Review Blog

Apr 03 2013

Somewhere in Australia by Marcello Pennacchio

cover image

Ill. by Danny Snell. Scholastic, 2013. ISBN 9781741695229.Hardcover. RRP $24.99.
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Australian Animals - Poetry, Australia -Landscape. There is a popular trend for authors to adapt familiar stories and rhymes for the Australian audience. The picture book starts with 'Somewhere in Australia, in a land of scorching sun, lived a mother kangaroo and her little joey one.' The text by Marcello Pennacchio is loosely based on the classic rhyme Over in the meadow. On each double-page spread we see Australian animals, birds and reptiles undertaking activities in their natural environment. Following the pattern of the classic rhyme one more animal is added to the animal family on the next spread. This is a great book for reading aloud to a young audience although some of the rhyming metre is a little out of kilter.
Danny Snell's painted backgrounds including the outback, spinifex, rainforest and river bring a visual depth to the text. From the mother kangaroo and her joey to the red-back spider and her spiderlings, each creature is beautifully portrayed in natural colours.  
Somewhere in Australia can be used as maths activity - counting or adding up the number of animals represented in the whole story. This could lead into a literacy unit making another book representing the numbers for eleven to fifteen or twenty. In Science students could research and write a report on the animals' life cycles and habitats. For an English lesson, students could use write their own verse modelling the text.
Additional activities can be found in The Standing Orders section of the Scholastic website.
Recommended RA 4-6, Reading Audience 3-6.
Rhyllis Bignell

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