Items we used.
A came across this idea in one of her kindergarten readers and begged for us to try it out at home!
Coating the pinecone with peanut butter.
We tied a piece of string to the pinecone so that it could be hung up in a tree when we were finished, and then I helped A to cover the pinecone in peanut butter. This was a little messy, but A didn’t get nearly as much peanut butter on herself as I had thought she would.
Rolling the pinecone in birdseed.
Then A rolled the pinecone in a bowl of birdseed. We used a basic parrot mix because most of the birds that hang about in our yard are parrots such as cockatoos and galahs. A pressed as much seed into the sticky peanut butter as she could, completely covering the pinecone. When the pinecone could hold no more seed, we took it into the yard and hung it up in a large bottlebrush tree.
Making sure the whole pinecone was covered.
And now we wait for the birds to come and have a feast.
Our new bird feeder hanging in a tree.
Jeremy by Chris Faille and illustrated by Danny Snell, published by Working Title Press in 2013.
Jeremy is a baby kookaburra that has fallen out of his nest. The family cat brings him home when he is just a wrinkly little pink ball with closed eyes. The nest is too high to return the bird to, so the family look after him, keeping him warm and feeding him. Jeremy grows feathers, and gets bigger and stronger. All too soon he is ready to face the world on his own.
Jeremy is a heart warming tale of survival, that also serves to introduce the reader to the basics of how a kookaburra develops. The story itself is a simple narrative following Jeremy’s progress from ugly newborn to young adulthood, when he is ready to fend for himself.
Inside the front and back covers, lots of facts about kookaburras are presented, considerably increasing the depth of knowledge gained from this book. The illustrations in Jeremy are an asset to this book, as they are wonderfully life-like, and so detailed. They bring Jeremy to life as he grows and changes.
Several times as a child I found a poor baby bird that had fallen or been pushed from its nest, and tried to save it. None of mine were as lucky as Jeremy though. I was pleased that Jeremy grew into a healthy young kookaburra that could be released back into the wild, despite his shaky start. My preschooler was surprised, having never seen a newly hatched bird, that baby birds have no feathers and are completely defenceless. She enjoyed the extra facts about kookaburras, and I’m pretty sure she learnt some things! As this book is mostly non-fiction disguised as a picture book, I think it would be an excellent tool to help encourage children into reading more non-fiction. Good for curious kids in primary school and preschool, I enjoyed sharing Jeremy with my daughter very much.
* Jeremy was the winner of the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books category.
Upside Down in the Jungle by Helen Phillips, paperback novel, 333 pages, first published under the title Here Where the Sunbeams are Green by Delacorte Press in 2012, this edition published by The Chicken House in 2013.
Mad and Roo have a famous ornithologist for a father, Dr Wade, also known as The Bird Guy. He travels to find rare and important birds regularly, but when he is asked to track and catalogue rare birds in the jungle by an exclusive resort at the base of a volcano, he doesn’t return. His family begin to worry, and then they receive the Very Strange and Incredibly Creepy Letter that appears to be nonsense, but Roo is convinced it’s a coded message. Their mother, Sylvia, thinks that they are being watched, and a colleague of The Bird Guy has started hanging around the family constantly. The whole situation is very odd, and eventually the family flies to the jungle to find Dr Wade, where things only become stranger. With the help of Kyle, the grandson of the owners of the lodge where the family are staying, Mad and Roo are determined to uncover the truth about their father and just what he is doing in the jungle and why he hasn’t come home yet.
Adventure, mystery, first romance and an incredibly rare bird, believed to be extinct in the jungles of South America, are found in this exciting novel for middle to upper primary and lower high school students. Told from the perspective of Mad, a twelve-almost-thirteen year old, who finds herself unwillingly unravelling the mystery of her father’s reluctance to return from the jungle or to communicate with his family, spurred on by her younger sister Roo. They team up with the charming, yet cheeky, Kyle, who is supposed to be teaching them Spanish, but is much more concerned with locating the rare volcano bird that he knows to exist, though it had previously been reported to be extinct. This novel was fast paced and intriguing, with beautiful imagery. I enjoyed reading it, and had difficultly putting it down. I became involved in the fortunes of the characters, and hoped that they would find the bird and solve the mystery. It was very well written, the characters were well developed, and it was easy to conjure their images in my mind. A fantastic book. I look forward to reading more by Helen Phillips in the future.