Nala the koala illus. by Penny Min Ferguson

cover image

Penguin Random House Australia, 2020. ISBN: 9781760898830.
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Children will empathise with Nala, the little koala who has lost her home and will be thrilled to learn that the purchase of this book will help her and other animals to survive bushfires and other disasters. Royalties are donated to WIRES, (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) an organisation that has been 'rescuing and caring for wildlife for over 30 years and is the largest wildlife rescue organisation in Australia.'
The illustrations show a sad little koala trudging along a path, swag on her back, flames in the distance. Nala the koala needs a new home and she tries out many places to live but none are suitable for her. The beach is too sandy, the street too smoky, a burrow too deep. She needs nooks for napping, gum leaves for gobbling and somewhere safe to play. At long last she finds a tree that feels like home, and there are people who arrive to help and work to replant the bush.
The narrative flows along smoothly and makes for a great read aloud. Bold black print and cute illustrations will also aid beginning readers who may want to have a go at reading for themselves.
The story shows the different types of homes that some bush animals need and the smoke that goes into the sky from some buildings is a subtle reminder of the problems that air pollution can bring to animals as well as people.
This is a timely book that will tug at the heartstrings and may encourage readers to seek out information about how they and their families could help to rescue wildlife. Lamont Books have teacher notes.
Pat Pledger