A is for Australian animals by Frane Lessac

cover image

Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925381009
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Australian animals, Habitat, Fauna, Distribution. Subtitled, A fantastic tour, this informative book will take kids on a journey through various environments to spy on a huge range of animals that share our continent. While some are more commonly known: kangaroos, wombats and koalas for example, many are less known: hopping mouse, mulga snake and numbat for example, and altogether the book reiterates the range and diversity of Australian animals to a generation bombarded with images of animals from around the world on their screens and in their books.
Most pages are devoted to one animal, and the page is filled with illustrations detailing their environment, and with short paragraphs giving information about that animal, its habitat and behaviours. I found it fascinating in its detail and what was chosen to be included, and younger readers too will read it eagerly from cover to cover.
Some animals cover a double page while several pages have to be read by turning the book around, adding interest and the question, why? All will engage and educate the reader.
Lessac uses gouache and oils to develop her naive style of illustrations, heavily influenced by the bright colours of the Australian landscape. This technique is delivered with panache in this individual presentation of Australian animals, one which will have readers absorbing the facts presented and looking closely at the illustrations for the detail she includes on each page.
The opening double page has a map of Australia showing where most of the animals live, while in the back of the book is a more academic presentation of the distribution of the animals shown in the book.
This helpful resource aiming to educate our students on the variety of flora and fauna on our continent is a welcome addition to any school library and classroom.
Fran Knight