In the bush I see by Kiara Honeychurch.

What do you see when you walk in the bush? A playful platypus? A nosey wren or perhaps a slithering snake?

When you come on a walk through this picture book you will meet an ensemble of animals who move throughout the Australian bush.

Kiara Honeychurch has created colourful animals who exude colour and life as they move about on their daily expeditions.

Young children will love the rainbow colours added to each animal and the small details that give texture. They will love the text for it’s simplicity and the ability for them to know what will come next once they have read it again and again! Kiara Honeychurch has done a marvellous job adding tones and changing light to each illustration

The echidna is a favourite at our house with it’s waddling walk and it’s shiny nose. Just this one page has started some extra research into these magnificent creatures!

As you read along you can talk about the noises each of these animals makes, how they move, where they live and what they eat.

. This book is part of a series by Magabala Books called Young Art which showcase young indigenous artists through easy to read board books.

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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?

Millie Loves Ants by Jackie French and Sue deGennaro

Is there any where in the world that functions like an ant colony?

 

My friend Millie just loves ants.

Mille Loves Ants by Jackie French and Sue deGennaro is a sweet story about a little girl who is intrigued by a delightful echidna and those little insects who creep in and out of our houses on a daily basis.

This is my pre release copy:

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Millie is a spiky bush friend who adores ants and tracks them wherever they go – even if that means going under the bath, into the kitchen, in hollow trees and on the bed!

In Mille loves ants, We see the power of children and their desire to explore their world and expand their knowledge. We also see the ability of children to be able to sit and watch, living side by side with native animals and insects, knowing that without them and the things they do, we would not exist in the way we currently do.

Sue deGennaro’s illustrations have been drawn in soft pastel shades and add to the warm and fuzzy feeling the reader will feel whilst they are reading this story.

The underlying messages of this story are beautiful – a mother echidna caring for her puggle and the importance of ants to our living environment. Both messages are ones which all children need to read about in order to deepen their appreciation of the natural world.

So what can you do with this book? 

 

SUSTAINABILITY

  •  Go on an ant hunt! Where do they ants live around your house and outside area? Watch where they go, what they are carrying and where they live.
  •  Where do Echidna’s live in Australia?
  • Although not all breeds of Echidna’s are endangered, some are and although they are a protected species, their habitat is not. Find out about breeding programs and conservation for echidna’s.
  • How do ants make the soil healthy?
  • What are the different roles of ants – soldier ants, queen ants , drones and worker ants? Draw up your own ant colony with labels.
  • PROJECT: Are ants the smartest insects? Compare different insects and try to come up with the winner!
  • PROJECT: What are your local ants favourite food? Do different ants like different types of food?
  • Check this out: http://www.schoolofants.net.au

LITERACY

  • Rhyme plays a role in this story. Which words rhyme in this story? What else rhymes with ants?

NUMERACY

  • Calculate how many ants might be in your backyard by working out how may are in 10cm2 and multiply it!