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- author Jackie French

Wednesday 8 September 2021

Review: Babies at the Billabong

What a wonderful anytime story Babies at the Billabong is! 

A walk through the Australian bush is reason for celebration. There is so much to see and learn about; tall trees, flowered bushes and baby animals playing in their natural habitats.

The little girl sets out for a late afternoon walk in nature. The sun is still high as she heads for the billabong.

Down by the coolabah tree, energetic joeys slide and splash gleefully. But they are too loud, so she keeps walking.

As the sun begins to sink, she wanders to where the wattle blooms. 

Echidna puggles are having a drum-a-thon. Although it is a beautiful sight, added to the joeys’ noisy exuberance, it is too loud, so she continues on through the tree-lined forest.

Along the banks of the billabong, as light flickers through the river red gum branches, cute cockatoo chicks gobble a high tea which they share with the girl. Sweet as they are, their chatter is added to the echidna and joey sounds. Far too loud for her, she walks on to sit at a picnic table to eat her cake.

At the lilly pilly bush where surrounding she-oaks cast long shadows on the ground, goanna hatchlings are building. It is a delight to watch them work. But too noisy when added to the previous sounds of the cockatoos’ tea party, the echidna drumming, and the joeys splashing. Off she goes.

Almost dusk, she comes to the crimson waratahs. Through an opening, she sees a large group of green tree froglets dancing on rocks and fallen tree trunks. They are impressive in their freedom dance. But added to all the previous sounds that now filled her head, she leaves them behind.

Looking high in the branches of a giant paperbark, the girl realizes it is almost dark. Flying fox pups are waking. She calls all the baby animals to her.

Time to wind down around the campfire and share a story together before bed.

From the creators of By the Billabong, stunning matte illustrations portray the beauty of Australia’s flora and fauna in earthy tones. Humorous undertones of the text entertain as children learn about Australia’s magnificent trees and baby animals, with images and by name.

Title: Babies at the Billabong
Author: Maura Finn
Illustrator: Cate James
Publisher: Affirm Press, $24.99
Publication Date: 31 August 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781922419408
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book