The gum family finds home by Tania McCartney and Christina Booth.

Do you actually know how hard it is to find the perfect home?

The Gum family are in need of a new home – it needs to be safe, secure ,comfortable and of course somewhere amongst the gum trees – where will it be?

Join Tania McCartney and Christina Booth as they take the Gum Family on a rocky adventure around Australia, visiting many different and amazing geological formations in Australia.

They visit the 12 apostles, wave rock, Kata Tjuta and the Glasshouse mountains – just to name a few. At each place the look for the perfect spot for a new home admiring the different ways the rocks have formed and changed over time.

Children have a great sense of wonderment and awe and this book arouses just that.

After we read this book we pulled out a map of Australia, books about each place visited and jumped on the internet to learn more.

The book does contain a map, small pieces of information and real photographs but the need to learn more was inspired – so we did just that!

Many students knew about Uluru and the Three Sisters but that was about it – so thank you to The Gum Family – these students all now know a lot more about the country they live in.

I also enjoyed pulling out old photographs of my trip around Australia to many of these places and reminiscing about how I felt in each location.

So this is what we did after we read the book:

– We researched further into each location and wrote down some more points.

– We worked out why tourists visit here and created a new brochure.

– We discussed what might happen if some of these places crumble up? Get destroyed by human interference?

– We discussed what koalas need in a perfect home.

What have you done with this book?

Advertisements

A-Z of Australian animals by Jennifer Cossins.

Did you know there is an Australian animal that starts with X? 

And that many of the animals that inhabit Australia are endemic to it?

Or perhaps you didn’t realise that the only egg laying mammals in the world live amongst our shrub?

Well wonder no more! Make yourself comfortable and journey through the amazing alphabet of Australian animals.

On this alphabetical journey you will learn about an animal that represents each letter of the alphabet through illustration, facts and figures. Children will delight in Jennifer Cossins vibrant illustrations which resemble the real animal in focus.

We have read all of Jennifer’s books and have adored them all. Not only are the illustrations amazing, the facts that she provides are perfect for little minds. Tapping into the interesting facts and basic information, children will want to learn more about an animal that resonates with them long after you have finished reading.

The Orange Bellied Parrot was a favourite of ours and once we found out it was endangered we made a poster just to share with others the importance of looking after the natural world and helping those who are trying to save them.

We also loved the Sugar glider and my children were quite jealous of the fact that it had the name sugar in it’s name and it got to eat sweet things every day!

A-Z of Australian animals is a delightful book to read, use as a reference guide and admire the illustrations of. One for every library at home, school or in the community.

So what can you do at home?

  •  Explore one or more of the animals in this book. Find out which ones live close to you or a place you have visited.
  • Use a map of Australia to see where each of these animals live.
  • Write your own list of Australian animals A-Z and see what else you can come up with!
  • Read some more of Jennifer Cossins books and explore her illustration techniques throughout the different books.

The baby animal Book

A-Z of endangered animals

101 collective nouns

Teachers – There are some great teacher notes here

Continue reading

Echidnas can’t cuddle

But with my spikes, I can’t even hug my very own mother.

 

Poor Eric.

 

He is covered in spikes and they are getting in the way of his need to cuddle. All he wants to do is cuddle someone and feel the joy of a warm embrace but all the other bush animals are too frightened of his spikes.

Penny the platypus cries, koalas are cuddly up high in the tree and rosellas with all their feathers can put their wings around eachother at any time. Poor little Eric.

Upset with his situation, Eric runs away and then runs even faster when a snake tries to bite him, bees try to stng him and an eagle tries to snatch him.

Luckily he has spikes – those spikes that he hates and wishes he never had – to save him.

Eric learns to love his spikes and comes to realise that even if he can’t give a hug to someone he loves, he can give them a kiss.

Eric the echidna is quite the loveable character in this rhyming picture book. He displays many characteristics that children will relate to  – jealousy, fear, independence, lack of self esteem,  love for others and love for himself. Echidnas can’t cuddle is a great story to use to talk about self acceptance and learning to love the different things about each person.

Lauren Merrick’s images have been created through collage and print and are wonderful to look at, talk about and wonder how they were created to give the feeling of texture and life.

Echidnas can’t cuddle was shortlisted for the 2017 Environment awards because of the way it raises awareness about these spiky creatures, its habitat and the other animals that live around it.

http://www.eacl.org.au/2017-shortlist-announced/

So what else can you do with this book?

 

Science

  1. Find out more about echidnas! Where do they live and are they endangered?
  2. What types of animals are echidnas and who else belongs in this group?
  3. What are the spikes made out of ? What else can you find out about these spikes?

Creative writing and drawing

  1. Write a story about another animal that wants a cuddle but can’t.
  2. Choose another Australian animal and write about a journey it might go on in order to find something positive about itself.
  3. Re create an image of the Australian bush using the techniques Lauren Merrick has.

Self awareness

  1. Link back to self – what do you love about you? What do you worry about? How can you help yourself to be proud of everything you are?

Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys: A bush Christmas by Lesley Gibbes

Have you started to think about Christmas yet?


If you’re anything like the little joeys in this story you’ll be thinking about all the different things that need to be done in time for Christmas day.

The busy little joeys in this story are not the quiet kind, they are full of energy and eager to decorate the house and Christmas tree – all in time for Christmas day!

Written with rhyme and repetition, young children will love reading this story and watching the little joey and his family have fun together bringing about Christmas cheer!

Doris Chang’s illustrations are cleverly drawn, showing the reader the key part of the joey’s actions. The colours she has used reflect summer in Australia – the parched greens, brown earth and the wildlife that abounds in backyards!

Bouncing bouncing little joeys: A bush Christmas is a fun way to inspire some homemade family fun and because of the rhyme and repetition, children can be involved in the storytelling.

So what else can you do with this book?

Literacy

  •  List all of the verbs used in this story. What other verbs might you use to describe actions when you are getting ready for Christmas?
  • Choose a part of the Christmas tree and write your own descriptive sentence that may have rhyme, repetition and descriptive adjectives.

Science

 

 

Endangered animal spotlight: The Numbat

What am I?

I am only 40cm long

I eat around 20 000 termites a day

I am only found in Western Australia

 

I am a NUMBAT!

2841952-3x2-700x467

(Photo taken from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-03/numbat-population-grows-after-wa-breeding-program/8410856)

 

Numbat’s used to inhabit the southern part of Australia, including Western Australia, South Australia and parts of New South Wales but now they are only found naturally in pockets of South Western Australia.

Key reasons as to why these cute banded animals are endangered is because of cats, foxes and loss of habitat due to land clearing for mining and farming.

There are currently only around 1000 numbats left  in Australia.

So how can you make a difference for these diurnal marsupials?

Read a book – Rufus the Numbat is a fun filled read!

Check out project numbat and the great kids activities online

See how fences are keeping away cats and foxes

Keep your cat inside – see what PETA says about this.

Check out what FAME are doing for these animals

 

One very tired Wombat by Renee Treml

Feeling a little sleepy but ready to learn about some beautiful Australian animals?


Put on those snuggly pyjamas and have a read of this delightful counting book – One very tired Wombat by Renee Treml.

One very tired Wombat by Renee Treml is a intricately illustrated counting book where one wombat just wants to sleep!

As the wombat tries to snuggle down he is disturbed by furtive frogmouths, playful penguins and bubbly budgerigahs until he sneezes – which you’ll have to read for yourself to find out what happens to all of his noisy guests!

Not only will your child be exposed to counting both forwards and backwards between one and ten but they will also learn a little bit about each cheeky animal throughout the story and then on the back page of the book.

Renee Treml is a very talented artist and each animal has been drawn with expert detail and care – so much so that your child will easily recognise these birds if they are seen in the wild.

SO what can you do at home?

  • Learn more about these cheeky birds who you might hear in the morning if you live near nature reserves.
  • Create your own counting book with ten of your own favourite animals from your country.
  • Renee has used alliteration throughout the story. Explore the words she has used and then think of how you could describe some different Australian animals and birds.
  • Visit Renee’s website and learn about how she creates her images. Perhaps you could try this with young children by scratching onto wet paint to create a picture using lines.
  • Plot on a map where these animals live in Australia. Are any of them close to you? Are any of these animals endangered?
  • Where do wombats live? Explore where wombats usually sleep so they can avoid noisy feathered friends!

 

 

A is for Australian animals by Frane Lessac.

Have you ever wondered which Australian animals you would come across if you wandered through the alphabet, across the desert down by a river or over the ocean?


A is for Australian animals by Frane Lessac takes every reader on a magical journey all over Australia where we meet Quokkas, Bilbies, Jumping spiders and even Death adders!

Starting from the letter A, Frane Lessac explores through brightly coloured and detailed illustrations the amazing characteristics of each animal. Each picture is accompanied by 5 – 10 facts that are very interesting and perhaps unknown to many readers.

Did you know that emus have two eyelids?

Did you know that the Perentie Goanna can run up to 30 km/h?

Letter A gives the reader background information as to why Australia has so many interesting animals. In A is for Australian Animals, Lessac explores the habitats of mammals, reptiles, birds and monotremes through each letter of the alphabet- really highlighting the diversity of Australia.

The use of rich Australian outback and bushland colours brings life to the illustrations and allows the reader to feel like they are there with the animals in their natural environment. There are no people or buildings to be seen throughout the whole story – a great way for readers to see this wide brown land.

Frane Lessac artwork is superb and draws the reader to look further into each double page spread, searching for hidden animals, detailed plants and movement of sand or water.

A is for Australian Animals is  a must read for any Australian, and perhaps an inspiration for you to take a drive out of the city and into the outback, hidden rainforests or islands of our diverse country.

So what can you do at home? 

Geography

Find out where each of these animals live and plot this on a map. How big is each animals range of habitat and has this range changed over time?

Science

Group these animals – mammal, monotreme, bird or reptile.

Group these animals according to the types of environments they live in.

Literacy

Compare this book to another fact book, video of facts and podcast of facts. How do you prefer for find out facts? Which way do you think is better for your learning or are they all helpful?

Could you change the animals in this story by creating your own A-Z of Australian animals?

Numeracy

There are more kangaroos than humans in Australia! Where do they all live then? Compare and contrast the population sizes of the animals in this story. You could look into the rise or decline in numbers and try to work out why this has happened.

GeographyFind out where each of these animals live and plot this on a map. How big is each animals range of habitat and has this range changed over time?ScienceGroup these animals – ma

Python by Christopher Cheng and Mark Jackson

It’s morning in the bush.
Python stirs and slithers out from her shelter.
She warms her head and smells the air
with her forked tongue.
Python is a beautiful snake,
but also dangerous
– and she is looking for a meal

Python by Christopher Cheng and Mark Jackson is a captivating picture book that takes you along for a ride as snake looks for her next meal.

Illustrator Mark Jackson brings the danger of the snake to life through his descriptive illustrations of snake sneaking up on her next meal, camouflaging amongst rocks and basking in the warm sun with her brood.

Christopher Cheng not only writes an enchanting story of the snake and her meal seeking adventure, he also adds in some great facts along the way that even the youngest reader can engage with.

Python teaches the reader about Pythons, their habitat and behaviour. Many of us are petrified of snakes and perhaps would rather throw a rock at it than let it run away. When we read stories like this to our children we are building their awareness of creatures like snakes, who are dangerous, and allowing them to know more about them to realise that the snakes are probably a lot more scared of us!

Did you know that pythons might only eat once every four weeks? And that they can unhinge their jaws?

The world of pythons is dangerous yet intriguing and this CBCA shortlisted picture book is a book for all to enjoy.

img_6363.jpg

Desert Lake by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli

The dry salt bed of Kati-Thanda~Lake Eyre shimmers in the desert heat.

But far up north, the rains have come. Water is flooding into empty riverbeds and swirling down towards the lake.

Soon everything will change.


Mesmerising images, lyrical narrative and imagination sparking facts – Desert Lake is a work of art created by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli.

The story begins in the hot parched desert which looks desolate and barren but as soon as the rains falls and the rivers from up north flow down south we see how amazing the natural world is. As we read this story we were amazed to find out about frogs eggs that lay dormant for  years under the ground waiting for rain and birds that can sense when the lake is in flood from hundreds of kilometres away.

Desert Lake’s illustrator – Liz Anelli has created eye catching illustrations which give more depth to the story through detail and by adding extra images on each page.

The natural world is an amazing place and to see something like this happen in person would be a wondrous event. I was lucky enough to visit Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre when it was in flood in 2010 – we couldn’t drive to the lake at the time as many of the roads were damaged from recent flooding but we were able to take a flight from William Creek Hotel. As we flew overhead we saw flocks of birds all over the lake and understood the span of the water as it sat there glistening in the sunlight.

Kati-Thanda-Lake Eyre does not receive as much water as it used to largely due to climate change and over use of water from nearby farms. Humans have a great knack at doing things that suit us without thinking of the consequences – perhaps now is the time to start to consider the farming procedures in Australia so that we can perhaps start to farm food that works with our climate – food that needs less water and less pesticides.

So what can you do?

  • Take your time to read this book – we have read it over and over and still each time we manage to ask new questions about Kati Thanda.
  • Pull out a map and find out which rivers flow into Kati Thanda.
  • Investigate and find out the type of farming done in the middle of Australia and how the farming might effect the land.
  • How can you save water? List some ways your family can conserve water.
  • How can you look after water? List some ways you can be more mindful of what you put down the drain.

 BUY NOW
Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thanda - Lake Eyre

The family hour By Tai Snaith

The Family Hour by Tai Snaith. Published by Thames and Hudson

How does your family breakfast time look?

How do you keep your family cool those hot summery days?

Can you imagine living with your family underground?

 

Perhaps you have pondered on these questions…perhaps you have wondered what the animal families might do in their family time too?

The family hour by Tai Snaith explores how different Australian animals spend time together – frog dads sing, seadragon dads carry their babies in their pouch, echidna mothers feed their babies pink milk and Tasmanian devil families love to be noisy!

As we read through this book we had a laugh at some of the  family antics, a hint of jealousy at some and a feeling of wonder with others. The animal world is so intricate and it is wonderful to read books like this one to make these facts much more fun for children.

Tai’s illustrations bring warmth to each family’s activity and just shows that any type of family – no matter which type – are all important to the happiness of each other.

So what can you do?

Learn more about Australian animals, choose one that you do not know much about and find out how they live in Australia.

Learn more about the different types of human families there are and why they are all so different – yet amongst that difference still so important.

Draw an animal family doing something that animals don’t normally do (or perhaps do whilst we aren’t looking….)

 

 

 

So how can you use this book at home?

 

Another wonderful aspect of this story are the extra facts at the back of the book which also include if this animal is endangered – a great place to start a discussion on how we can help them out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing and drawing about sustainabillity

I have just received an email about this wonderful competition for primary school aged children.

If you would like to link sustainability and literacy please have a look at the Wilderness Society’s and The Environment Award for Children’s Literature competition.

This is a beautiful way to bring to life children’s ideas about sustainability and what it means to them.

Competition link: http://www.eacl.org.au/learn/

Some of the books I have blogged about are in their shortlist of the 2016 Environment Award for Childrens Literature. So have a look back through my blog if you need any help integrating these books into the classroom.

Phasmid: To come! Follow me for updates!

Seagull

The River

Once I heard a little wombat: To come! Follow me for updates!

Thirst:

Mister Cassowary: To come! Follow me for updates!

Platypus

WATCH THIS SPACE! OR HEAD OVER TO FACEBOOK AND LIKE MY PAGE!