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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Koala, written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Julie Vivas. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2017. $22.99 ages 4 and up

"Koala is thirsty
and nuzzles.
But for the first time,
Koala cannot make his
way in.
When he tries again,
his mother swats him

Koalas are marsupials
and suckle their young ..."

Telling a story about a young male koala, while including interesting information about the species itself, helps young readers attach the information to a character they feel they know. It's early morning, and he is hungry for his mother's milk. She pushes him aside ... a sure sign that he is now old enough to make his own way.

 A different font at the bottom of the page offers appreciated details. The mother is awaiting the birth of another baby, and is ready for her older one to leave home. The story is highly appropriate for young ones; the information will attract older readers. The facts are plentiful as the koala finds his way to his new home. He faces challenges, fears and danger. As happens with many, he struggles for the independence that will ensure a healthy and happy life. Kids will be pleased with his success in finding a new home for himself.

I like the descriptive language. It allows all readers (including the teacher) to learn more about the
koala than they have previously known. The illustrations are classic Julie Vivas. I am a long-time fan, having loved her work since I met Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, Our Granny, Hush and Grandma Poss in Possum Magic, and the little girl in I Went Walking. The Nativity is a book I will read to my granddaughters every Christmas. Her classic watercolors add context for some of the more difficult text, and she creates a character readers will grow to love as they watch him gain  confidence and independence. Warm, emotional and telling.

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