Tag Archives: Tull Suwannakit

The Amazing Case of Dr Ward – Jackie Kerin/Tull Suwannakit

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March 2021

Ford St Publishing

RRP: $16.99

ISBN: 9781925804706

When a true life story can be brought to life in an engaging picture book it’s a real bonus and this particular book has so many applications for rich discussion and learning experiences; science, HASS, innovation, and invention. Hands up all those who have had a terrarium in their home – or made them with children….yep, me too. And yet, I had never heard of the man who conceived of this amazing way of growing plants. Nathaniel Ward was fascinated with growing plants, particularly unusual ones and was determined to both see and grow the exotic plants that voyagers in the 19th century were seeing and attempting to bring back to England. The long sea journeys, weather and vermin made is almost impossible for healthy specimens to arrive intact and through a chance discovery, Ward saw that plants can grow in a sealed glass container successfully for indefinite periods of time.

Dr Ward’s curiosity and innovation enabled the transport of many of the plants – both decorative and useful – to other shores and while, with hindsight, we have come to understand that some of those introduced to Australia have been a disaster for our native habitats, there is also no doubt that the production of fruit and other crops has been an important part of our agricultural landscape and economy.

Most intriguing of all is the concept of simple wondering and experimentation that lead to something now so commonplace that we accept its presence without question, and it is this, in my opinion, that your young readers will connect with the most. Reading this even to your upper primary children will provoke so many learning opportunities and I highly recommend it for your kiddos from around six years upwards.

Morphing Murphy – Robert Favretto/Tull Suwannakit

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Morphing Murphy PB Cov PRINT.indd

Ford St Publishing

February 2020

ISBN 9781925804324

RRP: $16.99

Whether you’re looking for a twisted fairy tale, a fictional take on the metamorphosis of frogs or perhaps simply a story that illustrates changes and adaptation, this will be a fabulous addition to your collection.

Murphy doesn’t quite understand the changes that are happening to him but when they are complete he decides he rather likes his new self. There’s just one problem. Despite all his ‘bonk bonk bonk’  (Murphy is actually an Eastern Banjo Frog, commonly referred to as the Pobblebonk!) calling he’s lonely until finally he finds his true love and therein lies the twist.

This is delightful with some lovely language and evocative illustrations with a healthy dose of humour which will engage young readers immediately. It certainly reminds me of a large classroom mural my Year 1 class and I once created to illustrate the lifecycle of frogs. Using the same colour palette as the book would look totally fabulous on any wall!

Favretto’s inspiration was his childhood passion for small wildlife and how many little people do we all know who have that same love? I know that The Kid here was always picking up lizards and frogs – and though she  now considers her teen self too old for such pastimes continues to love observing them.

Highly recommended for EC and Junior kiddos with a focus on science as well as themes of change and resilience. Find teaching notes here.