Review: Baby Bilby’s Question by Sally Morgan and Adele Jaunn

It’s National Book Week and families of primary school kids all around Australia have been working on costumes for Book Week parades.  Our school’s parade went down on Monday and Miss 5 was a proud Wonky Donkey!  I remember these parades from my own childhood and am so pleased to be continuing this tradition which encourages children to celebrate their favourite book character.  In a sea of princesses and pirates, I was also happy my daughter chose something a little unique – something that truly represented a book that she loves to read over and over again.   This book, and this opportunity to dress up, will stay with her into adulthood.  And if for any reason it doesn’t, I’ll be there at her 21st with the photos!

This week I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peak at another book, which I think is set to become an Australian kids’ classic.  Author and artist Sally Morgan, who some of you will know from the best-selling novel My Place amongst her many other works,  has created the beautiful Baby Bilby’s Question  about the love between a little bilby and his dad.  It is a delightful story for young children, magically illustrated by Adele Jaunn, and an ideal gift for Father’s Day (or any day, really).

Baby Bilby’s Question is very much in the vein of Guess How Much I Love You, only better, in my opinion for three reasons:

  1. For Australian kids, it is full of colourful imagery of Australian animals and landscapes that offers the chance for discussion about local flora and fauna alongside the actual storyline;
  2. It is funny, and the repetition, rhyming and alliteration will be useful in teaching reading and language skills;
  3. I know I’m alone in this one, but I have always found Big Nutbrown Hare a little irritating.  Couldn’t he cut the kid some slack and let him win the argument occasionally? Is it just me?

There’s no such competitive parenting in Baby Bilby’s Question, where a father’s love is boundless and reassuring.

“How long will you love me?” said Baby Bilby to his dad.

“Until a dingo dances with a python….”
“Until a lizard lazes in a rainbow…”
“Until a seal sails across the sunset…”

After two reads Miss 4 was reciting the words herself  and was inspired to draw some animals and rainbows of her own.   That was enough to tell me that this book had made an impact; it held her attention, stuck in her memory and encouraged her to imitate and play around with the rhymes.   I’m already thinking about our bilby costume for Book Week 2013!

Baby Bilby’s Question is published by Hardie Grant Egmont (Little Hare Books imprint) and I thank them kindly for my copy.

This review will also be linked into the Australian Women Writers Challenge.



10 comments for “Review: Baby Bilby’s Question by Sally Morgan and Adele Jaunn

  1. Amanda
    August 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    This review is gold! Just what we need for Fathers Day 🙂 Thanks!

    • This Charming Mum
      August 30, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Amanda. I’d love to put more of the illustrations up but I figure I’d best not photocopy the whole book. It’s so bright and colourful. Yep, good Father’s Day pressie idea.

  2. August 29, 2012 at 9:11 am

    What I love about the illustrations is the next animal appearing as the pages progress. A little child (like my great-niece) loves to spot the new animal and name it before it appears as the star on its own page.

    • This Charming Mum
      August 29, 2012 at 9:50 am

      That’s a really good point Angela. Yes, my 5 year old noticed this pattern too. I’m not a teacher, but I believe that is another device that helps children learn to read – predicting/anticipating what will come next. I love your idea of each animal being the ‘star’ of its own page. I must tell my kids that one tonight. Thanks for your comment.

  3. August 28, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I heart Australian children’s book authors!

    • This Charming Mum
      August 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      Me too 🙂

  4. August 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    My boys love “Guess how much I love you” so I think we’ll have to get a copy of this gorgeous book!
    Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

    • This Charming Mum
      August 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks Grace. It is a beautiful book. Hope your boys like it too.

  5. August 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Thank for the recommendation. I just love books that our kids can relate to, nothing better than aussie animals and landscapes.

    • This Charming Mum
      August 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Yes, it’s nice to see wombats and goannas playing around in this story. And Baby Bilby is very cute too.

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