Tag Archives: Backyard wildlife

Backyard Birdies – Andy Geppert



JUL 28, 2021 | 9780734420695 | RRP $19.99

Imprint: Lothian Books

Well, you know, I’m a secret bird geek. I love spotting them. I take part in the annual backyard bird survey every year and, even going way way back to my first year of teaching, had my class keeping tally of the birds they saw in the backyards and on their properties. The bird gardens at Maleny are a favourite day trip. We throw our food scraps out onto the grass to feed the neighbourhood bin chickens and crows (mostly). So yes, all in all, a friend of the feathery ones…

And then this book arrived – and I laughed and laughed with the absolute hilarious joy of it. I pretty much expected that I was getting a serious little beginners’ book of bird identification albeit with cutesie illustrations. What I didn’t antipicate was this gloriously uproarious slant on the birds we might most expect to find in our backyards (and here I’m thinking Brisbane backyards as author/illustrator Andy also hails from Bris Vegas).

To whit (but not, in this case, to whoo):

This is a common pigeon. Common because it’s almost identical to every other pigeon.
You’ll sometimes see a white one. That’s because it’s just had a bath. I made that last bit up.

Other avian facts you will discover include:

Seagulls can’t talk.

They can only shout.


Kookaburras love hearing jokes from everyone except dads.

Even kookaburras know that dad jokes are terrible.

Along with the fascinating facts… and near-facts… are the delightful and quirky illustrations with each bird depicted next to a common (or dare I say, garden variety) plastic bucket for reference to size and a feather, ostensibly, sticky-taped to the page. Each bird is accompanied by a map for distribution and it’s scientific name so there is some semblance of real information *wink*. The glossary that concludes the book refers not so much words of scientific or technical definition as much as the more random ones chosen by the author.

Most of my friends know that I donate my review books regularly – to a variety of sources – but I found this so amusing and so well-suited to my own sense of humour that it is very likely destined to live on my own bookshelves.

Do not hang about – get thee to your bookseller immediately and order this one. You will definitely not regret it!

Highly recommended for your readers from around six years upwards – I can well picture having a lot of fun with junior classes!

Scribbly Gum Secrets – Dannika Patterson and Megan Forward



Ford St Publishing

April 2020

ISBN: 9781925804485

RRP: $16.99

Exactly a month ago today I had the great pleasure of meeting both Dannika and Megan at Booklinks’ Romancing the Stars event held at Iona College –  the last gathering before our social lives were turned completely upside down – and the joy of them both telling about the creation of this delightful book.

And how very timely it is as so many stay-at-home families opt for simpler pleasures and take their outings in the local environs that this new picture book can inspire the joy of natural discoveries in children.

A mother takes her four children for a walk in the neighbourhood parkland – which for us lucky Queenslanders often means a place filled with trees and wildlife big and small – and together they observe all kinds of fascinating critters. For little Charlie the most intriguing aspect is the strange writing all over so many trees – what does it mean? Frustratingly, no one seems willing to tear themselves away from their own discoveries to bother to explain it to him – but finally Mother does. Much to Charlie’s astonishment and complete disbelief, she tells him that it’s the work of a very busy grub. He finds that completely incomprehensible but knows that one day, when he can read, he will uncover the secret meaning of those scribbles.

This is gentle, beautiful and so utterly synced to not only our current situation but for all future excursions into the ‘wild’. Text and illustrations combine perfectly to evoke the peaceful and soothing joys to be had in spending simple wholesome family time together.

Highly recommended for families – young children from as young as three will enjoy this very much.

Check out more on Dannika’s webpage.