Product Code: 91226
Binding Information: Hardback
Ages: 4 - 7
Grade Highest: 2nd
Grade Lowest: Pre-K
Availability: In stock
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A remarkable story of survival
The creators of A Mother's Journey and Little Lost Bat, Sandra Markle and Alan Marks team up again to chronicle the challenges faced by a mother koala: protecting herself and her joey from a raging bushfire, and finding food and a new home after their home range is destroyed. Based on a true story.
Back matter includes facts about koalas, an author's note about Cinders, the real-life koala that survived two bushfires, and resources for learning more about koalas and their habitat.
This book is good for your brain because:
Animal Behavior, Habitats, Australia
Koalas Are Amazing!
For more information on koalas, visit these websites:
If you like this book, you'll like:
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Kirkus Reviews - December 15, 2007The creators of the award-winning penguin trek, A Mother's Journey , now trace the odyssey of a koala parent with the same attention to detail and broadly appealing illustrations. Subsisting solely on the leaves of eucalyptus (did you know that there are different kinds?), a New South Wales koala and her large joey are forced to search for a new feeding ground after a bush fire leaves all the trees stripped. The trip takes them into human territory. Punctuated by irresistible close-ups of the mother's face, Marks's impressionistic watercolors follow the two as they weather a dog's attack, then resolutely try to ignore the gathering crowds of curious people that trail along. Ultimately, having crossed a highway on which traffic has been stopped (the whole episode is loosely based on a true story), the koalas find a new patch of forest. Markle tells the tale in measured, sensitive, carefully non-anthropomorphic prose. Capped by an explanatory afterword, extra koala facts and several recommended print and web resources, this makes another fine choice for budding naturalists to read alone or aloud.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books - February 1, 2008When a koala and her baby joey lose their habitat in a brushfire, they must seek a new home. Struggling to carry her heavy baby, the mother ventures forth, finding the nearest edible trees to lie within a human enclave. The curious suburbanites gather around to see animals not usually found in their backyard but try to avoid interfering with the koalas, who finally find a new home range of eucalyptus in which to settle. Loosely based on the adventures of a real koala, the story is quiet but intense, the present-tense, animal-centered narration hushed yet concrete. The book refreshingly eschews portraying humans as saviors or saboteurs, instead making clear through the koala's-eye-view that it's their mere presence in the habitat, no matter how benign their intentions, that's distressing to wild animals. Marks' watercolor, pencil, and ink illustrations are dominated by landscape, tinted in sweeping washes of color, but they effectively foreground the mother and baby; the change from wild to settled areas is subtly flagged by increasingly geometric elements of house silhouette and road and fence lines. This will likely elicit youngsters' own stories of animal encounters, but it's also a useful entree into discussion about the erosion of habitats and its effect on the wild.
Horn Book - March 1, 2008Caught at the edge of a bushfire, a koala and her joey escape the flames and then begin a long search for a new habitat. The arduous journey takes them out of the bush and into a suburb, where they find a few proper trees for feeding. They also find humans, who first startle them (and perhaps the koalas also startle the humans) and then respectfully help them (by halting traffic on a busy roadway) as the marsupial duo finds a territory where they can live. Based on a true story, this account downplays the "aren't they cute" factor and emphasizes the struggles of these wild animals to survive. Marks's soft watercolors depict the drama of this mother-and-child story but also convey much information about koala life. Appended with an author's note outlining the actual koala's journey, a couple of facts about koalas, and two books and two websites for further inquiry.
School Library Journal - February 1, 2008Markle surmises what the days immediately following two bushfires might have been like for a female koala and her joey. The story begins on a spring day when "the air smells of eucalyptus leaves and smoke." With her joey on her back, the mother koala climbs and escapes the fire but afterward finds her home destroyed and no food left for miles. Realistic watercolor illustrations depict the intensity of the fire and the skeletal trees that remain as the koala travels through moonlight for hours, sniffing for food. The trek leads to a swamp mahogany tree, an encounter with a pet dog, and more civilization than wild animals prefer. The language and illustrations throughout feel as gentle and reverent as the representation of the gathering suburban crowd, painted in muted colors that suggest respect for the koala survivors. Suitable for reading aloud or independently, this story of one female's risky journey makes a good choice for animal, survival, or Australian studies.—Julie R. Ranelli, Queen Anne's County Free Library, Stevensville, MD
Booklist - February 15, 2008Based on the true story of a koala that survived multiple bushfires and wandered into a residential area, this picture book, narrated in dramatic free verse, tells a gripping story of animal survival. The words are immediate and filled with sensory detail: "The air smells of eucalyptus leaves and smoke." When flames lick through the forest, a mother koala shields her baby from the fire, and after the charred branches cool, she leaves--with her baby on her back--in search of a meal. Her hunt for "just one tree that is right" is long and dangerous, particularly after she finds herself among humans and houses. But concerned people block traffic on a busy highway and guide the mother and baby to a safe wild ecalyptus grove. As in A Mother's Journey (2005) and Little Lost Bar (2006), Markle's smooth, elegant poetry and Marks' expressive, realistic mixed-media images five a strong sense of the animals' terror and the mother's intense bond with her child and show how humans can protect the increasing numbers of wildlife that are pushed by shrinking habitats into our neighborhoods. Koala facts suggestions for further research close this powerful title.
Bureau County Republican Princeton, Illinois - March 27, 2008Shadowy watercolor illustrations enhanced by pen and pencil strokes create a quiet nighttime atmosphere. The prose text is almost poetic in its word choices and imagery. The initial tension of losing a home pulls readers into the adventure, and the reassuring conclusion shows that a new place may indeed become home.
Family Magazine - May 1, 2008Based on a real-life story of a koala mother who survives two bushfires, but must struggle to find a new home range due to destroyed feeding trees, the award-winning team of author Sandra Markle and illustrator Alan Marks combine efforts once again, to share with readers another remarkable animal survival tale. Set in Australia, the mother koala protects her joey and herself from the fire, and despite interest and complications from many humans, travels miles from her fire-damaged home to locate eucalyptus trees, whose leaves she and her joey eat. Watercolor, ink, and pencil illustrations support the story of the fire and the danger, the journey and the search for food, the humans who both protect and frighten, the dangerous highway crossing, and the tender branches of a welcoming red gum tree&mdasha new home. (An Author's note concludes, with both books and websites for additional information.) A heartwarming picture book with the strength of a true tale, to keep reader and listener engaged.
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast - June 2, 2008This is a story, based on the real-life account of a koala nicknamed Cinders, of a mother koala and her joey, the mother trying to save her baby from a bushfire. It comes from Sandra Markle, who lives in New Zealand, and Alan Marks, who lives in the UK. Fire sweeps through the forest in September, and a koala and her baby cling to life on a tree. Luckily, they're unharmed, but "only shadow-black skeletons remain where koalas once dined on a daily buffet of different kinds of eucalyptus trees…" Leaving the forest to search for a meal with her joey on her back, the mother finally sniffs some food but has ended up in a residential area; a dog even spots her. When a human girl notices the koala and takes the dog in, the mother and baby climb a tree, later noticing that a crowd has gathered to watch her. Since it's a koala's habit to move around for meals, she does so and is followed by people with "bright beams of light that make her blink and her joey squeal." For a couple more days, she moves from tree to tree, all the while people following her, "chattering, humming, buzzing…" After they allow her to cross a road safely, "one by one, the lights go out and the noises stop." The people have directed her to the forest, and "she bounds up to the high, tender branches of a forest red gum." . . . Markle seamlessly blends in facts about koalas in this dramatic tale. Marks' watercolor, pen, and pencil illustrations are reverent and detailed - as well as dramatic when they need to be (the fire spread bursts with color). Take a moment to visit his site and see some of his art; there's a real Brock Cole feel to some of it (while still being singularly Alan-Marks). A good choice for school libraries for units about conservation and wildlife, this is a survival story and a tale of the many ways creatures find-and define-home.
Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, South Jordan Middle School - June 6, 2008Markle, Sandra Finding Home 29 p. Charlesbridge PICTURE BOOK. The story of a koala mother who escapes a bushfire with her joey on her back. With her home range destroyed, she travels a long distance in search of food. She finds a swamp mahogany tree in a suburban area where she is initially challenged by a dog. Traveling from yard to yard, she eventually crosses the highway back into a forest, finding a new home. The water color illustrations are beautiful and reflect the respect shown the koalas by the inhabitants of the homes she visits on her journey. This is an appealing tale of animal survival. Grades 2-4 ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Debbie Herget, Elementary Library-Teacher
BioScience - October 1, 2008[T]he book Finding Home is a beautifully illustrated tale of a koala bear and her baby, driven from their forest home by a brush fire. As they hunt for new eucalyptus trees for food and shelter, various dangers created by humans threaten them at each turn, yet it is the care of humans that enables the koala and her joey to find their new home. Skillfull watercolor illustrations by Alan Marks place the reader alongside the koalas as they flee the fire and shy away from barking dogs and glaring flashlights. The concept of animal adaptation to a particular environment is certainly emphasized by the mother koala's depserate search for a suitable home, checking the air constantly for her much-needed eucalyptus trees. Reading this book would provide an excellent opportunity for discussion of both the negative impact humans have on the environment and the positive steps that individuals can take to protect it--even such a gentle, small action as standing back quietly to allow a koala and her baby to cross a road safely.
CCBC Choices - April 1, 2009A female koala and her joey survive a forest fire, but burned trees mean no food, so she sets off with her baby on her back in search of something to eat. The long journey brings her to a place of strange and sometimes fearful sights and sounds--a neighborhood of houses and people. Because koalas are rarely seen outside of the bush, the pair are a source of great fascination before they return to the forest once more. Sandra Markle weaves information about koalas into a narrative of quiet tension and occasional moments of high drama. Alan Mark's illustrations amplify the story's tone. An author's note provides information on the koala named Cinders, whose story informed Markle's narrative. Cinders traveled twelve miles to the edges of a suburb in search of food after her habitat was destroyed in a bushfire.
NSTA Recommends - August 8, 2009In this real-life story, readers join a koala mother and her baby joey as they flee a raging fire in a fight for survival. Leaving their destroyed home in the bush and encountering the edge of the risky world of humans, the frightened animals finally find a safe new home.
As students follow the journey of these attractive animals, they can learn more about life cycles, habitats, and ecosystems. The behaviors that are portrayed are authentic and accurate. It is appropriate for both group and individual reading. This book was an NSTA/CBC outstanding science trade book winner for 2009.