Awesome Animal Stories for Kids
Penguin Random House, 2015
208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
Author Aleesah Darlison’s lifelong love of animals shines through in this collection of short stories that is just perfect for the newly independent reader to curl up and enjoy.
There are twelve delightful stories that embrace animals of all kinds from the real to the fantastic, the large to the small – each unique and for the lover of the animal story genre, a treasure trove for the imagination. Each story is complete and long and detailed enough to make a great stand-alone read for those few minutes that can only be filled by a story.
My personal favourite is that of Swoop, the story of Kasey’s care for a baby magpie who has fallen out of its nest. Living in the bush and with a couple of Mother Magpies who bring their new babies to visit each day and care for them for months, it is a heart-warming story that has many a lesson to learn. Kasey wants to keep Swoop as her personal pet rather than letting be the wild bird she is and so she puts her in a cage. Some days she would forget to let her out and poor Swoop would stay imprisoned just listening to the call of the other wild magpies. When Swoop doesn’t return home one night, Kasey is heart-broken but her mother is wise.
“You have to learn to let go, Kasey…Sometimes that’s what being a mum means… You’ll always be her mum. But she’s grown up now. It’s best to let her come and go as she pleases, otherwise she won’t want to come home at all.”
It’s a hard lesson for a little girl to learn but nevertheless Kasey has to learn it. And she is rewarded in the end.
Other stories include the legend of Alvorado, King of Cats; Sea Sprites and Rock Pools (perfect for those having a beach adventure this holiday); Orphan Foal which is a heart-wrenching story of survival and the hilarious Pig-napped.
I love Aleesah’s writing. Not only does she always tell an engaging story but each one has a depth and integrity to it that means it lingers in the mind of the reader well after the last page is turned. Miss 9 stuck her nose in this on Christmas Day and that was pretty much the last we saw of her! No greater recommendation can be made.