Tag Archives: Nature

Amazing Animal Journeys- Jennifer Cossins


Hachette Australia

October 2022

ISBN 9780734421432

RRP $26.99

Another glorious information book sneakily posing as a picture book *grin*, in the most excellent style for which Jennifer Cossins has become well known and loved.

The book explores the incredible migratory habits of 25 different species, quite a few from Australia, and when I shared it with a Year 3 class a few days ago, they were utterly riveted. There were exclamations, excited comments and gasps of surprise (particularly when you tell them why the bogong moth migration was so welcomed by our First Nations peoples).

Each stunning double page spread features another species with descriptive information plus a featured fact. While we didn’t have time to explore the entire book, I focused mainly on the Australian species, and the swift parrot and it’s perilous status was a very enthusiastically discussed highlight.

I always find children love nature books and, further to that, just a couple of days ago, a teaching colleague and I were remarking that we both think many children are now preferring non-fiction to narrative picture books. We believe because such NF is so marvellously created these days but perhaps, also because in our teaching we are (well, most of us) encouraging and fostering inquiry learning. It makes for children who wonder and who relish ‘facts’.

Certainly I can vouch for the warmth with which this particular book was embraced and I have no doubt that your youngsters will similarly enjoy their experience. I highly recommend it for children from Lower right up to Upper Primary.

How We Came to Be: Surprising Sea Creatures – Sami Bayley



September 2022

Imprint: Lothian Children’s Books

ISBN 9780734421364 

RRP $19.99

A delightful 1/2 class, at a local school which has a special focus on all things ‘ocean’, as it is located right on the very seafront, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the depths of the brine with Sami.

Dive on in and find out about each of the underwater zones and the weird, wonderful creatures who inhabit them, as well as how those creatures have adapted and evolved over time to suit their habitat.

We enjoyed so much rich discussion as we took our time over each double spread. Along the way we interrupted our reading to measure out just how long a giant oarfish is, and to see if we could flatten ourselves like flounders (which was a nice opportunity to talk about alliteration!) and to talk about what the children (and the school) are doing to help preserve the ocean on our doorstep.

The marvellous creatures are shown with great detail and each one is accompanied by neat facts, which add even more to the wealth of information being shared. It is, of course, quite difficult for little humans as young as these to grasp the concept of millions of years or indeed, thousands of metres down below the water’s surface but they can realise the scope and enormity of this part of our natural world.

This is another of Sami’s lavishly visual offerings with her trademark superior illustrations and I, for one, just love her self-representation right down to her distinctive hair and winged eyeliner!

Having stolen just half an hour or so to pore over this and seen the fascination exhibited by my audience, I would love the opportunity to incorporate this into a more extended learning experience.

HIghly recommended for readers from as young as 5 or 6 years old, and naturally, particularly useful if you are exploring a unit of inquiry focused on the Ocean.

Duck, Apple, Egg – Glenda Millard/Martina Heiduczek



Harper Collins Australia

February 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733340185
  • ISBN 10: 0733340180
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 24.99 AUD

Another perfect accompaniment to being at home and enjoying simpler pleasures, this is just delightful in its simplicity and charm as a little person plays in the garden.

Duck on the green,
sun in the sky,
egg in the nest,
apple on the tree,
and me.

Most well-suited to the very young this will be a great starter to exploring their own gardens which may not have a resident duck or an apple tree but will be sure to hold many amazing discoveries when examined at leisure.

For children a little older and in prep there is potential to explore key concepts such as prepositions and of course to share about imaginative play and nature around them.  I can already envisage a lovely classroom wall mural which could echo the illustrations and be filled with children’s personal garden discoveries.

From toddlers upwards to around five or six years old, this makes a lovely and timely addition to your store of great books for nature exploration.

Click to access Duck-Apple-Egg-Teachers-Notes.pdf

Scribbly Gum Secrets – Dannika Patterson and Megan Forward



Ford St Publishing

April 2020

ISBN: 9781925804485

RRP: $16.99

Exactly a month ago today I had the great pleasure of meeting both Dannika and Megan at Booklinks’ Romancing the Stars event held at Iona College –  the last gathering before our social lives were turned completely upside down – and the joy of them both telling about the creation of this delightful book.

And how very timely it is as so many stay-at-home families opt for simpler pleasures and take their outings in the local environs that this new picture book can inspire the joy of natural discoveries in children.

A mother takes her four children for a walk in the neighbourhood parkland – which for us lucky Queenslanders often means a place filled with trees and wildlife big and small – and together they observe all kinds of fascinating critters. For little Charlie the most intriguing aspect is the strange writing all over so many trees – what does it mean? Frustratingly, no one seems willing to tear themselves away from their own discoveries to bother to explain it to him – but finally Mother does. Much to Charlie’s astonishment and complete disbelief, she tells him that it’s the work of a very busy grub. He finds that completely incomprehensible but knows that one day, when he can read, he will uncover the secret meaning of those scribbles.

This is gentle, beautiful and so utterly synced to not only our current situation but for all future excursions into the ‘wild’. Text and illustrations combine perfectly to evoke the peaceful and soothing joys to be had in spending simple wholesome family time together.

Highly recommended for families – young children from as young as three will enjoy this very much.

Check out more on Dannika’s webpage.



Grace’s Mystery Seed – Juliet M Sampson/Karen Erasmus



Ford St Publishing

March 2019


Have you ever had your children (or grandies) garden with you? I used to garden with my girls and now I have my beautiful granddaughter growing up here also loving planting and watching things grow. She especially loved planting radish seeds to spell her name and only having to wait a few days to see the results!

Juliet M Sampson has utterly captured the magic of that moment of watching the transformation of a seed into a thing of beauty and wonder.

Little Grace loves helping her favourite neighbour in her garden and especially feeding the pet parrot, Polly, his delicious stripy seeds. When Grace wonders aloud where these delicacies come from, Mrs Marino suggests planting one. Grace is enthralled and shares her excitement with her friends and family.

Grace’s joy when her sunflower blooms and does indeed seek the sun each day is truly super stuff to share with young readers (oh how I wish they could all experience this amazing transformation!). Of course, not only is Grace’s mystery seed the foundation of her joy in the flower, but the sunflower will keep on giving – seeds to her friends and to Polly.

I lament the fact that so many children no longer have this glorious joy and I’m personally so glad I have been able to share it with my own children and grandchildren.

Why not inspire your young readers to do likewise? I am planning now to start a seed or two in our library after the holidays and hand out some to kick off some young reader’s own nature journeys.

Highly recommended for readers from around five years upwards and check out the teaching notes here.  GROW your readers now!

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



May 2017

ISBN: 9781408870068
Imprint: Bloomsbury Activity Books

RRP $14.99

Bloomsbury just has the BEST activity books for all ages! This is a super treat for lovers of science and nature. It’s described as a ‘self-destructing, action-packed activity book’ and it certainly is.

So much to cut, fold, create, share, display and think about it that kids will be itching to get their hands and scissors onto it.

As well as the interactive activities there is loads of information about critters and such. With 63 pages of fun to be had – this will make a great gift for that busy child who needs a bit of quiet time (well, it might be the family that needs the quiet time). With The Divine Miss M’s birthday approaching in just a few weeks this will be a perfect addition to her gift bag – and keep her out of her mother’s hair for a bit!

Highly recommended for kids who love to ‘make’ from around 7 years upwards.

The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things to Do – Andy Seed




Published: 01-07-2017
ISBN: 9781408870099
Imprint: Bloomsbury Childrens


RRP $14.99

Seeds’ ‘Anti-Boredom’ books have proven hugely popular with kids both in the UK and here in Oz. Certainly the Christmas volume was a big hit with Miss K’s BFF as part of her Xmas gift.

I probably should have posted this review for these most recent school holidays but not every state has the glorious Queensland weather that we do so perhaps it will be a good one to keep in mind for the spring break! 😉

I think we all want our children to spend time outdoors enjoying nature and sunshine and less time with ipads and TV so this is a fantastic book for any child (or family) to have in their shelves.

As well as activities of the physical kind there are many ideas for making things related to nature – bird baths and feeders, shadow puppets etc – as well as information on stargazing, rainbows and more.

Divided into sections: Garden Fun, Things to Make, Places to Go, At the Beach, Games to Play, Winter Fun and Activity Challenges, there is something for everyone, with some further information on useful books and websites to finish it off.

Great stuff for readers from around 8 years upwards as well as families looking to expand their outdoor interests.