Review of ‘Counting Aussie Animals in my Backyard’
Written and illustrated by Bronwyn Houston
Publisher: Magabala Books
Age Range: Babies – Early Childhood
Themes: Australia; Australian animals; backyard; counting; numeracy.
To add this book to your home, school or library collection click on title or cover links.
I love gifting counting or alphabet books to newborn babies (for more newborn baby gifts see here) as learning numbers and letters really is the basis for early literacy isn’t it! There are a plethora of counting books around but not all are created equal – in fact some are darned awful. I came across a beautiful one last week whilst in the Blue Mountains at Megalong Books – ‘Counting Aussie Animals in my Backyard’. Magabala Books is producing some absolutely fantastic books – and this is now one of my favourites from their list.
With a strong focus on Australian plants, animals and habitats, the rich, vivid and evocative illustrations in ‘Counting Aussie Animals in my Backyard’ are similar in style to Eric Carle’s ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’ – particularly the gorgeous endpapers #endpapernerd. This picture book is perfect for early readers — rich in illustrative references supporting a text which is simple but perfectly suited to its intended audience.
The textured and vivid illustrations bring a tropical Australian garden to life, with a touch of humour thrown in. From kookaburras laughing on a fence to bull ants marching through the dirt …and obviously a reading of this book could naturally lead on to a hunt around your own backyard.
ChickPea was most excited about the kookaburra, as we have one who sits on our back fence also. Whilst I stuck my feet up and re-read the book ChickPea and PudStar were more than happy to spend some time outside finding the numbers one – ten in other animals, plants and insects (four dog poos sitting on the lawn? REALLY Pud?).
Bronwyn Houston is descended from the Nyiyaparli and Yindijibarndi people in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She lives in Broome with her husband and three children. Bronwyn finds inspiration in the landscape and colours of Broome, and the natural world of the Kimberley region, where she was born. For ‘Counting Aussie Animals in My Backyard’ she has had to go no further than her own garden to unearth a myriad of fascinating creatures. She has also created ‘Loongie the Greedy Crocodile’ with Kiefer and Lucy Dann (2008), ‘Staircase to the Moon’ (2010), which was adapted as a play and will tour the Kimberley in 2014, and ‘My Home Broome’, a collaborative schools-based project with young WA writer, Tamzyne Richardson and student artists from three Broome-based primary schools (2011).