wildlife. Together we meet many different native birds and learn their bird calls, and bump into the odd wallaby. There are also caterpillar messages on trees! This whole book is truly like the experience of walking through the Australian bush. Awards Winner: The Picture Book of the Year, Children’s Book Council of Australia, 2018.
Florette By Anna Walker, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2018. Nature loving Mae moves with her family from her beloved home and garden to a big crowded city. This story gives us a reflective look at the difference between city and country living. Mae is nostalgic about her former home and sad about moving to the city because of all the buildings and concrete and lack of nature, until one day she finds Florette, a forest (garden store) in the heart of the city. Mae plucks a tiny shoot from the sidewalk outside Florette, takes it home and plants it…and this is the beginning of her very own garden. Mae continues to make her part of the grey city green and beautiful, just like her old garden. Her life becomes brighter, and the new plants allow her to accept the changes that she has had to endure by moving house. This book may show your child how they too can find a creative solution to improve their own environment. Anne Walker’s illustrations are stylised and soft, drawing the reader into the intricacies of Mae’s life and her perspective on it. There are loads of items of interest on every page…
All I Want for Christmas is Rain By Cori Brooke and Megan Forward, New Frontier Publishing, 2016. ‘For our Drought-affected Australian farmers, their children and families. Thank you for feeding Australia.’ – CB ‘For our farmers: we need you.’ – MF Jane lives on a farm, and her parent’s farm hasn’t seen rain for a long time. She wishes and hopes for rain and hatches a plan to ask ‘the great bearded man’ for help. Will her wish be granted? All I Want for Christmas is Rain portrays a real issue facing many Australian farmers and all Australians from time to time. Follow Jane on her quest to as Santa for help. If you’re looking for Australian kids books, then look no further than this little gem! It teaches our children about real issues that are being experienced by Australian farmers in different parts of the country at different times. Awards Shortlisted for The Book of the Year: Early Childhood 2017 by Children’s Book Council of Australia.
Magpie’s Gift By Rebecca Johnson and Steve Parish, Pascal Press, 2006. Mr Magpie searches high and low for items that he can give to Mrs Magpie to help build a nest. Magpie’s Gift brings us a lovely magpie story. I really quite enjoyed this story, even though it is a bit twee, but it also quite sweet. Mr Magpie finds a piece of blue wool that he wants to give to Mrs Magpie as a gift for her nest, but a bowerbird gets to it first. A friendly numbat advises Mr Magpie that he should try asking the bowerbird for the wool, but says he should take something blue to exchange for the wool. Mr Magpie takes a blue clothes peg and manages to succeed in obtaining the blue wool for his wife. I think there is some gender confusion as sometimes on pages talking about Mrs Magpie, a male magpie is photographed. Overall a sweet story with great pictures of magpies.
Australian Babies By Magabala Books, 2005. ‘Rich with the colours of the Kimberley landscape in Western Australia, the vibrant photographic images reflect Australia’s multicultural community.’ Australian Babies is a lovely little board book for babies and toddlers. It has ten pages with photographs of babies from diverse backgrounds who make up some of the heritage of babies in Australia today. There are things to look for and point out on each page, such as a dog, chickens, books, trees, rocks, shells, etc. It is small in size, 143 x 156 mm. It was a little bit difficult to rank this book based on the criteria we use to measure, as there were no words and the book was so small. We hope you like this book 🙂
The Outback By Annaliese Porter and Bronwyn Bancroft, Magabala Books, 2005. Dark, red earth surrounding flat, stony plains — gibbers lay on scorching sand, where seldom it rains. What a lovely little book, richly illustrated in the style of traditional Australian Aboriginal paintings. The illustrations depict recognisable Australian animals, like goannas, snakes, wallabies and cockatoos, and landscapes such as the desert plains and Uluru. The Outback tells the tale of the harshness of the land, the desert, and the desert animals. This is a bush ballad about the Australian outback that was written by Annaliese Porter when she was only eight years old! She is one of Australia’s youngest published writers. What a great example of a story to read to a young writer 🙂