Review Blog

Sep 07 2017

Koala by Claire Saxby

cover image

Ill. by Julie Vivas. Nature Storybook series. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925126396
(Age: 4-8) Highly recommended. Subjects: Koalas.
Climb, little Koala, it's time to find your own way.
Claire Saxby's beautifully written Koala combines a lyrical narrative with a factual account of the koala's life cycle and Julie Vivas' evocative watercolour illustrations. This is a wonderful addition to Walker's Nature Storybook series.
Little koala has grown and now he must leave his mother and find his own way in the world. With a gentle push, he climbs away to find his next meal. He faces many dangers: a thundering male koala challenges him and pushes him off his tree and wild storms. Eucalyptus trees with burnt bark from a bushfire prove hard to climb and he must travel further away to find a new home. Scared by a poisonous snake hiding in the bushes he hops hurriedly away. Eventually he finds a perfect place for his new home.
Julie Vivas uses her soft water colours in natural tones to bring little Koala's story to life. Her paintings capture the natural bush settings and brilliantly portray little Koala's actions, movements and character. The black of night contrasts with the koala's grey spiky fur as he wakes from his sleep-curl to a thundering male koala's roar. There is the desolate landscape of blackened trees and the charred bark falling as he attempts to climb up.
Saxby's expressive phrases are perfect to read aloud. She captures his journey poetically; 'koala startles from his sleep-curl' and 'he listens to the ground-sounds'. She urges him on to find his new environment with small exhortations, 'climb, little Koala,' move on, little Koala,' and 'faster, little Koala, faster.' The informational text is accurate and sparks interest, suitable for a wider range of ages and reading abilities. Koala is an excellent resource for Junior Primary classes writing Information Reports and for research in Science as learners investigate living things, their interdependence and interactions within ecosystems.
Rhyllis Bignell

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