Premier's Reading Challenge
Reading for Life, Reading for Wildlife!
Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park is proud to work with the NSW Department of Education and Training to promote the Premier's Reading Challenge!
How about choosing these Premier's Reading Challenge books about Australian animals and the fascinating world in which they live for your (or your child's) next good read?
Walkabout Park Choice! The Smallest Bilby and the Easter Games, by Nette Hilton & illustrated by Bruce Whatley (2008) The rabbits have decided to hand over the job of delivering Easter eggs but don't know who will take their place. They decide to have some games to find out who has all the attributes needed to deliver the Easter eggs.
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Walkabout Park Choice! The Smallest Bilby and the Midnight Star, by Nette Hilton & illustrated by Bruce Whatley (2006) The smallest bilby in the bilby patch has a favourite star that he looks for each night. He is frightened that the star will go away so he decides to give her something special to remember him.
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Adventures with Kolah the Koala, by Jan Latta (2004) Kolah the koala tells the young reader all about koalas - their history, habitat, behaviours and appearance. Spectacular photographs, facts and interesting websites.
Baby Bilby, Where Do you Sleep, by Narelle Oliver (2001) Take a peek through the peepholes in this rhyming book and discover the secret hiding places of baby bilby and other Australian desert creatures.
Beetles and Bugs, by Diana Harley & illustrated by Sue-Ellen Yates (2003) An entertaining and educational book about Australian beetles and bugs, with coloured pictures depicting the simple text. Useful text for increasing students' understanding of vocabulary.
Bilby Moon, by Margaret Spurling (2001) A delightful book about Australian fauna and flora, the phases of the moon and the life of nocturnal animals.
Bush Babies, by Kim Dale (2005) A beautifully illustrated, lift-the-flap book which describes fourteen animal babies found in the Australian bush.
Edward and Edwina Emu, by Sheena Knowles & illustrated by Rod Clement (2002) Edward and Edwina emu are the proud parents of ten chicks in this story told in rhyming text.
Here Comes the Rain, by Claire Good & illustrated by David Cox (1999) Grace has been waiting for the rain for so long that it seems like the drought will never break. Grandpa Frank tells Grace to look for certain signs so she watches the animals to see if rain is on the way. Illustrations are very appealing.
How the Birds Got their Colours, by Pamela Lofts (compiler) & Mary Albert (teller) (1996) An Aboriginal story that explains the misadventure that led to the birds being so colourful.
Hunwick's Egg, by Mem Fox & illustrated by Pamela Lofts (2005) Hunwick, an old bilby, finds an object which he thinks is an egg and he cares for it. Eventually, he realises that it is a stone and will never hatch but he continues to love it and care for it as his friend forever.
Jump Baby, by Penny Matthews (2002) Baby possum must learn to jump or be separated from mother and big sister who have jumped into a peach tree, leaving him stranded in the walnut tree. They entreat baby possum to try to jump.
Kangaroo and the Porpoise, by Pamela Lofts (compiler) & Agnes Lippo (teller) (1987) One of a series of Aboriginal stories about animals and birds. The kangaroo asks the porpoise to mind her baby. When the porpoise won't give the baby back a fight ensues with interesting results.
Kookaburra School, by Jill Morris & illustrated by Heather Gall (2002) Kookaburra fledglings learn skills from a Wise Old Bird and discover how to share their territory with other animals and people.
Little Bat, by Tania Cox& illustrated by Andrew McLean (2000) Little bat has to be very brave. She's never flown before and everyone has to encourage her.
Little Platypus, by Nette Hilton & illustrated by Nina Rycroft (2000) When a little native animal hatches from an egg beside a river, he feels lonely. He doesn't know where he belongs. How can he find a friend who is just the same? Help Little Platypus discover who he really is.
Little Tawny, by Kim Dale (2005) From the author's true experience of raising a Tawny Frogmouth. Little Tawny, a baby frogmouth, falls out of the nest and can't fly back to her mother. She is rescued and teaches children and adults about respecting all creatures.
Luurnpa: the Magical Kingfisher, by Bai Bai Napangarti & Christine Nicholls (editor) (2003) A dreamtime narrative belonging to the Kukatja people of how Luurnpa rescues people from a drought and takes them to the country they now call home. Includes background notes and a map of the region.
One Woolly Wombat, by Rod Trinca & illustrated by Kerry Argent (1987) Zany Australian animals parade through this counting book, including five pesky platypuses and fourteen slick seals.
Possum Magic, by Mem Fox & illustrated by Julie Vivas (1991) Grandma Poss uses bush magic to make Hush invisible but, when Hush wants to see herself again, Grandma can't remember which particular Australian food is needed to reverse the spell.
Rainbow Serpent, by Dick Roughsey (1985) In the Dreamtime, there were no animals, birds, trees, hills or mountains. When the great Rainbow Serpent stirred and set off to look for his tribe, he changed the shape of the country and the lives of the people.
Silly Galah, by Janeen Brian & illustrated by Cheryll Johns (2001) Witty verses, colourful illustrations and useful facts about seventeen, very different Australian animals combine to make this an entertaining and informative picture book.
Silverskin, by Guundie Kuchling (2002) Silverskin is different from her brothers and sisters but she comes to discover herself and her own talents. Beautiful end papers and great illustrations that give extra information about Australian animals.
The Boing Boing Races, by Bruce Whatley (1999) All the kangaroos are lined up ready to start the big race. But what's this? Emu has joined the line, ready to race. Emu really wants to join the boing boing race but it is really a race for kangaroos.
The Bush Jumper, by Jean Chapman & illustrated by Ali Beck (2005) Koala knits Mitti a jumper the colour of wattle blossom. The only problem is that she runs out of wool and has to knit a multi-coloured sleeve. Mitti is not keen on the result but the other animals help to change her mind.
The Cocky, the Crow and the Hawk, by Christine Nicholls (editor) & Matingali Napanangka Mudgedell (teller) (2002) A Dreaming narrative belonging to Matingali Napanangka Mudgedell, in which all the birds were brightly coloured. The birds lived together and shared their food. But, one day, the cocky and the crow argued and everything changed.
The Echidna and the Shade Tree, by Pamela Lofts (compiler) & Mona Green (teller) (1984) In the Dreaming, there was a shade tree in the middle of the desert. The animals went hunting for themselves and their babies but they only gave the echidna the scraps. When he gets angry and attacks the shade tree, the other animals must do something.
The Emu Egg, by Thorpe, Sharon & Leffler, David (ill) (2004) Searching for emu eggs can be more risky than you'd expect.
The Two Wallabies, by Henry Cook Jakamarra (Aboriginal storyteller) & Christine Nicolls (editor) (2002) A Dreaming narrative from the Aboriginal people of Australia's far north. After a flood carries away his first friend, the wallaby finds another companion. They criss-cross the country bringing many places and plants into being.
Tiddalick, the Frog who Caused a Flood, by Robert Roennfeldt (2005) A well-loved classic tale of Tiddalick, the frog, who drank up all the rivers and lakes. All the other animals resolve to get the water back from him.
When the Snake Bites the Sun, by Pamela Lofts (compiler) & David Mowaljarlai, David (teller) (1984) One of a series of Aboriginal stories about animals and birds.
Challenge Level 3-4
Big Bad Bushranger, by Bob Brown & illustrated by Ben Wood (2009) A clever wombat is the perfect bushranger. He knows the best hiding spots in New South Wales.
Diary of a Wombat, by Jackie French & illustrated by Bruce Whatley (2002) This wombat leads a very busy and demanding life. She wrestles unknown creatures, runs her own digging business and most difficult of all - trains her humans.
Give me a Home among the Gum Trees, by Bob Brown & Wally Johnson, & illustrated by Ben Wood (2008)Australian animals join together to bring to life this classic Australian song about a home amongst the gum trees.
Jaleesa the Emu, by Nola Kerr & Susannah Brindle & illustrated by Craig Charles (2001) Jaleesa thinks something is waiting for her in the mysterious land at the back of her great-grandmother's house. This story within a story involves the spirits of the animals, and in particular, the emu.
Redback on the Toilet Seat, by Slim Newton & illustrated by Craig Smith (2008) A cane toad gets quite a surprise when he gets bitten by a redback spider when he sits on the outdoor toilet.
The Cassowary's Egg, by Gary Fleming (2006) Carla, a very bossy cassowary, leaves her partner, Calvin, to look after their egg for twenty-one days. But, the egg gets stolen and Calvin must find a way to get it back before Carla returns.
The Kangaroo who couldn't Stop, by Robert Cox & illustrated by Jim Robins (2004) Poor little Keith has a problem. Ever since he found his hop, he just can't stop. Keith's mother takes him to see Dr Leapyear who decides to try hop-nosis. Keith may never be able to stop his hopping.
The Most Colourful Frog in the World, by Julie D. Morris (2000) A discontented, brown frog discovers the advantage of an unobtrusive skin colour in this appealing story about self-acceptance.
The Muddle-headed Wombat Series, by Ruth Park & illustrated by Noela Young (1973 - 1990) Follow the adventures of the muddle-headed wombat and his friends. Any two books from this series may be read as Premier's Reading Challenge books and up to five more can be read as personal choice books.
The Warriors: the Story of a Wombat, by Jackie French & illustrated by Bettina Guthridge (1996) Factual information cleverly woven into the story of a wombat's experiences from birth to adulthood revealing the emotions, smells and joys of being a wombat.
The Wombat Chronicles, by Marguerite Hann Syme (2001) The wombats of the We Work Wonders Earthmoving Company have, amongst their employees, emus who try very hard to please and frogs who take industrial action.
The Wombat who Talked to the Stars: the Journal of a Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, by Jill Morris (1997) The northern hairy-nosed wombat is one of Australia's most critically endangered species. There is thought to be only one colony of sixty-five animals left. This is the story of wombat number 104 in that colony.
Yakkin the Turtle: the Most Dangerous Year, by Guundie & Gerald Kuchling (1996) Australia's Western Swamp Tortoise, the world's rarest tortoise, is an endangered species. The baby tortoises' intense struggle for survival is revealed in this bittersweet story.
Challenge Level 5-9
Ash Road, by Ivan Southall (2004) A group of children have to battle a bushfire with only two elderly men to help them.
Desert Dog, by Pat Lowe & illustrated by Jimmy Pike (1997) Spinifex, a dingo pup, is adopted by a family living in the traditional way, moving from waterhole to waterhole. Based on an incident in his childhood, the pup encountering station life shares the experience of Jimmy Pike's own people.
Father Sky and Mother Earth, by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) (1992) An illustrated book depicting environmental concerns by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, a poet and an activist for Aboriginal rights.
Goanna Jumps High, by Urandangi State School (1999) Students try to win a high jump contest in a zone sports competition but, to do this, their goanna must jump higher than a competing kangaroo. Illustrated by primary pupils.
Magpie Island, by Colin Thiele & illustrated by Roger Haldane (1990) The story of a magpie raised on the Eyre Peninsula that becomes stranded on an island. Humans intervene to help him have a happy life.
Midnite: the Story of a Wild, Colonial Boy, by Randolph Stow (1970) This is the story of a bushranger in Western Australia who has four comical animal friends.
Pannikin & Pinta, by Colin Thiele & Peter Gouldthorpe (2001) The pelicans at Lake Eyre leave for the coast when the lake dries up. Pannikin and mother, Pinta, leave a little too late with the other members of the family.
Pinquo, by Colin Thiele & illustrated by Mary Milton (1992) The emotional story of Pinquo, a fairy penguin, who lives in a penguin colony in South Australia.
The Giant Scrub Python, by Grace MacDonald Baldwin (2003) The giant scrub python is rarely seen by the locals so when Sam and Davey first encounter it, they are terrified but curious. When an illegal animal trader hears about the snake, he is anxious to catch it, even though it is a protected species.
Tiger in the Bush, by Nan Chauncy (2001) This is an adventure story about the Tasmanian tiger and a family living deep in the heart of the Tasmanian wilderness.