Search Results for: wild pa

Wild Pa

Wild Pa

Wild Pa









Wild Pa

Claire Saxby

Connah Brecon

Random House Australia, 2016

32pp. hbk., RRP $A24.99



My Pa is not a quiet Pa,
a sit-and-read-the-news Pa.
My Pa is a Wild Pa –
and Wild Pas are lots of fun.

Indeed they are as they chase their grandsons through the dunes in full pirate garb; grow peas in crazy shapes; cook up spectacular meals; and even indulge in a full-on food fight.  Not for this grandfather the conventional “comb-his-three-long-strands” pa; the “trim-and-tidy-roses” pa; or even the traditional baked beans or sausages,  But for all his fun and games, this pa is nevertheless responsible and knows “when enough is quite enough”.

This is an hilarious romp written in rhyme that leaps off the pages with its actions and colourful illustrations. Right from the front cover which depicts Pa and grandson swinging Tarzan-like across the crocodile-infested pond you know this will be a story of fun and frolics that will engage young readers from the get-go.  Pa is cleverly depicted as just an adult version of his younger relative, distinguished only by a somewhat dodgy moustache and beard, emphasising the role model he is offering not only as a grandfather but also a caring family member. The endpapers are delightful – from swinging on a somewhat worse-for-wear clothesline to the suggestion that perhaps they are now in the doghouse!!  

Many schools now celebrate Grandparents Day and this and titles like Miss Mae’s Saturday would be perfect as part of a display about grandparents that could be shared on this day – or as part of a special selection in a Book Fair. Young children will delight in telling their own stories about their own grandfathers (who are no more the stereotypical white-haired chap in a cardigan and slippers than the grey-haired, bun wearing grandmother sitting in her chair knitting) and will begin to understand the family structure as they do.  Sometimes they are a whole lot of fun with a lot of wild ideas!!!

wild_pa2 wild_pa3


Eco Rangers: Wildfire Rescue

Eco Rangers: Wildfire Rescue

Eco Rangers: Wildfire Rescue










Eco Rangers: Wildfire Rescue

Candice Lemon-Scott

New Frontier, 2020

112pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Best friends Ebony and Jay are the Eco Rangers,. They love helping others and looking after the environment  rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured wildlife through their local conservation centre. And in this third episode in the series, there’s been a devastating wildfire in the bushland and Ebony and Jay are doing their best to find injured animals. As they rescue a cute little possum with burned paws, they also discover that some people have been camping in the area that was devastated by the fire. What were they doing there? This is a mystery that Ebony and Jay just have to solve.

This is a story that is going to resonate with many of our newly-independent readers who have just endured the most horrific summer and been confronted with the vision of rescued animals from every state. So while the focus for Ebony and Jay is on the possum and what the campers were up to, readers can reassure themselves that like Mira, many animals were saved and their rehabilitation is progressing. 

The fires have put a spotlight on the impact of fire on the animals and so this series is timely for younger readers wanting to know more about the bush and its creatures, perhaps even becoming Eco Rangers themselves.  There are tips at the back for guidance and with Pelican in Peril  shortlisted for the Wilderness Society’s 2020 Environment Award for Children’s Literature , perhaps there will be more in the series. to encourage both reading and conservation.

Agents of the Wild: Operation Honeyhunt

Agents of the Wild: Operation Honeyhunt

Agents of the Wild: Operation Honeyhunt










Agents of the Wild: Operation Honeyhunt

Jennifer Bell

Alice Lickens

Walker Books, 2020

184pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Daughter of world famous botanists who were killed on a flower-collecting expedition in Australia, 8-year-old Agnes now lives with her uncle who doesn’t understand her and certainly doesn’t understand her need or demand for a pet.  For although she now lives in a flat on the 26th floor of an apartment block in a big grey city, she has her parents’ love for the outdoors and being with the creatures in the local park is her favourite thing to do. So when she discovers a mysterious creature on her bed – one who informs her he is an elephant shrew, Rhynchocyn petersi,  Attie (short for “Attenborough”) a field agent for SPEARS (the Society for the Protection of Endangered and Awesomely Rare Species), she has no idea of the adventures that lie ahead Operation Honeyhunt sends them to the Atlantic forest, on a mission to save an endangered, dance-loving bee named Elton. Will Agnes pass the test and become a full SPEARS agent? 

This is a new series for newly independent readers who have an interest in the environment and its preservation, as they can put themselves in the story as they venture into foreign places on important missions.  Avid readers are always looking for new series while those who are more reluctant will appreciate the short chapters and many illustrations. Both will enjoy having a meaty, meaningful story to engross them as they transition from set basal readers to novels.

Where in the Wild

Where in the Wild

Where in the Wild









Where in the Wild

Poppy Bishop

Jonny Lambert

Little Tiger, 2018

24pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99


Inspired by Theodore Roosevelt saying, “The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will”, this book takes the young reader on a journey through the world’s key habitats and introduces them to some of the creatures that live within them. 

From rivers to jungles, the savannah, the desert, woodlands and the frozen extremes, familiar and not-so creatures make an appearance in colourful artwork and rhyming text. Using a double-page spread for each, the two-verse rhyme begins with an introduction to the habitat and then an inhabitant “speaks” to the reader about itself.  The rest of the pages are filled with a collage of flora and fauna, each with  a clever cutout featuring a creature that  lives in the featured habitat but which can adapt to the succeeding one to entice the reader to keep turning, reading and learning. Some of these cutouts have text which encourages closer observation of the illustrations, making the reader engage more through this interactivity.  The final message about habitat destruction and the need to protect what is left is very clear and ties in well with the initial quote. 

Often, books from the northern hemisphere tend to feature the creatures with which children from that part of the world are familiar but this one spans the globe, although, thankfully, the polar region is confined to the Arctic so there is not the confusion of polar bears and penguins on the same page.  

As well as being a comprehensive introduction to the world’s habitats so young readers can learn that there is more to this planet than their immediate surroundings, its strong conservation message can also lead to inquiries about the inhabitants of their local area and their protection and promotion; the impact of humans through the destruction of habitat, particularly deforestation;  the life cycles, needs and adaptation of creatures as their habitats change (such as described in Moth); and even individual responsibility and actions that could be taken to preserve what we have left. 

With the drought in eastern Australia drawing our attention to the land beyond the city environs, this is a great opportunity to have a look at the broader world and how it copes or doesn’t, and this would be an excellent introductory text. 

Paddy O’Melon the Irish Kangaroo

Paddy O'Melon the Irish Kangaroo

Paddy O’Melon the Irish Kangaroo









Paddy O’Melon the Irish Kangaroo

Julia Cooper

Daryl Dickson

Exisle, 2017

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


On the very day that he took his first steps out of his mother’s pouch, the little kangaroo is separated from her as two large black marauding dogs race through the clearing, scattering them to shelter.  The joey cannot keep up with his mum so he hides, found hours later by the O’Melon family who live in a valley in the rainforest and who care for injured and orphaned native creatures.  They all him Paddy O’Melon, their Irish kangaroo.

Wrapped in a pillowcase pouch and bottle-fed a special milk mixture, Paddy not only survives but thrives. He spends more and more time in the garden as he grows meeting and making friends with the other creatures that the O’Melons have rescued.  Eventually, all his time is spent outdoors and the family tell him that when he is old enough he can return to the wild and live with his own kind.  But just what is his “own kind”? When he introduces himself as Paddy O’Melon the Irish kangaroo, he is met with sniggers and giggles and no one is able to help him.  The best advice he can get is to find the cassowary who knows everything and everyone…

This is a charming story with echoes of Are You My Mother? but with much more depth and interest.  Written by a highly regarded naturalist, who has since passed away, it not only introduces the reader to the unfamiliar and unique creatures of Far North Queensland but carries a lot of information about them in both the text and the stunning illustrations, but never intruding into the story of Paddy’s quest.  

While many are familiar with kangaroos and wallabies,  few know about their cousins the pademelons who inhabit the northern rainforests  In an effort to spread the word about the species of her home region, Cooper has deliberately included the more unusual and suggests that readers can go here for more information about them. There are also Teachers’ Notes available and royalties are being donated to further the conservation of the area.

Apart from just being a good story, this book also introduces us to more of Australia’s wonderful wildlife, perhaps setting up an investigation that compares and contrasts those of the FNQ region to those in the students’ region.

Animal Activity: Cut, fold and make your own wild things!

Animal Activity

Animal Activity










Animal Activity: Cut, fold and make your own wild things

Isabel Thomas

Nikalas Catlow

Bloomsbury, 2017

64pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


It’s not often a book comes with a warning that it will self-destruct or a header about how to wreck it.  But that is what will eventually happen to this one if the budding mini-Attenborough in your midst makes the most of it.  

Full of fascinating facts about the natural world, it contains all sorts of make-and-do activities which require cutting, folding and pasting so that eventually while there might not be much of the book left, the reader will have their own jungle of plants and menagerie of bugs, fish, dinosaurs and a whole lot of other creatures. There is even a checklist to determine whether something is living or not (or ever has) to help the beginner start their exploration of the world around them…

  1. Does it move?
  2. Does it eat?
  3. Does it respire?
  4. Does it poop?
  5. Is it sensitive?
  6. Does it grow?
  7. Does it reproduce?

With winter closing in and the outdoors not the most appealing place to be, this would be the perfect alternative to screen-watching as little minds and fingers are kept busy following instructions and learning to be more observant of and careful in their environment.  



Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks

Amazing Animals of Australia's National Parks

Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks












Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks

Gina Newton

NLA Publishing, 2016

156pp., pbk., RRP $A29.99


Australia’s island geography means that our environment supports an amazing variety of unique wildlife many of which most Australians have never heard of let alone seen.  

But in this amazing, full-colour book the reader is introduced to a whole world of tree-dwelling kangaroos, a frog that looks like a turtle and birds that like blue as it spans 55 national parks and the habitats they embrace – woodlands and grasslands, forests, rainforests, arid zones, mountains, wetlands and waterways, coasts, oceans and islands. There is also a chapter devoted to the vast array of minibeasts that are found all over the nation.

Beautifully laid out with full-colour photographs, maps and diagrams, each habitat section opens with photographs of the featured national parks and a description of the habitat. Each animal has its own page, which has a stunning colour photograph of the species, a map of its distribution range, its conservation status and scientific information about the species. The information is divided into the following sections: ‘Fast Facts’ gives you all the vital statistics, such as size, lifespan and number of young; ‘Where Does It Live?’ tells you where in Australia you can find the species and provides details about its home; ‘What’s Its Life Like?’ tells you a bit about how the animal moves, behaves, eats and has young; and ‘Interesting Info’ has quirky and fascinating facts.

As well as providing easily accessible information about each creature, each page could serve as a role model for student reports when they undertake the ubiquitous investigation into our wildlife while offering some alternatives to the usual cast of kangaroos, koalas, platypus, echidnas and wombats.  With over 700 national parks covering 28 000 000 hectares of country and accounting for almost 4% of the land mass, it also offers scope for investigating why national parks exist, what they contribute to our ecological well-being and may even become the young person’s travel guide for the future.  

A superb addition to either the school or home library.

The Wild Christmas Reindeer

The WIld Christmas Reindeer

The WIld Christmas Reindeer











The Wild Christmas Reindeer

Jan Brett

Paperstar, 1990

32pp., pbk.,



High up in the snowy Arctic Santa has asked little Teeka to train the reindeer for his all-important once-a-year ride.  Teeka is excited but also a little apprehensive because it is such an important role, so she decided she needed to show them who was boss.  Heading out onto the tundra where the reindeer have been roaming free since the last all-night trip, she finds Bramble and Heather, Windswept and Lichen, Snowball, Crag, Twilight and Tundra.  She shouts at them to move and while they are startled by her loud voice, nevertheless they allow her to herd them back to the stable at Winterfarm. 

But Teeka does not know or understand reindeer behaviour and her methods make them upset and restless.  While they let her groom them, she has little success getting them ready for the sleigh and eventually disaster strikes when Lichen literally locks horns with Crag.  Clearly a new approach is needed..

This story repeatedly appears in “favourite Christmas stories” lists and the fact that it has been available in a variety of formats continuously since 1990 is testament to this. The well-told tale that has a gentle but relevant message about how we can get the best from animals and people is perfect for sharing with all ages as we start to think about the preparations being made so our children can have a special day.

Jan Brett is a master illustrator and typically there is another story being told in the side panels of each page that is just as enchanting. Starting on December 1, there is a countdown of what’s happening in THE workshop in the Christmas countdown right through to that magical night. 

A search for the title will bring results covering videos, activities, lesson plans and a host of other support materials to put this book on your Christmas Countdown.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

Wilderness Fairies

Daisy's Quest and Daisy's New Wings

Daisy’s Quest and Daisy’s New Wings


Daisy’s Secret and Daisy Takes Charge









Daisy’s Quest

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99


Ebk RRP $A7.99


Daisy’s New Wings

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99


Ebk RRP $A7.99


Daisy Takes Charge

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99



Daisy’s Secret

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99


Across a meandering river

In a forest tall and green

Live the magical Wilderness Fairies

And their wise Fairy Queen.


Guided by their Callings

The Wilderness Fairies strive

To use their magic wisely

And help the forest thrive.


But one impatient fairy

Has lessons yet to learn

Her Calling to discover

And fairy wings to earn.

And so begins the saga of Daisy, the star of this new Australian-based fairy series written by teacher librarian Jodie Wells and illustrated by Kerry Millard. In Daisy’s Quest she is anxious to earn her fairy wings, something granted only be the Fairy Queen.  Although she has her magic wand, presented to her on her fifth birthday, having wings would make such a difference and she is anxious to begin the quest that will earn them. Daisy is delighted that her time has come and, accompanied by her best friend Vu, a very rare chrysomelid beetle only 5mm long who exists on hackberry leaves, she embarks on a series of tasks encapsulated in cryptic clues and which test her life and limb.  And if she is to earn her wings she must reach the Fairy Queen by moonrise, which it seems she will do until not only she meets Holly but also runs out of magic…  Daisy’s New Wings follows her adventures as she learns how to fly but she is very impatient. 

In Daisy Takes Charge her sister Maggie is going to compete in a singing contest with Melody Magpie but the jealous and spiteful Grevillea has other ideas about who the winner will be.  In Daisy’s Secret she is invited to visit Queen Jasmine but right from her meeting with Keeper Raven of Tea-tree House security, things do not go well.  From a mysterious conversation overheard through a closed door Daisy finds herself on an amazing adventure with the future of Fairyland resting on her shoulders.

 Interspersed with detailed illustrations by Kerry Millard, this series offers newly-independent readers a modern take on the more traditional fairy tale. 

The stories are filled with beautiful descriptions that bring the fairyland of the imagination to life, but its Australian bush setting gives it a resonance that really appeal, particularly to Miss 7 who walks through a real fairy garden in that sort of setting every time she goes to her cubby house.  Drawing on the recognisable native flora and fauna, which are then explained in detail at the end of each story, really help the young reader believe that there really is a miniature magical world that exists away from the clumsy feet and loud noise of humans. Riches for the imagination, indeed!

Daisy is a character that many young readers would like to be – apart from being a fairy which could be enough in itself, Daisy is resourceful and resilient and even though she makes mistakes her actions are always driven by her concern for others.Written with a light hand, these stories have an undercurrent of being persistent, responsible, resilient, patient, co-operative – all those traits that their target audience are starting to develop as they become more independent. Readers waiting for the next in the series will have to be content with the website learning about the forest dwellers, colouring in the pictures by Kerry Millard and dreaming.



The Wild One

The Wild One

The Wild One









The Wild One

Sonya Hartnett

Lucia Masciullo

Penguin/Viking 2014

hbk, 32pp., RRP $A24.99


Charlie met the wild one when he was young.  His kite got stuck in the branches of the tree and there, sitting on the bough beside it is a barefoot, slightly dishevelled little boy – looking remarkably like Charlie himself.  All day they did things that little boys liked to do running, jumping, splashing, playing in the water, rolling in the mud, hanging from trees and scattering the leaves of autumn.  At the end of the day, it was time for Charlie to collect his kite and he was surprised to find that his new friend didn’t have to go home.  “Here is where I live,” he said. 

Whenever he could, Charlie visited the wild one and played and explored the wonders of nature. They caught tadpoles and saw the tiny legs; they watched caterpillars spin cocoons and spiders weaving webs; and they hooted to the mopoke who stared at them through feather goggles.  But such an idyllic life cannot last and Charlie had to go to school to learn mathematics and history and science.  Every now and then Charlie visited the wild one and he had not been forgotten but as life intervened the visits became fewer and fewer … until one, day, with his own son in his arms, he cannot find him at all.  Is he lost forever? 

This is a most gentle story of a boy who finds another side to himself, but loses it as life intervenes but as the sun rises and falls and the moon circles the earth, he discovers it again in time to share it.  Beautifully illustrated by Lucia Masciullo – this is the third partnership between the pair – it celebrates the joys of childhood and shows that the magic never quite leaves us, even if we cover it with layers of adult life.   The passage of time and the cycle of life are inexorable but deep down we never lose the wonder of our earliest days, and the need to replicate it for our children and our grandchildren.

Like all excellent picture books, this appeals to so many ages.  It’s perfect for helping the very young understand that time passes and things change, yet at the other end of the scale it would also be a perfect addition to a more abstract, conceptual  theme of belonging or journeys or discovery.  The more you read it, the more you discover.