Showing posts with label endangered animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label endangered animals. Show all posts

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Australia Illustrated

Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney (EK Books) PB RRP $32.99 ISBN: 9781925335880

By Anne Helen Donnelly

The book starts out with three adjectives to aptly describe our nation: big, beautiful and diverse. The messages in this book are primarily conveyed through bright and quirky illustrations. It lists all things uniquely Australian, and all the things we love about our home, from a child’s focus.

After the bold introductory statement, the book goes onto show native and endangered Australian animals, iconic and bush foods, precious rocks, sport we love and play, swim wear, slang (one of my favourite pages, as after 38 years in Australia, I’m proud to say I am familiar with all of them), various weather around our continent and famous Aussies.  

Each state is then explored, starting with New South Wales. There are landmarks, popular attractions, famous eats and all things each state is best known for and their pride and joys. One of my favourite pages is the Great Barrier Reef page, with different schools of stunning fish intermingling – just like the real thing!

An engaging visual reference guide to all things Australian. Great for natives as well as those wanting to take a glimpse into our culture. Recommended for ages 4 – 8 year olds.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Augustus and his Smile

Augustus and his Smile by Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press — Hardie Grant Egmont)
ISBN 978-1-84506-283-5
PB $14.95 RRP
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Augustus and his Smile is an endearing story about a tiger which goes looking for his smile. Writer and illustrator Catherine Rayner captures the essence of the main character from the very first picture on the cover: the friendly face of a tiger (Augustus) with a blue butterfly on his nose. Open the book and paw prints on an orange background lead you, the reader, to the first page.

The story is a simple but important one. Augustus is sad and travels to different places to cheer himself up. He goes under some bushes, to the top of the trees, to the crests of the mountains, the bottom of the oceans and through the desert. All the while, to the observant reader, his smile is growing. It isn't until he is caught in a shower of rain and sees himself in a puddle, that Augustus notices this, too.

At the back of the book are some tiger facts, including information about the endangered Siberian tigers (the kind of tiger Augustus is). Contact details are included for the World Wildlife Fund, for those interested in helping. This is a lovely book to enjoy reading aloud and has a good message about finding happiness in the world around you.

 UK children's author Catherine Rayner has shown a great talent for drawing animals in her previous books, for example Harris Finds his Feet (about a hare) and Sylvia and Bird (about a dragon). With his wistful face and ready smile, her newest character Augustus is impossible not to become attached to. Preschool children will want to read this book over and over, just to see the tiger's happy face. 

Friday, 17 June 2011

Adventures with Ollie the Orangutan

Adventures with Ollie the Orangutan by Jan Latta (True To Life Books)
PB RRP $12.95
ISBN 978-0-9808727-0-5
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
There is something extremely exciting about discovering things that are real and interesting. Jan Latta is author, photographer and publisher in this incredible true-to-life series of twelve books which has been created to ‘educate children about endangered species’. She went into the Borneo rainforest to photograph and document the lives of the orang-utans in the wild for this publication.

Ollie the orang-utan is the narrator. He is depicted in his natural habitat and through the amazing photography that shares the page with the text we are invited into his family life. He informs us about his heritage, where he lives, what his name means in the Malay language, and why they are frequently known as the ‘red ape’. He is pictured still and in motion; with his mother as she teaches him to climb and where to find food, and in tender and moving poses that show how similar the apes are to humans. The text is light and entertaining with significant words highlighted in various colours.

Ollie tells us about the orang-utan’s eating habits, height and weight of the male and female, the special names for various parts of their body, how they swing from tree to tree, and where and how they sleep.

The book ends with a double page listing of Orang-utan Facts which include lifespan, numbers remaining, diet, and a list of incredible Did You Know? statistics. Interesting websites are listed along with recommended reading and information on organizations that help the orang-utans. Well priced, these 24 page books are easily accessed and worthwhile. The series is suitable for ages 5+ in the company of an adult to answer questions, for older children as research projects, or simply for pleasure and awareness.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Adventures with Mia the Meerkat

Adventures with Mia the Meerkat by Jan Latta (True To Life Books)
PB RRP $12.95
ISBN 978-0-9756770-7-0
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Jan Latta went to Namibia in 2009 to photograph meerkats in the wild. Unfortunately time was against her and she was forced to produce this book through visits to the Mogo and Taronga zoos. It is the ONLY book in the series which was created from a zoo environment.

Mia the meerkat is the narrator. She introduces us to her family group which is called a gang, and guides us through their daily life and habits. She shows and tells us how and where they live and forage for food, and how and what they eat. (Mia’s favourite food is scorpion, with sting removed of course!)

We learn about their homes; tunnels called burrows that they dig with their front curved claws, and why there are 70 entrances. Then there are the personal details of their grooming habits, the twenty sounds used to communicate with family, and the benefits of their extremely acute senses.

This is an amazing fact book which incorporates a great deal of information. A list of Meerkat Facts at the end includes their scientific names, habitat details, body length, height and weight, birthing, diet and lifestyle, with interesting websites for additional research.

The pages are set out with wonderful life-like photos, lovingly taken, that bring to life the accompanying text. These are a terrific series to teach children 

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Saving Tigers

Saving Tigers by Dr Carla Litchfield (black dog books)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-1-74203-160-6
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

There was a major scramble for this book when it arrived at our house and it seems that my children are among the majority. According to a poll conducted by Animal Planet, the tiger was voted the world’s favourite animal (even beating the dog). However, as Saving Tigers shows, our love for the tiger has not translated into an assurance of its survival. All subspecies of tigers are endangered. Some are extinct.

Saving Tigers is the newest release in the Rare Earth series for younger readers. The pages are filled with stunning photography of tigers in many moods and situations from the completely helpless newborn to fighting males. My favourite photos are of a tiger mum and her playful cub, and of the tiger walking nonchalantly across the road as tourists frantically snap away.

Reader interest is maintained throughout the book as Litchfield presents (lots of) tiger facts simply and clearly. The information is easy for young readers to understand and moves quickly. I challenge adults to know every fact contained within. Other wild cats are also briefly mentioned and comparisons made with the tiger. The hybrid liger is also explained. Litchfield also discusses the efforts being made world wide to preserve tiger populations.

Saving Tigers follows the same format as its companion book in the series, Saving Pandas, and includes a glossary, index and a reference to tiger websites.