Book Bites: Nurturing Nature

This week’s round up of inspiring Christmas ideas covers even more titles, some non-fiction that entrance and enhance both a child’s knowledge and imagination. All will make elegant and welcome additions to any Christmas stocking.

Searching for Cicadas
Part nonfiction and part narrative, Searching for Cicadas is an inviting story of a boy and his grandfather and their summertime excursion to go cicada-watching and is part of the Nature Storybooks series. It’s a lyrical tale warmly illustrated reflecting Aussie bush landscapes and close up encounters with one of the most intriguing of our bush insect characters. Prose is interspersed with detailed fact about a number of cicada species and their fascinating habits and lifecycles.

Title: Searching For Cicadas
Author: Lesley Gibbes
Illustrator: Judy Watson
Publisher: Walker Books, $26.99
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781922244420
For ages: 4 - 9
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book

Buy the Book: Walker Books, Boomerang Books

Awesome Aussie Dogs
Aussies love their pooches, from kelpies to collies, shepherds to terriers; dogs charm and serve to the nth degree. This book, charmingly illustrated by Ana Mikulic, collates a collection of truly remarkable canines. Some are legendary in their fields of expertise, some are war heroes, others indescribably loyal. Many you’ll recognise others you’ll marvel at. Each group of K9 wonder dogs are grouped into relevant categories: faithful friends, working dogs, brave buds and so on making it easy and fun to focus on your favourite ‘tail ‘or rather, miniature expose of what makes these dogs so amazing and notable. A must for any dog-lover!

Title: Awesome Aussie Dogs: The Incredible True Stories of 50 Seriously Amazing Dogs
Author: Australian Geographic
Illustrator: Ana Mikulic
Publisher: Australian Geographic, $16.95
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781925847581
For ages: 8+
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book

Buy the Book: Australian Geographic, Boomerang Books

K9 Heroes: True Tales of Real Rescues
If you can’t get enough of awesome dogs, wrap your paws around this collection of real-life rescue tales by gifted writer, Dee White. K9 Heroes details four actual dogs’ stories and their amazing impact on their owners’ lives. Each tale or short story from various corners of the world, gives a brief background on the pup involved, how they came to be in their perilous situations and the act that catapults them into hero status. Ideal for junior and middle grade readers who appreciate a bit more drama and emotion…and dogs of course!

Title: K9 Heroes: True Tales of Real Rescues
Author: Dee White
Publisher: Omnibus Books, $9.99
Publication Date: December 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781742991924
For ages: 6 – 10
Type: Junior Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Scholastic, Boomerang Books

Explore Your World: Weird Wild Amazing!
Tim Flannery is renowned for his phenomenal career as palaeontologist and public scientist among a mountain of other ‘ologist’ titles. This fully illustration collection of amazing animals and focuses on four broad environments: water, sky, forests and deserts and grasslands, which devote full double page spreads (sometimes up to four or more) to individual species exploring their unique evolution, characteristics, features, habitats, notable quirks and current status on planet Earth. Concepts discussed include fossils, climate change, habitats, evolution, and conservation to name but a few. There is a substantial amount of information to assimilate in this compendium including Flannery’s conversational and interesting introduction, all of which is guaranteed to keep young scientists and nature lovers glued to the pages long after the wrapping paper has been composted. Flannery File excerpts are a cool point of difference which connects readers with Flannery’s real life anecdotes.

Title: Explore Your World Weird Wild Amazing!
Author: Tim Flannery
Illustrator: Sam Caldwell
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont, $34.99
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781760501587
For ages: 7+
Type: Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Hardie Grant Egmont, Boomerang Books

The Australian Survival Guide
Apart from meting out cracking fiction for young readers faster than a cyclone ripping through your backyard, George Ivanoff is king of creating clever educational narratives. This deadly guide to just about every slithery, slinking, scary thing that can cause bodily harm to a person and or death never mind an uncomfortable itch, is the superlative collection for anyone keen to understand more about our Australian flora and fauna or those harbouring a slight hypochondriac disposition towards discomfort.

Presented in snappy tricolour tones: blacks, greys and safety yellows, Survival Guide, reads as a fictional tale with conversational prose delivered by me! – a character which could be you or young George or an on-line avatar of both. Me, guides readers through sections that cover creatures and plants plus environmental situations that can harm; on land, in the water and in the general environment. And believe me, there are many many ways to die an interesting and gruesome death here in Australia. We’re all vaguely aware of the claims that Australia possesses the most deadly of everything, well never before have they been grouped so conveniently together in one volume.

With the help of his mate, Bruce the killer dropbear, Ivanoff not only lists the dangers and accompanies them with easy to digest fact files, he also rates their dangerousness on a scale of Not Dead to Very Very Dead, which I presume will come in handy after you’ve been bitten by a deadly Eastern Brown snake and need to relay your life expectancy to rescue medics. D’oh!

Things I love about this book are its comical light-hearted approach which conversely makes readers sit up and take note; it can be read in parts, and has skin-tingling real life reports on past incidents but also presents our most deadly creatures and phenomena in a realistic light making them somehow less scary (albeit still deadly). The Australian Survival Guide is an entertaining warning to all who inhabit our great wonderful land to exercise caution and never flail around witlessly in the bush or sea but also above all else, to embrace and enjoy all that nature has to offer because there is so much GOOD STUFF out there too. This is a collectors’ must have that can be shared by the whole family. Highly recommended.

Title: The Australia Survival Guide.
Author: George Ivanoff
Illustrator: Astred Hicks
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $24.99
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978014379572
For ages: 6+
Type: Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Booktopia, Readings

The Sea: Exploring Our Blue Planet
As the title suggests there is a delightful palate of blue shades and seascapes in this striking collection of ocean life that explores the mysterious worlds beneath the surface of the sea. Alluring nuggets of narrative introduce readers to various habitats from coastlines and rock pools to estuaries and sandy coasts, including mysterious kelp forests, dazzling coral reefs and seagrass beds populated by manatees and dugongs. From there we venture into deeper waters, visit shipwrecks and drop in on an array of seabird life. No clime is left unchartered not even the fathomless ocean troughs thousands of metres deep where hydrothermal vents and ghostly monsters like the hag fish and goblin shark lurk.  Exquisitely illustrated in pastel shades and beguiling textures, The Sea is a book you’ll want to luxuriate in and preserve, which I hope is part of the message that is realised by youngsters diving into its story.

Title: The Sea: Exploring Our Blue Planet
Author: Miranda Krestovnikoff
Illustrator: Jill Calder
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, $24.99
Publication Date: June 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781408889893
For ages: 8+
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book

Buy the Book: Boomerang Books


Norah Colvin said…
What a great collection, Dimity. Thank you.
DimbutNice said…
So great, I need a another room to house all these beaut books in, Norah! LOL.

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