Review Blog

Jan 08 2020

Ninja bandicoots and turbo-charged wombats : Stories from behind the scenes at the zoo by Hazel Flynn

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Piccolo Nero, 2020. ISBN: 9781760641672.
(Age: 9-12) This is a timely book for Australian children who may well be feeling distressed about the bushfires that are currently raging across the Australian continent and the subsequent plight of native creatures. (January 2020)
In each chapter of Ninja Bandicoots and Turbo-Charged Wombats, Hazel Flynn tells the story of a different creature. The reader learns about how zoo-keepers, biologists, scientists and other people (including citizen scientists and children) are working together to understand how to conserve these vulnerable Australian animals. In each chapter, the reader finds out about how people who work with these creatures have come to love them with all their quirky and endearing characteristics. Each chapter describes a particular animal's physical characteristics and behavior. The narrative is engaging, stories are told, fast facts are given, a particular random fact is highlighted on a page for each animal and each chapter concludes with a page entitled - "What can I do to help?" In the centre of the book there are coloured plates of each animal courtesy of Zoos Victoria.
Although some of the information on the status and risks to the animals is upsetting, Flynn is positive and the young reader is encouraged, invited and shown how to be proactive about the issues. This gives the young person a sense of efficacy rather than hopelessness.
Ninja Bandicoots and Turbo-Charged Wombats addresses the cross curricular priority of Sustainability. The classroom teacher can easily read a chapter or two as a springboard; the Science teacher would find this a useful and engaging resource for Biology.
The endangered Australian creatures highlighted are: Leadbeater's Possums, Mountain Pygmy Possums, Eastern Barred Bandicoots, Platypuses, Baw Baw and Corroboree Frogs, Tasmanian Devils, Wedge-Tailed Eagles, Helmeted HoneyEaters, Orange-bellied Parrots, Guthega Skinks, Wombats, Koalas and Goodfellow's Tree-Kangaroos. Fascinating details about all these creatures are revealed through the stories of the people who work to conserve them.
An excellent, interesting, fact-filled and appealing resource book for ages 9-12.
Wendy Jeffery

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