Saltie Mumma

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Sandra Kendall, Saltie Mumma, Windy Hollow Books, October 2020, 28pp., RRP $25.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781922081889

This picture book for children 4-8 years is set in the wetlands of the Northern Territory. Two text types on each page present an engaging combination of story and information.

In large, bold type, the narrative story follows Saltie Mumma; a saltwater crocodile raising her clutch of eggs. Lively language with repeated phrase structures, exciting verbs and onomatopoeia will entertain readers and make a wonderful read-aloud experience. Adjectives in even larger, bolder capital letters highlight the features of Saltie Mumma, who is alternately tired, busy, cranky, hungry and more. Some human mummas are sure to relate!

The passages in smaller text present interesting non-fiction information about the saltwater crocodile’s life history. Illustrations in a colour palette of green, blue, and brown span double-page spreads to immerse readers the story, showcasing the natural environment and the crocodile’s predator/prey relationships.

On the final page, the unseen child narrator introduces the topic of where it’s safe for children to swim in northern Australia.

Children interested in animals and nature will be sure to fall for Saltie Mumma. In the classroom, it can be used to explore writing styles and encourage literacy skills, enquiry, and learning.

Author/illustrator Sandra Kendell lives in Darwin. Her most recent book, Beauty, was a CBCA notable book and shortlisted for the Chief Minister’s NT Book Award. In 2019, Kendell won the Environment and Conservation Award in the NT Natural Resource Management Awards.

Reviewed by Julie Murphy

Read Julie’s interview with Sandra Kendall here.

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