Koalas – the quintessential Australian animal and one we thought would always be in abundance. But recent news has taught me that these sleepy marsupials are on the decline due to habitat loss and feral animals.
And although many of us are aware of what the koala looks like, do you really know much about it?
Koala by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Julie Vivas is a wonderful addition to the Walker Books Nature Storybooks series. As we climb up the Eucalyptus tree, the reader is introduced to a little joey Koala who has just been asked to move on by his mother!
The story follows this little joey as he grows up and searches for a new tree to live in. As the story flows alongside the detailed illustrations, down below are simple facts that relate to the story on the page helping the reader to understand why the joey must move on and where it needs to live.
The story has sad undertones as this little Joey is flung into the world without his mother – who doesn’t want him around anymore due to another Joey on the way – and needs to find a new home away from other males, in the right type of Eucalyptus tree and away from any dangers.
But nature isn’t always the perfect existence we want it to be and Koalas being animals aren’t always going to be kind if it means food and reproduction, so through this story we learn that the little Koala is resilient and can move on, can live on his own and can find a place to live.
Koala by Claire Saxby and Julie Vivas ends with hope, and shows us just how resilient these little marsupials are. Koalas are an emblem of Australia, but many of our actions effect how they live. None of this is mentioned in the story but when we see bushfire, lack of trees and housing – we can assume that perhaps Koalas would be much better off if we took more time to think about them and other native animals.
The illustrations by Julie Vivas are beautifully detailed, adding visual information to the story. The extra facts on each page allow the reader to pause and reflect upon the little koalas journey out into the world without his mother – a great asset to any picture book.
Koala by Claire Saxby and Julie Vivas has been loved by myself, my children and my students – so many questions filled with wonder filled the pages and continued after we read the final page.
So what can you do at home?
- What type of Eucalyptus leaves do Koalas eat? Are there any of these leaves in your area?
- Where do Koalas live in Australia, find a map to see where the different colonies are.
- Find out some more facts about koalas using the book and other methods of research.
- How do humans change the population of Koalas?
- Are there any organisations that support the population of Koalas? Try the Australian koala Foundation
– Writing a letter to a member of parliament
– Creating something that will alert friends and families about koalas.
– Teach people about the harm feral animals and plants can do to the environment.
– Consider ways you can have less of an impact on the environment.
We can all make differences in the world we live in – no one is too young or too small to make an impact. Think about what you can do today to make a small difference. Your actions speak louder than words!
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