Tag Archives: Fishing

Down by the sea…



It may be winter but living near the sea does have its advantages especially when you are in Queensland so my mood today is for those things that are of the ocean.

Tropical Terry – Jarvis


Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406376425
Imprint: Walker
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $24.99

Terry is a very plain little fish who lives with his friends Cilla the crab and Steve the sea snail in a beautiful tropical reef. The three friends have great fun playing their games and Terry is particularly adept at ‘Hide-a-fish’. But Terry is not happy. The glamorous and colourful tropical fish completely ignore him as well as his friends and Terry wishes he could impress them instead of being so nondescript.

Then he devises a wonderful plan. He collects all kinds of marvellous adornments and his friends help him to stick them on and voila! Terry is transformed into one of the flashy fish he so envies. That all works very well. The tropical fish are in great admiration and Terry is soon so busy swanning (finning?) around with them all that he neglects his friends until Eddie the eel comes cruising by looking for dinner. While all the truly tropical fish swim away Terry is just too slow with all his additional bits and pieces. Thankfully his friends remind him of their games and as soon as Terry ditches his disguise and resumes his place as the expert at ‘Hide-a-fish’ Eddie is thwarted and suddenly the glamour crew realise that even a plain little fish does have some great qualities.

A lovely and fun story about being true to yourself that is very suitable for readers from Prep upwards.

Is it a Mermaid? – Candy Gourlay/Francesca Chessa


Walker Books

ISBN: 9781910959121
Imprint: Otter-Barry Books
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

Dugongs are a very relevant local topic here as Moreton Bay is an area in which they can be found (I’ve yet to see one but always hope!) and they are also an at risk species in their various habitats. In olden days sailors mistook them for mermaids and one particular dugong has taken this on board.

Benji and Bel are playing by the sea when they spot a dugong and get very excited. The dugong however insists she is a mermaid and demonstrates all her mermaid-ish attributes – tail, flippers, singing, grace and beauty. None of this convinces Benji who rather hurts her feelings by insisting she’s a SEA COW.

But all is forgiven when Benji apologises and the children have wonderful fun playing all day long with their new friend – the mermaid.

Set in the Philippines the book concludes with some relevant information about dugongs and the ways in which young readers can help protect the dugongs’ natural habitats of sea meadows.  Bright illustrations in an almost naïve style help the readers to visualise the waters in which these marvellous animals can be found.

Highly recommended for readers from around Prep upwards and a perfect addition to a unit on endangered animals for younger students.


Julian is a Mermaid – Jessica Love


Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406380637
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

It’s not just dugongs who like to pretend they are mermaids. When Julian goes out with his Nana and sees some women dressed so gorgeously as ‘mermaids’ he is so entranced that he can’t wait to try it out himself. Back at home while Nana has a bath Julian sets about transforming himself using rather a lot of Nana’s household objects such as ferns and curtains. He feels wonderful but is a little worried about his grandmother’s reaction both to using her things and making a little mess but also just to his desire to be like the beautiful woman.

Not to worry as good grandmothers understand such things and not only does Nana approve but validates his dressing up with some beautiful beads and off they go to show off Julian’s transformation.

This a gentle and whimsical story about self-confidence and being true to yourself while also introducing the concept of acceptance of non-binary children.

A very timely addition to any collection with some valuable reflections to be shared with young readers in the early years.

A First Book of the Sea – Nicola Davies. Illustrated by Emily Sutton


Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406368956
Imprint: Walker
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $29.99
New Zealand RRP: $32.99

In a truly lovely collaboration between write and illustrator this anthology celebrates the majesty of the sea in all its aspects. From the creatures that dwell in it to the sailing ships of old readers can spend hours swimming with dolphins or fishing for dinner, investigating the dark depths or reflecting on the impact of pollution of the seas.

Surfing, pearl diving, lighthouses, harbours, journeys, the Beaufort scale, and much, much more wash across the pages amidst striking and beautiful watercolour illustrations.

From the polar seas to the tropics all manner of topics are covered in the poems that are not only lyrical but often informative.

What a beautiful addition to a poetry collection for young readers!

This comes with a high recommendation for young readers of all ages from around four years upwards. Little ones will delight in the words and pictures and older ones will likewise revel in the imagery created.

Seahorse – Bruce Pascoe



Magabala Books

August 2015


RRP $16.95

Both boys and girls in middle primary or thereabouts will enjoy this exciting story set on the beach of Seahorse Bay. Camping, fishing, snorkelling and a sunken boat are all the makings of a terrific family adventure.

Jack is making real progress with his snorkelling with his dad, Vince, as a good teacher. He in turn is helping little sister Tanya with her efforts.  Jack has seen stingrays and octopus, collected abalone and crayfish but his real moment of astonishment comes when he finds a cleat from a boat, closely followed by an anchor. After some investigation, Vince reckons the wreck can be salvaged and made good again. Imagine their curiosity when upon scuba diving to check out the likelihood of this, Vince and Jack come to the conclusion that the boat was deliberately scuttled.

And it seems the mysterious man dressed in black who has been watching them from on top of the cliffs could be the person responsible. What is the secret of the sunken boat? And why is Jack’s family being threatened for retrieving it?  Luckily the police are right on top of things and there is a satisfactory conclusion which might not have been the case given the drug running and murder that haunt the wreck.

Reluctant readers will surely be engaged in this book as the text is very accessible and full of action in less than one hundred pages. There are some wonderful descriptions of the underwater sea life and the wild beach.

Recommended for readers from around Year 3 and up.

Crabbing with Dad – Paul Seden



Magabala Books

April 2016


RRP $17.95


As our summer merges into autumn with no abate to the warm weather seemingly, this will be a great read aloud for your smaller humans especially those who live near the water. Paul Seden’s picture book is chockfull of colour and activity as a family goes up the creek to try some crabbing.

With both Indigenous and non-Indigenous characters this is a truly inclusive story for children to celebrate this quintessentially Australian pastime of water recreation. Paul is Darwin-based and descended from the Wuthathi and Muralag people of North Queensland. His first successful foray into picture books, writing and illustrating, is based on his own experiences spending time with his family having adventures and fishing the creeks around Darwin.

One particularly enjoyable feature is the use of creative font to emphasise the onomatopoeia used throughout story which could easily take this book into a teachable moment. The story also lends itself well to writing and sharing children’s own recounts of their own family recreational adventures.

Two double-page spreads stand out for me. The first: a split view of Dad and the kids in the tinny and the variety of creatures under the surface of the creek – it is just gorgeous and so evocative of similar locations. The second: a highly annoyed captured crab – readers will love shouting out the ‘big angry crab’ text!

This really is a must have for your picture book collection and I highly recommend it for readers from Prep up to around Year 3/4.