Author: Sue Whiting
Illustrator: Mark Jackson
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Comments: It’s no secret that I love narrative non-fiction picture books, and I’m a big fan of Walker’s Nature Storybooks. Platypus is the latest addition to the series. Platypus leaves his burrow in the riverbank and dives into the cool green pool. It is dusk and he is hungry. Platypus is always busy, always moving, looking for his next meal…
As with all of the Nature Storybooks, Platypus features both a narrative story and factual text. The two discourses are distinguished by different typefont. (On a side note, I was pleased to see that this time Walker have opted for a more formal font for the non-fiction sections, and less traditional for the narrative. I have heard some teachers comment that students find it confusing when it’s the other way around!)
Sue Whiting is well positioned to write the text, as both an ex-teacher and current editor at Walker. There are some lovely sections of repetitive text, and rich figurative language which may be useful for introducing personification and metaphor in the classroom. The illustrations by Mark Jackson are just right, depicting both the fluidity of the river habitat and the frenetic activity of the platypus. The palette is perfect, and I particularly enjoyed the smaller framed illustrations which break up the double spreads. Don’t skip over the final endpaper – it’s gorgeous too. Platypus is Jackson’s third book in the series (he also illustrated Bilby Secrets and Python) and I hope he illustrates many more.
This book will be well used in classrooms, and an excellent addition to school libraries.
Teacher Tip: Useful Teacher’s Notes by Steve Spargo are available here via Walker. They are linked to Australian Curriculum outcomes for both English and Science (Years 2 and 3).
*I received a review copy of Platypus courtesy of Walker Books Australia. No payment was received for review and all comments are based on my own professional opinion.