Squirm’s Book Reviews: The Beautiful Nature Edition

Each week I review books we’ve read with Squirm. Find other reviews here

Hunwick’s Egg by Mem Fox

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: Hunwick's Egg

(AWW 2013 Squirm Challenge: Book 26)

Hunwick the bilby lives in the desert. One day he finds a beautiful egg and he promises to look after it. Except the egg never changes, not even when Hunwick confesses the fact that he really loves the egg.

This is a simple, but very sweet story which was one of the Courier/Sunday Mail books. Surprisingly, I hadn’t come across it before, but I really loved the rich story, the way that different animals were used

, not to mention the stunning illustrations which seemed to slide, crawl and hop off the page – even in a reduced size book. The message of the book is beautiful – even if something isn’t what you originally thought it was, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t beautiful and precious in its own right.

You could definitely use this book to spend some time looking at central Australia, and other parts of our country which are less populated. There are some amazing animals in those areas which lots of people don’t know about. You could also spend some time looking at different gem stones which can be found in Australia and other parts of the world.


When Elephants Lived in the Sea by Jane Godwin

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: When Elephants Lived in the Sea

(AWW 2013 Squirm Challenge: Book 33)

This is  book about elephants of long ago, elephants who swam in the ocean like whales and dugongs. But as the world got older and changed, the elephants moved towards the place where the water met the land. How will they change with the world?

This is a visually beautiful book, which simply, and with beautiful expressive language, tells the story of how elephants evolved from water bound animals to the animals we are more used to today. It was a dream to read aloud, filled with plump similes and rich descriptive language  – in fact, if I was teaching descriptive language this would have to be a model text. The art work is as lush as the words, moving from the dark blues of the water to the rich oranges and reds of the land.

Of course, this is a brilliant book for looking at elephants, especially with an extensive page of information at the end of the book. It’s also a great way to introduce the concept of evolution, and easily leads to conversations about how other animals may have evolved over years. You could also spend a bit of time examining how different animals live in the water, and what adaptations they have to allow them to live in such different conditions. There’s also the descriptive language that would allow a lot of examples for good English lessons.


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