Review: Warambi by Aleesah Darlison and Andrew Plant

Warambi isthe story of a bent-wing bat, found along the coast of north-eastern NSW and in easter QLD.  Separated from her colony as a bulldozer rips through her cosy cave, Warambi dodges night- time predators to find a new and unusual home. This simple narrative incorporates information on the life-cycle of the little bat from being blind and hairless and ‘no bigger than a bean,’ until she is ready to hunt, using echo-location. It is good to see that Darlinson has resisted the temptation to attribute thoughts to Warambi, although she does experience terror and loneliness as her habitat is destroyed.  Andrew Plant’s illustrations are superb.With a background in zoology , his depictions of animals are always anotomically correct but he is also able to establish an emotional link with the reader. I love his landscapes and the way he uses colour to highlight the action.

Similar in format to other books by the same publisher, this book contains lots of facts about bent-wing bats in the endpapers. Plenty of opportunities  here in early year classrooms to discuss adaptations, habitat and life cyles; also with older classes as an introduction to loss of habitat through human impact.

Teacher’s notes and some ideas for activities can be found at the Working Title website. These give some information on the author and illustrator and discuss some of the uses of language to set scence and tone. There are some suggested follow up activities using the factual information provided in the endpapers. If you visit Darlinson’s website, there is also a link to a book trailer.

National Curriculum applications:

Biological sciences (Foundation)

Living things have basic needs, including food and water

  • recognising the needs of living things in a range of situations such as pets at home, plants in the garden or plants and animals in bushland

Biological sciences (Year 1)

Living things have a variety of external features

  • recognising common features of animals such as head, legs and wings
  • describing the use of animal body parts for particular purposes such as moving and feeding

Living things live in different places where their needs are met

  • exploring different habitats in the local environment such as the beach, bush and backyard
  • recognising that different living things live in different places such as land and water

Biological sciences (Year 2)

Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves

  • representing personal growth and changes from birth
  • recognising that living things have predictable characteristics at different stages of development
  • exploring different characteristics of life stages in animals such as egg, caterpillar and butterfly
  • observing that all animals have offspring, usually with two parents

Biological sciences (Year 4)

Living things have life cycles

  • making and recording observations of living things as they develop through their life cycles
  • describing the stages of life cycles of different living things such as insects, birds, frogs and flowering plants

Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive.

  • investigating the roles of living things in a habitat, for instance producers, consumers or decomposers
  • observing and describing predator-prey relationships
  • predicting the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area
  • recognising that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.

Biological sciences (Year 5)

Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment. 

  • describing and listing adaptations of living things suited for the Australian environment
  • exploring general adaptations for particular environments such as water conservation in deserts
  • explaining how particular adaptations help survival such as nocturnal behaviour, silvery coloured leaves of dune plants
  • comparing types of adaptations such as behavioural and structural

Author: Aleesah Darlinson

Illustrator: Andrew Plant

Working Title Press, 2011

ISBN 9781921504280

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