Scribbly Gum Secrets
Ford Street, 2020
32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95
It’s family time and mum’s choice of activity and she chooses a bushwalk. While the children would much rather stay inside with their screens, they reluctantly join her, dragging their feet all the way. But as they leave the built-up area and into the bush, they start to notice things like the train of “itchy grubs” on the old post and the new baby flying fox. But Charlie, the youngest, has noticed strange writing on a tree and he will not move on till someone reads it to him. Has someone taken a marker and written all over the bark, or is there another explanation?
As schools shut down and children are required to stay at home with only themselves for company, this is a timely release that may give parents trying to teach them at home an idea for an excursion. Looking closely at the things in the neighbourhood, taking photos, mapping the journey and identifying interesting everyday things that usually go unnoticed could offer a broad spectrum of learning as well as the exercise involved. And some might even like to investigate the strange writing on the trees to give Charlie his answer… Does it hold secret messages?
The rhyming text and the beautifully detailed pictures which hold so much to be discovered make this a perfect book to introduce our children to things they might not have noticed and send them scurrying for answers.