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Peregrines in the City

Peregrines in the City

Peregrines in the City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peregrines in the City

Andrew Kelly & Sue Lawson

Dean A. Jones

Wild Dog, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

9781742036519

Since 1991, from August to November, a pair of peregrine falcons has nested on the ledges of the building at 367 Collins Street, Melbourne, the current pair have been there since 2017.

In this new release, the story of one couple is told from the time they prepare their nest, lay and incubate their eggs, and care for the eyases until their first flight. With stunning, accurate  illustrations that are like photographs, it describes how these birds have adapted to life in the ever-growing city as it encroaches on to the wild countryside.  While it uses easily accessible text for young readers, it also respects their intelligence by using the correct terminology such as “tiercel” (male) and ‘eyas’ (a baby that has not yet flown) as well as other phrases that acknowledge that these are raptors, birds of prey, and there is a life cycle being carried out.

Comprehensive teachers’ notes designed to help students understand what is happening are linked to a YouTube channel, but even better is a YouTube search for “367 Collins falcons 2022” which brings up live videos of the current pair with their nest of four eggs, which includes a live stream. There are four eggs this season, laid on August 30 so due to hatch in mid-October.

 

The timing of the release of this book is perfect for young readers to be introduced to a species that often fascinates them because of the bird being a raptor and the fastest in the world, and with both print and video, it is a perfect way of showing what is happening as it happens while offering the extra information that static print can provide.  As you watch a train pass below the Yarra River far below, the female is carefully snuggling in to ensure all four eggs are protected and warm, oblivious to it being Grand Final Day … A real case of “watch this space”! 

On the Trail of the Plains-wanderer

On the Trail of the Plains-wanderer

On the Trail of the Plains-wanderer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Trail of the Plains-wanderer

Rohan Cleave

Julian Teh

CSIRO Publishing, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781486314478

Far out west, on the grassy plains straddling the borders of New South Wales and Victoria, lives a little bird, the only one of its kind in the world.  With no other relatives in its family tree, and itself moving closer to extinction because its habitat is diminishing as the land is farmed, and threats like foxes and other predators constantly endangering them, it is one of the world’s rarest and most threatened species.

But on this, National Threatened Species Day (recognised on September 7 because that’s the anniversary of the death in Hobart Zoo in 1936 of the last thylacine), it is time to shine a spotlight on this little creature to make it, and its plight, more widely known.  Although the scientists have been able to start a captive-breeding program, which includes using a feather duster in an unusual way, the birds lead such secretive lives it is not an easy task.

Told in a facts-rich narrative with life-like illustrations, with further information at the back as well as teachers’ notes, this is another opportunity to highlight another seriously endangered creature that is not as well-known as others. Even if the plains wanderer is not in our particular neighbourhood, other species are and students can be encouraged to consider their ecological footprint and what they can do to help so that their awareness is raised and they realise that even an individual can make a difference so Australia’s pitiful record of species loss can be stemmed. 

Now is the time to introduce our students not only to this little bird – adults are just 15-19cm high and weigh 40-95 grams- but to other unique Australian species through books like Amazed! CSIRO’s A to Z of Biodiversity , A Shorebird Flying Adventure, Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths, One Potoroo  and Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish so that other species don’t go the way of the thylacine. 

Snakes Awake

Snakes Awake

Snakes Awake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snakes Awake

Jarrod Paine

Shannon Boland

Ford Street, 2022 

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781925804928

Pip and her mum love to explore the bush, particularly in summer when so many creatures have woken from their winter slumbers and are out and about.  Pip’s favourite creatures are snakes, especially the red-belly black snake, but there are lots of things to know and do so she and her mum stay safe while they are exploring.

Written for younger readers so they too can heed Pip’s advice, this is a timely book to share as the weather warms up and families and animals are more active. As well as the story, it includes easy-to-read charts for both staying safe and first aid should there be the need.  Above all, it shows that while we must take care in the bush, just as we do at the beach, there is much to see and admire if we are prepared to wear our “special nature goggles”. 

 

Flipper and Finnegan – The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins

Flipper and Finnegan - The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins

Flipper and Finnegan – The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flipper and Finnegan – The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins

Sophie Cunningham

Anil Tortop

Albert Street, 2022

24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781761180071

Flipper and Finnegan are two of the Little Penguins that live on a Phillip Island, fishing in the surrounding ocean by day and bringing delight and joy to the thousands of visitors who travel to see their evening parade as they waddle up to their burrows.

But one day, when Flipper comes up for air she gets covered in something that is black and smelly and sticky – and Finnegan is nowhere to be seen…

And, if you’re a rescuer how can you keep so many penguins warm and safe so they don’t die of hypothermia or ingesting the oil on their feathers, while you painstakingly clean them one by one?

Based on the true story of a 2001 oil spill in Port Phillip Bay that affected the Little Penguins, this is a heart-warming story of how a nation pulled together to save the colony by knitting little sweaters to protect them while they waited their turn.  In all, 438 Little Penguins were affected by that oil spill and of those, 96% were successfully saved with the help of penguin jumpers, rehabilitated at the Wildlife Clinic and released back into the wild.

From the team who created Tippy and Jellybean – The True Story of a Brave Koala who Saved her Baby from a Bushfire, young readers can again learn of the perils – natural and manmade – that threaten our precious wildlife and while the disasters might be unavoidable, there is something that can be done to mitigate their impact.  By focusing on just two penguins and telling their story as an example of the other 436 penguins affected, their plight becomes more real and immediate and the reader connects with it more readily.  

While the penguin jumper project has been running for over 20 years, there are many that aren’t really suitable for putting on the penguins and so these are sold on penguin toys to raise funds for wildlife conservation on Phillip Island. Since 2012 the sale of these jumpers has raised $287,700 , going towards the  protection and preservation of the colony.  

A charming tory that will help raise awareness of the impact of humans on the landscape and to encourage our young readers to take only photographs and leave only (carefully placed) footprints. 

 

Backyard Buddies

Backyard Buddies

Backyard Buddies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backyard Buddies

Andy Geppert

Lothian, 2022

24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780734421470

There are lots of creatures and critters that live in our backyards that fascinate our young readers – things like butterflies, spiders, blue-tongue lizards and even pet rocks.  So this “somewhat factual introduction to the hoppy, crawly, wriggly, buzzy,[and] fluttery ” that little ones are likely to see will be a welcome addition to help answer their questions.  

Beginning with the front endpage offering a contents list that relies on the reader recognising the shape of the creature they want to investigate (encouraging visual acuity), each has its own double-page spread that has lots of pictures including visual cues about when to see it and whether it is safe to touch or not as well as an easily readable description.

Butterflies are like moths – just fancier.

They fly around during the daytime to show off their pretty, colourful wings. This is probably why moths prefer to only come out at night.

As well as offering our youngest readers an understanding that books can be about real things so their questions can be answered, thus introducing the concept of non fiction, like its predecessor Backyard Birdies , it could even inspire the young backyard naturalist to be more aware of their surroundings, perhaps starting a chart to record their observations and  beginning to develop their skills in data gathering, mapping and interpretation! To help parents and teachers encourage this exploration of the immediate environment, there are teachers’ notes that suggest activities that go beyond the pages to investigating life cycles, adaptation and even how humans interact with the creatures.  Even though they might have the ‘don’t touch” symbol, does that make them an enemy to be killed? Or does everything have a place? Scope for a range of ages… 

Stardiving

Stardiving

Stardiving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stardiving

Andrew Plant

Ford Street, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922696021

In the sunlit waters, baby Fluke is content to swim languidly among the rest of the sperm whale pod, occasionally rising to the surface to breathe. But as he does so, he is joined by a pod of dolphins who leap and cavort far above the surface, teasing him to join them.

“Come up and see the sky”, they say to which Fluke says he can see the sun.  “The sun’s great, but have you seen the stars?” 

And Fluke begins to wonder and daydream…until he is given some advice from Cachalot, the great bull whale, that sends him on a journey of discovery that teaches him more than he can have imagined.

Put Andrew Plant’s name on the cover of a book and I’m there! Whether it’s The Poppy, Sparkor any of the others that I’ve read and reviewed over the years, I know I will be in for a beautifully illustrated, lyrically written story that will reach deep. Of them all, Stardiving  has gone the deepest as Fluke learns as much about himself as he does about the stars that are in his own environment, without even having to learn to leap and leave his natural habitat.  As Fluke discovers the stars that twinkle and shine far below in the ocean’s depths, a place where the dolphins can’t ever go, he begins to understand what Cachalot means when he says, “You are not even yourself yet. Why do you want to be something else?”  That, like the ocean, he has hidden depths yet to explore…

Plant’s stunning illustrations take the reader into an unknown world, one inaccessible to most humans. one that even television images from deep-diving submersibles can’t portray accurately as the calm and serenity and the being-in-the-moment-ness has to be experienced; yet one that, for all its mystery, is as deserving and needy of preservation as the shallower waters above because what happens on top impacts what happens beneath.  Just as our personal experiences shape who we are, as they did for Fluke – a theme to explore in itself – so too is the ocean an integrated, holistic environment.  And while Plant doesn’t touch on pollution, habitat destruction and so forth, it is there in his dedication, reminding the reader that this story has as many layers as the ocean itself.

To all the eco-warriors who faced down the whalers; to the scientists who study and advocate for our oceans; to the kids who fight the scourge of plastic…

Extensive teachers’ notes which include an introduction to the creatures that Fluke sees, enable this book to become a journey of discovery for the reader as much as it was for the baby whale. 

 

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Imogen Greenberg

Isabel Greenberg

Bloomsbury, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781526625700

Imagine you made something that was so beautiful and powerful that everyone wanted to take it for themselves. And then you had to watch them destroy it. Would you fight for it?

Meet Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess who created the Earth and the universe that stretched beyond it. She raised trees from their roots to the sky, sent waterfalls tumbling over cliffs and created the tides that sloshed on the shore. She gifted her creation to animals and mortals, and watched as they made it their home.

But she also created a force she couldn’t control: the ambition of gods. Gaia watched as the gods fought brutal wars and manipulated mortals such as Hercules and Achilles, disturbing peace on Earth. Storms raged, fires blazed and people, animals and plants suffered. Gaia begged the gods to look after her creation, but no one listened.

But Gaia never gave up fighting for a better world. This is her story.

From the sisters who gave us the remarkable Madame Curie and her Daughters, and Athena: the Story of a Goddess comes another journey into Greek mythology with this modern take on the story of Gaia, told by the Fates, -Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos – in a graphic narrative that is designed for independent readers.  With a poignant environmental message that the pursuit of power damages our natural world, and we all have to work together to protect it, it is a relevant today as it was during the time of the Ancient Greeks 3000 years ago.  

But not only does it offer an introduction to Greek mythology that forms such a strong platform of our beliefs and values, it can also be a companion to those books that you might have been using to investigate the origins of this planet. For every civilisation has its creation myths which make for intriguing studies in themselves, let alone comparing and contrasting the lore with the science. 

Fascinating.

Look Inside a Coral Reef

Look Inside a Coral Reef

Look Inside a Coral Reef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Inside a Coral Reef

Minna Lacey

Sam Brewster

Usborne, 2022

14pp., board book, RRP $A19.99

9781474998918

Despite it being in board book format, this is one for anyone with a new interest in coral reefs, their formation, inhabitants and the secrets they hold.  The board book format allows it to have a sturdy lift-the-flap feature encouraging readers to explore further and learn more as each phenomenon is explained in a little more depth beneath the flap.

 


And for those who want to know even more, there are the usual Quicklinks that accompany most of the books from this publisher, including games and activities. 

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

Markus Motum

Walker, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781529502831

January, 1992, and far out in the Pacific Ocean in the middle of a ferocious storm, a shipping container slips silently off the deck of a cargo ship and gradually sinks to the bottom of the sea. Unlike many of these containers which sink and remain forever on the seabed, this one has been damaged by the storm and it it goes to its watery grave, it releases its cargo – thousands and thousands of plastic ducks, frogs, turtles and beavers – and they are left to travel the world’s seas, taken by wind and current.

Based on true events, this innovative story tracks the journey of one of those 28 000 little ducks as it travels on ocean currents to meet sea life and discovers the rubbish from humans that endangers our oceans., highlighting the growing problem of plastic pollution. Trapped in the vast wasteland that is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the little duck thinks it is doomed but another storm frees it and it eventually washes up on a beach where someone is actually doing something to address the problem…

With 40% of plastic that is produced designed for single use only, and an estimated 8 000 000 tonnes of it finding its way into the oceans each year, some scientists are estimating that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.  While recent, and upcoming bans on the sale of single-use plastic items will hopefully contribute to diminishing these statistics, stories like these that bring the problem into the lives of our students so they are aware of it from an early age are essential.  As well as explaining how the oceans’ currents enable these “plastic islands” to form, there are suggestions to enable individuals to make a difference such as recycling or organising a beach cleanup, but it might also spark discussions about what could be done at the class or school level, such as a toy swap or a Nude Food Week, especially if before-after comparisons are done as part of a maths challenge.  

Team this with others like Oceans of Plastic The Plastic Throne and Toy Mountain    so that even our youngest can start to make a difference.  

   

Be Wild, Little One

Be Wild, Little One

Be Wild, Little One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Wild, Little One

Olivia Hope

Daniel Egnéus

Bloomsbury, 2022

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

9781408884805

Wake up early, don’t be shy.
This bright world can make you FLY . . .

Described as an “anthem of bravery” this is a picture book that encourages young readers to embrace and explore the world around them, to be driven by their imagination, unshackled by any practical limitations, as they journey through the beauties of nature: from pine forests to awe-inspiring mountains, and from sparkling seas to starry skies,  fly across oceans, run with wolves through the mountain snow, dance with fireflies, and just be wild.

While in itself it might appear somewhat fanciful, nevertheless it could be a good discussion starter for exploring the local world, particularly those attractions that are there to enjoy for free as school holidays entice adventures and expeditions.  Your wild one might not be able to run with wolves but perhaps there is a hillside that needs climbing or a rockpool to explore.