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'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

Book review: Night Monsters, by Nina Poulos

Posted by Lisa Hill on February 16, 2014


Night MonstersNight Monsters is another of the NLA’s picture books which can be used to teach young children about Australian animals.

Written in rhyming couplets – which also makes the book useful for teaching the Literature component of the Australian Curriculum for English – the story confronts the fears that children have about monsters in the night.  The animals of the bush are scared too, and so Cackle Kookaburra gathers them together so that they can admit their fears and find out what’s causing them:

Cackle Kookaburra sat in a tree
She was glad it was finally light.
For friends had told this wise old bird
Of monsters in the night.

So Cackle called her friends around,
She thought it would be best
To share their tales and find the truth
And put their fears to rest.

Waddle Wombat hears a witch making her teeth go ‘clack’; Rowdy Roo hears hissing; Ernest Echidna is sure that there’s a dinosaur snarling; and Doris Dingo hears growling and grunting that she thinks is a bear (which most Australian children will know couldn’t possibly be, in the Australian bush).  Wallis Wallaby is worried about the beat of a dragon’s wings; Paddle Platypus thinks that a goblin is snoring; and Prunella Possum says she’s seen a giant roaring.  But Cackle Kookaburra knows what’s causing all these spooky noises – it’s Larry Lyrebird, a remarkable mimic!

All’s well that ends well, and the last page of the book features facts about the lyrebird, complete with some images from the NLA’s collection, some of them very early ones from the 18th century.  The rest of the pictures are bright and lively full colour illustrations by Cheryl Westenberg, who also illustrated What’s Dad Doing? which is a very popular book in our school library. (See my review).

The book is produced on high quality paper, with a cover that is more robust and durable than most paperbacks, giving it a longer shelf-life in a school library.

Author: Nina Poulos
Title: Night Monsters
Illustrated by Cheryl Westenberg
Publisher: National Library of Australia (NLA), 2013
ISBN: 9780642278333
Source: review copy courtesy of the NLA

Availability
Fishpond: Night Monsters
Or direct from the NLA

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