Review Blog

Aug 10 2015

Platypus by Sue Whiting

cover image

Ill. by Mark Jackson. Nature Storybooks series. Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781922077448
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Platypus, Australian animals, Fiction and non fiction. Alongside each page of the fictional tale of a male platypus going about his daily tasks, is an information paragraph with facts about this unusual animal. Each of the texts is given a different font and so a canny reader will quickly understand that there are two stories here, one a story, the other facts. To underline this the index at the back has a line underneath telling the reader to look for both as they read, while the brief index gives younger children easy access to the material in the book and teaches how to use an index to gain information.
The platypus peeps out of his burrow on the first double page, its duck bill contrasting with the dark undergrowth. Information is given about the platypus and its unusual shape and characteristics, while the factual paragraphs tell us how at first, scientists could not believe the animal first discovered in 1799 was real.
The animal forages finding food, while the factual text tells us how each of its characteristics help it swim, dive, forage and survive. Children will love reading of the platypus' night time forage and appreciate the inclusion of factual information making the story much richer.
The beautiful illustrations serve to place the platypus in his environment and the browns and greens swirl together to give a marvellous impression of where he lives.
An information page at the end reiterates the facts given, underlining its oddness in the animal world.
The language is wonderful, using the correct terminology and not talking down to the audience, making the reader ask questions.
This is the second book I have seen in this series called Nature Storybooks and I can see it well used in the classroom, both by children wanting a storybook about one of Australia's strangest animals, and also for gathering facts.
Fran Knight

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