Review Blog

Nov 26 2015

Pip and Pim by Aunty Ruth Hegarty

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Ill. by Sandi Harrold. Scholastic Australia, 2015. ISBN 9781760151973
(Age: 4-9) Aunty Ruth Hegarty is an Aboriginal elder, and while this is not a dreaming story, it retains a similar style and moralistic purpose. The dark artwork on canvas is lovely and portrays the nocturnal world of the bush. Possums Pip and Pim are going down to the forest floor for the very first time. They scamper off excitedly, barely taking note of Papa's warning to look and listen for danger and not to go too far. On their first adventure on the ground, they meet many other nocturnal animals, all of whom are too busy to play with Pip and Pim. They are getting further and further away when Pim accidently stumbles into a plover's nest and arouses the ire of Father Plover. They quickly head back to their parents and their tree, where Papa gently reminds them of his directive not to go too far. On the following page, Aunty Ruth Hegarty highlights the moral of the story, which is to listen to your elders, but this lesson does not seem to come through clearly enough in the story. Older children may realise that Pip and Pim will be more careful next time they venture out on the forest floor, but younger children are more likely to enjoy their adventure without noticing the moral teaching. While the text is quite long, it is simple and easy to follow. It also manages to integrate some information about nocturnal Australian animals by detailing what the various animals are doing out at night (for example, the echidnas are going to an anthill and the bandicoots are digging holes in search of food). Teachers could use this with younger children as an introduction to nocturnal animals and its inclusion of familiar native animals such as possums and echidnas as well as lesser-known ones such as curlew and plover could make it a good one for introducing Australian animals.
Nicole Nelson

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