Blaze Kwaymullina (text), Jess Racklyeft (illus.), Little Koala Lost, Scholastic Australia, 1 July 2016, 24 pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781742991283
I fell in love with this simple yet appealing book as soon as I opened the cover. The opening pages are filled with a mosaic of the Aussie animals which feature in the story, including Little Koala Lost – can you find him?
This story begins with ‘one koala lost in the bush’ who is trying to find where he belongs. Little Koala’s journey is filled with counting and alliteration as he meets new animals along the way – marvellous magpies, pesky pelicans, excited emus and drinking dingoes, just to name a few.
The illustrations by Jess Racklyeft are warm and charming, and appear to have layers which capture the Aussie landscape. These layers include mountains, sunshine, streams, red earth, blue skies and of course, gum trees. The final pages feature a snapshot of the Australian bush, highlighting the animals from the story in their natural habitat; where they belong – dingoes howling, koalas climbing and kangaroo’s bounding in the distance – all under the light of the moon.
Indigenous author Blaze Kwaymullina dedicates this book to ‘the koalas of Australia’ and expresses his hope that they will always have a home. This environmental message reflects the importance of the flora and fauna of Australia, especially koalas which are often considered our national icon; and are under threat as our world evolves.
This book captures the sense of home and belonging; feeling safe and loved. Little Koala’s journey began alone at night, and then follows the sun as it rises and sets on a peaceful scene of sharing and togetherness. An inviting story filled with rhyming, colour, nature, counting and family – a perfect bedtime story or opportunity for discussion in early childhood settings.
Reviewed by Raquel Mayman