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Koalas Eat Gum Leaves (Laura and Philip Bunting, Scholastic)

Koalas Eat Gum Leaves is a funny take on the one fact that every budding naturalist knows about Australia’s beloved marsupial: they eat gum leaves. ‘Gum leaves for breakfast. Gum leaves for lunch. Gum leaves for dinner. With no exceptions …’ Philip Bunting’s koala, a geometrically shaped creature with startled-looking eyes, seems pretty glum about eating gum leaves every day, even on his birthday. He has had enough of his monotonous diet and tries to find alternatives. Snails? Snakes? No way! But when he spies an ice-cream van, he’s immediately sold on the taste of its delicious treats. Now he has ice-cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Until, of course, he becomes ill from too much ice-cream. Laura Bunting’s story evokes Eric Carle’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and adults will be able to insert a message afterwards about the dangers of eating too much sugary food—should they choose to. The sparse text and soft pastel colours make this book suitable for toddlers, while Philip Bunting—who also authored Mopoke—keeps the illustrations clean and easy on the eye.

Thuy On is a freelance arts journalist and reviewer and the books editor of the Big Issue


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