Tag Archives: Habitats

A Whale of the Wild – Rosanne Parry

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Harper Collins Australia

January 2022

  • ISBN: 9780062995933
  • ISBN 10: 0062995936
  • Imprint: HarperCollins US
  • RRP: $16.99

This is just a magical read – the lyrical text almost flows like the water Vega and her family inhabit – and was certainly for me last night, a really intriguing but also restful way to read myself ready to sleep. That’s not to say it’s without tension and drama but there really is just something about it that just floats the reader along with the orcas.

I have to be honest. I had never heard of the Salish Sea nor was I particularly aware of different types of orcas, so reading this was also very informative and it is indeed described as ‘slyly educational’ which is pretty much spot on. *grin*

Vega and her family are already facing difficulties as their usual salmon feeding cycle has been disrupted and their hunger increases as they try to find the salmon that is usually so plentiful. They do not realise that humans have made such an impact on the ecosystem at first. Vega is learning to be the salmon finder for her family, against the day when she will become the matriarch following on from her mother and grandmother but when an earthquake and subsequent tsunami separate her, along with her younger brother Debden, from the rest of the pod, they must brave danger and threats to try to find their family again. In a sea that is almost unrecognisable they face sharks, their increasing hunger and polluted waters and Vega must be resilient and employ every skill she has learned from her mentors.

It is a rousing adventure, a wonderful story of survival and an ecological lesson all in one with superb research underpinning the entire story. It is further enhanced with beautiful black-and-white illustrations, and also includes a map, much backmatter and information on orcas.

The publisher suggests it for 8 years upwards and certainly it is not a demanding text but I am seriously considering it for inclusion with our scant ‘Animals’ genre collection for our Year 7s in particular as I think there would be many kiddos who like both animal stories and are interested in environmental topics for whom this would greatly appeal.

On that basis I’m giving it a full recommendation for readers from around Year 4 to Year 8. A very useful teaching guide is available.

Read more about SRKW (Southern Resident Killer Whales)

The Dingle Dangle Jungle – Mark Carthew and David Atze

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Ford St Publishing

February 2020

ISBN: 9781925804936

RRP: $16.99

This is just a delightful picture book not only for its lively and rhythmic text and glorious illustrations but also for the potential to begin an investigation into the richness of the Amazon wildlife and habitat. Certainly my first thought was how this would make a fabulous focus for a classroom integrated unit – geography, environmental studies, animals and their attributes, vocabulary, conservation, art and writing all easily fit into this topic. And just imagine transforming the classroom into a jungle!

Every child will find an animal that they love in this romp through the jungle and what a terrific springboard that would make to beginning simple research skills. A very handy list at the back of the book helps to identify each depicted animal and the text itself reveals some great information about many of these so this could very easily be expanded for a chosen inquiry.

Many of you will have already added this to your shelves but if you haven’t I strongly recommend that you do and make sure you promote it to your foundation class teachers who will greatly appreciate such a rich topic for their students.

Very highly recommended for little humans as well as those teachers keen to provide their classes with an immersive learning experience.

Teacher Notes and Colouring Pages