Sue Whiting and Cate James – The Echidna Near my Place

Walker Books, Australia, 2022

What I like most about this book is Sue Whiting’s matter of fact writing style, which speaks to its child audience with respect, eye to eye.

The text is two-part: there is a story line involving the child narrator and her grandma and there are blocks of facts about the echidna. Different fonts are used for each of these parts.

Cate James’ illustrations also tell their story in the same respectful way, giving us detailed and well-observed landscapes, a variety of animals as well as the starring echidna and the character-full narrator and her nana. I especially like the series of echidna drawings on pages 14 and 15.

As always, Walker Books production is top notch. This is a book about the serious matter of looking after our Australian fauna, but told in the voice of a child, and hence full of wonder.

Information about the short-beaked wombat closes the book, which interestingly also contains an index – unusual for a children’s picture book and elevating it to a science reference. Bravo.

Thank you to Walker Books Australia for my review copy.