What to do when your home is destroyed? There is nothing, except to take what belongings you can,and try to find a new place to live. The woodland creatures are forced to flee when their homes and woods are flattened for new urban housing. They try to find refuge in the city but it is all so very different and unpleasant. Then they discover the underbelly of the metropolis – a smelly, dirty, awful place indeed. But what choices do they have?
Mouse is the one who rallies their spirits, and encourages them to clean, scrub, repair and build to make this their new home, and one of which to be proud. And so, they create Sewertown and all is well. Until, that is, they are discovered by the city dwellers who do not make them welcome at all.
Fortunately, there is a voice of compassion. One small girl with kindness and generosity in her heart implores the city folk to open their hearts and minds. So side-by-side ‘the furries and thesmoothskins have chosen to unite‘ and both now have two beautiful and happy environments to enjoy. This is a beautiful modern day fable which will inspire educators and families alike to choose kindness and encourage empathy.
Even those of us who have relatively little often have more than many others. It is up to all of us to show humanity and fellow feeling, wherever and whenever we can. The world could really use some kindness right now, and we must help our children to see that their future will depend on their actions.
Some very comprehensive teaching notes will be useful to those who wish to incorporate this into their classroom or library teaching. Tull’s text and illustrations are perfect with subtle references and tiny details to explore for the keenly observant (a visual reference to ‘Nighthawks’ and a Pride flag among these).
Highly recommended for littles from around 4 years upwards, who will easily grasp many of the big concepts contained within.
Dr Ward’s curiosity and innovation enabled the transport of many of the plants – both decorative and useful – to other shores and while, with hindsight, we have come to understand that some of those introduced to Australia have been a disaster for our native habitats, there is also no doubt that the production of fruit and other crops has been an important part of our agricultural landscape and economy.
Most intriguing of all is the concept of simple wondering and experimentation that lead to something now so commonplace that we accept its presence without question, and it is this, in my opinion, that your young readers will connect with the most. Reading this even to your upper primary children will provoke so many learning opportunities and I highly recommend it for your kiddos from around six years upwards.
Whether you’re looking for a twisted fairy tale, a fictional take on the metamorphosis of frogs or perhaps simply a story that illustrates changes and adaptation, this will be a fabulous addition to your collection.
Murphy doesn’t quite understand the changes that are happening to him but when they are complete he decides he rather likes his new self. There’s just one problem. Despite all his ‘bonk bonk bonk’ (Murphy is actually an Eastern Banjo Frog, commonly referred to as the Pobblebonk!) calling he’s lonely until finally he finds his true love and therein lies the twist.
This is delightful with some lovely language and evocative illustrations with a healthy dose of humour which will engage young readers immediately. It certainly reminds me of a large classroom mural my Year 1 class and I once created to illustrate the lifecycle of frogs. Using the same colour palette as the book would look totally fabulous on any wall!
Favretto’s inspiration was his childhood passion for small wildlife and how many little people do we all know who have that same love? I know that The Kid here was always picking up lizards and frogs – and though she now considers her teen self too old for such pastimes continues to love observing them.
Highly recommended for EC and Junior kiddos with a focus on science as well as themes of change and resilience. Find teaching notes here.