In the latest installment of Roman’s (The Crew Goes Coconuts!, 2014, etc.) series—which previously examined India, France, Mexico and elsewhere—elementary age readers learn about the culture, geography and everyday lives of children in Australia.
This entry in Roman’s series opens with a map showing the shape of the country, an explanation of how it got its name, its location on the globe and the location of its capital city. Roman then mentions the major cities. From there, readers learn about things important to kids, e.g., what Australian kids call their parents—“You would call your mommy, ‘mummy’ (m-uh-mee) and your dad would answer to ‘daddy’ (Da-dee), just like in America.”—and what games they play: “cricket (crick-it), an outdoor game played on a large grass field with balls, bats, and two wickets (wick-its), which are posts that serve as goals.” Roman also describes tourist attractions, such as the Great Barrier Reef, and mentions that Australia’s currency is called the dollar, just like in the U.S. She even explains what a vegemite sandwich is—“dark brown vegetable paste [spread] onto white bread with some Western Star butter.” The story is lively and engaging, with pages of bright, colorful illustrations to help explain the text and make it more educational and appealing to kids. For instance, the page about Dad grilling on the “barbie” shows a father cooking shrimp and steaks. In past volumes, the glossary/pronunciation guide was located at the back of the book, but in this one, phonetic spellings are also sprinkled throughout the text—a distracting change, especially since some words, such as “daddy (Da-dee)” and “Jack (J-ae-k),” aren’t dramatically different in American English. Despite that, as with the other books in this enlightening and approachable series, this entry will help kids see the similarities and differences between their own lives and those of their peers around the world.
Kids will easily and enjoyably learn the basics about Australian life and culture.