On the RRRadio …

Georgia Ward-Fear and I have been chatting on the radio with Shane Huntington. Neither Georgia nor I could be there live, so we Zoomed in. It was a good half-way method. We could see each other but it was an audio interview (which went out live). Whoever thought of this idea is to be applauded!

It also meant I didn’t need to put on shoes and it didn’t matter that it has been time + several months since I had a haircut!

If you’d like to listen to us chatting about our Wild Dingo Press book Aussie Stem Stars: Georgia Ward-Fear, here‘s the link. You’ll meet the wonderful Georgia and get a small taste (or not taste) of cane toads, and why goannas are no longer eating them.

Thanks Shane!

Kookaburra competition results are in!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our Kookaburra competition, for your imagination and skill. We were overwhelmed by the quality and number of entries in both categories. Thank you to the parents and teachers who supported their children/students.

Congratulations to our winners, for their imaginative and lyrical new verses

Emily (9, Forest Hill VIC)

Kookaburra sits in the empty playground

wishing there were children to make a sound

Come everybody, come everybody,

when this lockdown ends.

and Noah (Yr 2 St Pius X Unanderra NSW)

Kookaburra sits on my garden shed

Eyeing off my food like he wants to be fed

I give in kookaburra, you win kookaburra

I’ll leave some out at tea

Congratulations to our artwork winners for their creative and original artworks:

Quentin (Yr 2 Our Lady of Lourdes PS NSW) 

and Petra (Yr 1 Brunswick Nth PS Vic)

Congratulations too to Yr 5B at St Joseph’s Catholic PS Como-Oyster Bay NSW for submitting 36 verses – a clear winner for the most entries from a single class (verse) and to Yr 1/2AL at Avalon PS NSW for submitting 22 artwork entries, the most for a single class and school. Prizepacks are being sent to both classes.

Tannya and I shortlisted 5 entries in each category before choosing winners. Choosing a shortlist was tough but choosing winners was even tougher.

Each of the entries on the shortlist deserves a Special Mention.

Writing Special Mentions:

Amali (Year 6, William Clarke College Kellyville NSW),

Kookaburra sits in the hot gum tree

Tryna find shade cause it’s a hundred degrees

Search kookaburra, search kookaburra

Burnt your feathers must be

Hamish (Yr 2, Camberwell PS Vic)

Kookaburra soars through the dusty sky,

Looking down on rivers and lands so dry.

Fly, Kookaburra, fly, Kookaburra,

Watch the scene from high.

and Iyah (Yr 2 Our Lady Star of the Sea PS Ocean Grove Vic)

Kookaburra sitting in the big gumtree

Laughing at you and looking at me

Why kookaburra? why kookaburra?

Tell your story to me!

Artwork Special Mentions:

Eliana (Age 4 Jacks Avenue Kindergarten Dingley Vic),

Yaami (Prep Watsonia Heights PS Vic)

and Maxim (Yr 3 St Therese’s Catholic PS Denistone NSW)

Thank you so much to Tannya for cohosting and cojudging our Kookaburra competition. To learn more about Tannya, you can visit her website.

The countdown is on …

… only a few more days to get your Kookaburra entries in! We’ve had so many fabulous verses and pictures, it’s going to be tough to choose winners (if only we could award every single entry!).

I love the different ways that young authors and illustrators are bringing our Kookaburra to life and look forward to sharing some with you.

*Did you know*

Kookaburra teenagers (not really teenagers, really they’re young adults) are really keen to help with nesting, but are so clumsy they sometimes break the eggs.

Keep them coming!

There are two more weeks until the end of our kookaburra competition (scroll down for details). Tannya and I are so pleased that students and classes are creating kookaburra magic. There are so many talented young people out there sharing their work.

Submitted artwork has been stunning, and I nearly fell off my chair laughing at some of the new ‘Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree’ verses.

There are prizes for illustrators, prizes for writers, and a prize for the class that submits the most entries! So many ways to win.

Keep those entries rolling in. We love your work.

To inspire you further, here are some wonderful words. All are from NSW indigenous languages (although spellings vary depending on who wrote them down). All are onomatopoeic.

Cocopara. Cucuburra. Gogera. Gogobera. Guguburra. Kukuburra. Cuck’unda. Akkaburra. Arrangangg. Gugurrgaagaa. Gurgara. Karkungoon. Koaka. Ngungana. Tarakook. Wowook.

Kookaburras, cane toads and more

Kookaburra entries are coming in. Yesterday’s poetry offerings had me rolling about on the floor! Just the perfect thing for a wintry lockdown Wednesday. Keep them coming!

My biography of Aussie Stem Star Georgia has hit bookshops around the country. It’s so exciting to see this book in print. Georgia had no idea what she wanted to be until after she started university and even then she nearly dropped out to become a cabaret dancer! But her childhood was full of exploration in the Aussie bush in the Blue Mountains, both with her family and solo. Her love of animals and her passion to see them in their natural environment led to a career as an reptile biologist and explorer. Her PhD involved teaching yellow-spotted monitors NOT to eat cane toads! But that’s not all … you should read about how she travelled through Pacific Islands in a demountable kayak.

Look out for the other two books in this new series from Wild Dingo Press

Dianne Wolfer has written about Munjed al Muderis, and Cristy has written about Fiona Wood. Such amazing writers and such wonderful subjects.

Science has never been more important than it is now. Look out for these titles in all good bookshops.

Kookaburra Competition

**IT’S COMPETITION TIME!**

ATTENTION students, parents, teachers, librarians. It’s Kookaburra Competition time! Clear your desks and sharpen your tools. We have a writing competition AND an illustration competition. Submissions are invited from students for either or both competitions! Four entries (two writing, two illustration) will win a copy of ‘Kookaburra’. But wait, there’s more …

The class that submits the most entries will win a book prize pack from Walker Books Australia.

Competition opens 17 August. Competition closes 25 September.

Results will be posted here and on social media. Winners will receive their prize via Aust Post.

WRITING COMPETITION:

Many will be familiar with the rhyme/song, ‘Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree’. This popular song was written by Marion Sinclair in 1932. She wrote it for a competition and won! The rest, as they say, is history.

Here’s the original and one of the popular extra verses.

Kookaburra (the original)

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Save some there for me!

And here’s a well-known extra verse NOT written by Marion Sinclair

Kookaburra sits on electric wire

jumping up and down his pants on fire

Ouch, kookaburra, ouch kookaburra

Hot your pants must be!

We’d like you to write a new verse for this song. Extra points for basing it on any page in ‘Kookaburra’.

Here’s an example for you:

Kookaburra sits in the tall gum tree,

eating all the spiders she can see.

Crunch, kookaburra! Munch, kookaburra!

Eat them all for me.

ILLUSTRATION COMPETITION

Download Tannya’s outline of a kookaburra. Make it simple, make it fancy. Make it beautiful! Use pencils, paints, collage or a mix of all of these to show us how much you love kookaburras. When you’re done, take a photo and email it to Tannya.

Where to send entries:

Send writing entries to Claire at clairesaxby@optusnet.com.au

Send illustration entries to Tannya at harricks@iinet.net.au

PLEASE NOTE: Include the following in your entry submission:

Your first name, your year level and the name of your school.

  1. Permission for us to post your entry on social media (yes or no)
  2. Permission for us to post your first name with your entry (yes or no)
  3. Permission for us to post the name of your school (yes or no)

*** You will be eligible for a prize, even if you say no to all these. We’d just like to share your wonderfulness. ***

Bring on the kookaburras. Kook-kook-kook! Kak-kak-kak!

Haywire shortlisted

Well, as if having a new book (Kookaburra) release isn’t enough wonderfulness at this tricky time, Wednesday 5 August brought its own special magic. Around the middle of the day, when Victoria was waiting for the daily new infection numbers, the NSW Premier’s History Award shortlists were announced.

And Haywire was there! Shortlisted for the Young People’s History Prize, with two other wonderful books. Visit here for more details and for the judges’ reports.

While you take a look and a read, I’ll be dancing wildly around my house, and possibly my back yard … maybe around the lemon tree in my front yard too!

Thanks Clare Hallifax for loving Tom and Max and their stories. Thanks Omnibus/Scholastic for publishing this book.

Hello Kookaburra!

Welcome!

I am joined today by the wonderful Tannya Harricks. August 1 is release day for our new Walker Books Australia Nature Storybook picture book collaboration, Kookaburra. We are thrilled to add this story to the Nature Storybook series, which celebrates Australia’s diverse landscape and wildlife.

Kookaburras are well-known to many, or most, Australians by their distinctive call. But there’s so much more to these amazing birds beyond their (fabulous) vocalisations. And that is what we hope to offer with ‘Kookaburra’. We invite you into their world, ask you to look and listen, and get to know kookaburras a little more deeply.

**COMPETITION**

To celebrate Kookaburra, we’re going to be having a competition on this blog! On Monday 17 August, we will ask readers and students, teachers and librarians to become kookaburras!

Okay, maybe not.

We will, however post an outline for you to download and make as kookaburra-y as you can, using whatever art medium you prefer. There will also be a writing activity (which could potentially evolve into a performing opportunity!).  

Entries are encouraged from individuals and from classrooms.

The entries we love best (two art, two writing) will win a copy of our book, Kookaburra.

But wait, there’s more.

The class contributing the most entries will win a book pack from Walker Books. 

Help us fill the blog, the world, with fabulous kookaburras.

Meanwhile, we’re off to practice our kooka calls …

Claire and Tannya