Can you find 12 busy bees? by Gordon Winch

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Illus. by Patrick Shirvington. New Frontier Publishing, 2019.ISBN: 9781925594560.
(Ages: 2-6) Recommended. Counting Book. This is a follow-up to the CBCA shortlisted title Can you Find Me? This one is a counting and finding book as we are invited into a typical Australian garden to see who is living there. Within the soft, watercolour illustrations are hiding many creatures, great and small. 'I am 1 big blue-tongue lizard. I live in the garden. I like to lie in the sun. Can you find me?' The illustrations perfectly portray the different habitats of each of these creatures, even though they all live within the same garden (the leafy undergrowth of the lizard, the dark treetops of the owls, the reedy pond of the frogs). Most of the creatures are not difficult to spot but as the book counts up some of them are increasingly camouflaged into their background. The book uses animals and insects that most children are likely to see in their own gardens and the book aims to encourage them to appreciate and take notice of their own surroundings and the creatures that live around them. The text and the illustrations will help them to know where to look for different animals and what they may be doing (parrots sipping nectar in a banksia tree, bees taking food from the flowers, magpies poking about on the grass). The last page reminds the reader to take care of the creatures and their habitats: 'We love our garden. We hope it will be here forever'. Teacher's notes are available.
Nicole Nelson