Berkes continues her series of wildlife books based on the popular tune “Over in the Meadow” with this work highlighting Australian animals and habitats (Over in the Arctic, 2008, etc.). Counting from one to 10, animals range from familiar koalas to the endangered, lesser-known bilby. Proper terms for offspring are italicized, while numbers are spotlighted with colored text, giving the song a decidedly informative feel. Also contributing to the educational element is the punchy vocabulary. How does a bilby behave? They “‘‘Slurp,’ said the mother. / ‘We slurp,’ said the nine. / So they slurped and they burped / In a sandy place to dine.” Brightly patterned and richly textured collage illustrations depict creatures in scenes that reflect their natural surroundings. Readers will greatly enjoy singing the tune as they learn about each animal. Extensive backmatter provides even more information about Australian wildlife, including animals hidden on every double-page spread that readers are encouraged to go back and find. The “Fact or Fiction” section describes what liberties the author took depicting the different animal families. Also included are educational and creative ideas from both author and illustrator, a simple, illustrated map, print and Internet resources as well as music, lyrics and chords for “Over in Australia.”
— Kirkus Reviews (February 1, 2011)
Why shouldn’t the meadow in the nursery rhyme “Over in the Meadow” be in Australia? Berkes recasts the song to introduce readers to counting, Australian animals, and the names of their young (“Over in Australia / Looking like a kangaroo / Lived a smaller wallaby / And her little joeys two”). Dubin’s lively collages feature textured papers, with pencil and crayon providing extra detail for the animals. Add musical notation for the song as well as detailed information about the 10 featured animals (plus 10 more hidden throughout the spreads), and it’s a remarkably layered and entertaining tip to the land of Oz.
— Publisher’s Weekly (January 17, 2011)
With a fluid text and lively illustrations, this picture book introduces 10 Australian animals: saltwater crocodiles, wallabies, koalas, platypuses, rainbow lorikeets, wombats, sugar gliders, brolgas, bilbies, and
emus. Many writers have used the structure, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the traditional rhyme “Over in the Meadow” as a vehicle for similar topics, but few have adapted it as successfully as Berkes. Varied effects of painted, printed, and textured elements enhance Dubin’s vibrant collages of cut and torn papers. The first 10 double-page spreads focus on the animal mothers and their babies; the next locates each species on a map of Australia and challenges children to go back and search for the other creatures hidden in the pictures. The book concludes with facts about all the Australian animals shown, a brief bibliography, ideas for activities, and the traditional tune for “Over in the Meadow.” A great choice for classroom units on Australia.
— Booklist (American Library Assn.) – Carolyn Phelan (March 15, 2011)
This is a charming counting rhyme about different animals of Australia and their offspring: from a short stocky wombat and her “little joeys” to a fierce crocodile and her little hatchlings. Readers are taken on a journey through the outback where they discover Australian animals in their natural habitat while counting to ten. With unique and creative style, this book is sure to please children and adults alike as they explore the land “Down Under.” The book includes related facts and extension activities and is illustrated beautifully with cut paper art.
— Library Media Connection – Laura Eiseberg Robinson (September 2011)
Over in Australia where you can go “a-waltzing” you can also see animals that are found nowhere else in the world. Author Marianne Berkes explains in her book “Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under” that because Australia is a huge island-continent the animals that came “established themselves there and nowhere else.”
The book is full of information about the Australian animals and ecosystem, but it is not a text book. It is written at a second grade level with simple words and an easy rhythm.
“Zig,” said the father.
“We zag,” said the ten.
So they zigged and they zagged
With their father “mother hen.”
The poem invites action. Each animal mentioned in the book has two verses dedicated to it. The first verse tells the name of the animal, and what the baby of the species is called. So we are introduced to the hatchling (crocodile), joey (kangaroo), joey (koala), puggles (platypus), chick (lorikeet), joey (wombat), joey (sugar glider), chick (brolga), joey (bilby), and chick (emu). Did you know that so many animal babies are called joey?
The second verse describes the action: crocodiles snap, kangaroos hop, with depiction of the activities of all the ten animals. The children can make it a reading game. As they sing the poem they can snap and hop and munch and splash their way through the verses. This link takes you to an interview with the author. The interviewer talks of other books here, but the video gives an idea of how activities can be integrated into the reading: https://dawnpub.com/making-a-splash-with-marianne-berkes/.
And that is not all. Each spread has a hidden animal. Jill Dubin the illustrator has created these beautiful, many-layered drawings, accurately presenting the desert, the grassland and the forest, and the animals that leave in each biome. Along with learning about the cuddly koalas and snappy crocodiles the children sharpen their observation skills.
It is also a counting book As they count the animals they learn the numbers from 1 to 10.
The back matter is filled with detailed descriptions of the animals, tips from the author, tips from the illustrator and the music for the song “Over in the meadow” on which this poem is based. This link https://dawnpub.com/media/overintheoceansong.mp3 takes you to an audio rendition of “Over in the Ocean”. The children can sing-along, replacing the words of the song with the verses of this book.
There is math, there is science, there is music. There is a plethora of author-created activities. A worthy addition to any reading list.
— 2nd Grade Reading – Ann Norris (Sept. 14, 2012)
Dawn Publications, one of the nation’s premier publishers of children’s ecology books, is located in nearby Nevada City. Dawn’s mission is to inspire in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on Earth. Since 1979 they’ve succeeded by publishing books of unusual beauty that help children and their parents understand nature, and how to honor and protect it. If these are values you’d like to share with your children, take a look at some of Dawn’s new books.
. . . “Over in Australia in a eucalyptus tree lived a cuddly gray koala and her little joeys three.” This clever book is both a rhyming counting book and a ‘find the hidden animal book.’ Many of Australia’s animals are unique to the country. Kids may know about koalas and wombats, but how about emus, sugar gliders, and platypus? The end material is packed with activities and information, making the book perfect for home or school. The very youngest listeners will enjoy hopping, munching, and dancing their way through the story, just as the animals do. The artist explains how she illustrates the book by making collages from a variety of materials. Think about letting your children try out a little collage art of their own.
— California Kids! Family Fun Guide – Connie Goldsmith (June 2011)
Rating: Four Stars
I love this book and kids will too. The rhymes and pictures effortlessly draw the reader into a world both strange and comforting. Funny sounding names like wallaby, platypus and wombat hint at adventure while the lyrical text reinforces the universal nature of a parent’s love.
As if that weren’t enough, also included are an invitation to find the hidden animal on each page after the reading is complete and a section that provides more information on each of the critters mentioned in the text.
— About Families Publications – Bobbi Carducci (May 2011)
Outstanding collage assemblages represent the animals featured in this wonderful counting book in rhyme. The rhyming stanzas have an easy read-aloud flow which your students will have fun memorizing and chanting along. Extensive information and activities about the animals from Australia, teacher resources, tips from the author on how to deeply use this book, photo-illustrated tips from the illustrator showcases her assembly method, song and lyrics for “Over in Australia,” and other nature awareness books presented at the end. If this comes in comes in hardcover edition, I would purchase that version, as this will get a lot of check-out use! Excellent.
— Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children’s Media – J.J. Avinger-Jacques (February 2011)
Some of the most cuddly, jumpy and crazy animals come from Australia, and this vividly illustrated and charming picture book introduces young readers beautifully. From kangaroo Mommies and their “joeys” to the sleek Mommy platypus and her “platy pups,” the rhyming prose and informative text will teach readers all about some pretty unusual animals.
— Kern County Family Magazine (May 2011)
Another wonderful book with captivating artwork. Very appealing text with content developmentally appropriate across a wide range of ages with multiple types of learning possibilities for developing literacy. A must for every home and school library.
— Purple Dragonfly Book Awards – Judge’s comments (June 2011)
In Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under young readers can meet 10 animals found in Australia: crocodile, wallabies, koalas, platypuses, lorikeets, wombats, sugar gliders, brolgas, bilbies and emus.
Besides learning a little about the animals, young children will enjoy the rhyming text and they will also learn to count. There are sections at the end of the story that provide additional information on Australian animals as well as the song “Over in Australia”.
> — Simcoe.com – Glenn Perrett (March 30, 2011)
Rating: 5 Stars (EXCELLENT)
Do you know what a brolga is? I surely didn’t until I read this book. Providing both fascinating information about different animals in Australia and fun reinforcement in learning how to count, author Marianne Berkes tells how one crocodile hatchling snaps, two little wallabies hop, three baby koalas munch, four platypups (platypus pups) splash, five rainbow lorikeets chit, six wombat joeys dig, seven sugar gliders lap, eight brolga chicks dance, nine bilbies slurp, and ten emus zig. By the way, the brolga is a kind of tall bird in the crane family.
Over in Australia uses cute rhymes that children will adore and is filled with gorgeous illustrations by Jill Dubin. In addition, at each opening there is a surprise hidden animal to find! You might just see a kookaburra, although I don’t know if he’s sitting in an old gum tree. Also in the back are several pages of activities and further information about the animals. Other books by Berkes that follow the “Over in the Meadow” pattern are Over in the Ocean, Over in the Jungle, both of which I have read and reviewed, and Over in the Arctic. Dawn Publications is dedicated to inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on earth, and further resources for teachers and parents can be downloaded from their website.
— Home School Book Review – Wayne S. Walker (February 2011)
Continuing her series of wildlife books based on the tune “Over in the Meadow,” Australian animals from one to ten snap, hop, munch, splash, cit, dig, lap, dance, slurp, and zig to a rhythmic tune about each animal. “Over in Australia/ In a sandy place to dine/ Lived a hungry, long-eared bilby/ And her little joeys nine./ ‘Slurp,’ said the mother./ ‘We slurp,’ said the nine./ So they slurped and they burped/ In a sandy place to dine.” Endpapers contain animal facts and fiction on the crocodile, wallaby, koala, platypus, chick, wombat, sugar glides, brolga, bilby, and emu. Creative ideas from the author and illustrator are included along with an illustrated map of Australia, internet resources, and music from “Over in Australia.”
— The Children’s Hour (tchliteracy.com) (October 2011)
I love koalas and it was great fun finding the Kookaburra on the koala page. I have kookaburras in my garden. I hope this charming book inspires you to protect and admire animals wherever you live.
— Deborah Tabart OAM, The Koala Woman, Australian Koala Foundation www.savethekoala.com
Australian animals ARE amazing, and this book makes it a pleasure to share them with young children. Creative illustrations, rhyming language, and informative text are a guaranteed recipe for engaging children with literature.
— Susan Elliott, Convenor, Australian Association for Environmental Education Early Childhood Special Interest Group
Travel down under with author Marianne Berkes and learn about animal babies native to Australia. Readers count to ten, while watching the babies snap, hop, munch, splash and more all across the outback. Readers also get to enjoy Marianne’s snappy sing song rhyming text:
Over in Australia / In a tree that reached to heaven
Lived a furry sugar glider / And her little joeys seven.
“Lap,” said the mother. / “We lap,” said the seven.
So they lapped on the sap / In a tree that reached to heaven.
Back matter includes a map to help readers find out what part of the country they would encounter each animal featured. It also includes more facts about the animals and tips from the author and illustrator. This book would make a great addition to any early elementary unit on Australia.
— Wild About Nature Blog – Kim Hutmacher (January 30, 2010)
In the land of Australia are animals most unique. There’s a book for young readers that gives them a rhyming peek.
Marianne Berkes, of Hobe Sound, Florida, and Jill Dubin, of Atlanta, have continued the series that includes Over in the Ocean, Over in the Jungle and Over in the Arctic. Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under showcases some of the most unusual animals in the world.
Have you tried to read to an active preschooler or early reader? They like active learning. Dubin’s book allows them to hop like wallabies, zig and zag with emus and munch with koalas.
Children will want to read this book at least twice. While reading the first time about ten wonderful creatures, they might miss the ten animals hidden throughout the pages.
They then may sing the story. Look at the back of the book to see how.
Other sections included for extended learning in their quieter moments or as they grow older and ready for more details about those “Amazing Animals Down Under.”
Over in Australia is produced by Dawn Publications. More information may be found about the book or author at www. dawnpub.com.
— Waycross Journal-Herald (February 15, 2011)
I thought Over in Australia was a very cool book. I really liked the illustrations; they look like they are made with lots of different paper.
This book would be good for kids who are learning to count. Each page has a number and you count the animals and look for a hidden animal. Kids can learn about counting and animals!
I think that kids from Australia would like to read Over in Australia. My favorite animal from the book is the koala bear. I never knew so many different baby animals were called “joeys” – I thought only kangaroo babies were called joeys.
— Kids Reader Views – Sophia McElroy (age 8) (February 2011)
“Over in Australia in a eucalyptus tree, lived a cuddly gray koala and her little joeys three.” A rhyming story with gorgeous collages takes you to the forests, grasslands and deserts of Australia. Ten different animals, plus a hidden animal in every collage.
— Travel For Kids (travelforkids.com) (March 2011)
Over in Australia is a delightful, beautifully illustrated new children’s book about some of the animals of Australia. . . . This book is written by Marianne Berkes, teacher, children’s theatre director and children’s librarian. The whimsical artwork in this book is done by Jill Dubin. She has put together collage art illustrations using the colors of Australia.
Mindful of the many ways in which this book may be used, author Berkes shares possible activities, a song with music, a glossary of terms and more information regarding Australian animals, as well as a location map. This book can easily transition from family reading enjoyment to classroom use.
The animals of Australia will appeal to all ages. They are unique as is their natural habitat. . . .
— Weatherford Daily News – Dee Ann Ray (February 5, 2011)