CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 9. . . .October 30, 2015
Suzi Eszterhas’ Koala Hospital is the first in a new four-part “Wildlife Rescue” series by Owlkids Books. As the title suggests, the focus of the first book is Australia’s lovable koala. The reader gets to look inside Port Macquarie’s koala rehabilitation facility. Sick and injured koalas are brought to the hospital to receive professional and loving care from trained wildlife rehabilitators. The text contains details about how and why koalas are brought to the facility and how they are treated before eventually being returned to the wild. Readers learn about koalas in nature, including information about such things as their diet, threats to their habitat, and sleep patterns. Readers also learn about koala care in the hospital’s environment.
Almost every double-page spread features a full colour photograph with a facing page of text and smaller photos. The well-balanced design of the book is attractive and also facilitates ease of reading. Although the text is replete with details, it is succinct and readable. Information is presented in a conversational, comprehensible manner. Eszterhas’ skillful writing makes information understandable—newborn joeys are said to be as small as a jelly bean while sleeping 18 hours a day makes koalas “one of the greatest sleepyheads in the animal kingdom.”
Eszterhas has carefully chosen which details to include in the book. Her interesting selections, for instance, include the fact that a koala’s slow, sleepy manner is a result of the work needed to digest otherwise toxic eucalyptus leaves. Additionally, readers learn that in the koala hospital, joeys are given stuffed animals to cling to in order to help comfort them in the absence of their mothers.
We believe this book is an excellent resource for teachers to introduce their students to research and informational literacy. Things, such as the glossary, headings, table of contents, index, and photo captions, can all be used by educators as a means of introducing children to these text features.
The endearing photographs complement the text superbly. The photographs illustrate the writing in such a manner that young children not yet able to read will still be able to derive information just by looking at the pictures. They will also enjoy gazing at the exquisite, high-quality photos while listening to the book being read aloud.
At book’s end is presented a series of questions and answers between children and the author. The “Kids ask Suzi” section is a good way to encourage children’s curiosity. Some readers will here find answers; others may consult the list of sources provided on the index page. At the rear of the book, there is also information about how children can help wildlife generally and help koalas specifically. One suggestion is to raise money for animal and habitat conservation. Along those lines, a portion of the royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the koala hospital in Port Macquarie.
In spring 2016, Orangutan Orphanage is due for release. If Koala Hospital is anything to go by, we can look forward to the second book in the “Wildlife Rescue” series with optimism.
Dr. Gregory Bryan is a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. He is a passionate Australian who loves koalas.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.