I See a Kookaburra!

By Steve Jenkins and Robin Page


Learn how these animals and many others grow and thrive in very different environments.


A big shout out to my colleagues at Winchelsea Primary School, Victoria.

This term we have been collaborating to plan and implement a Steve Jenkins Author Study. Steve writes and illustrates the most amazing, informative, and engaging non-fiction texts that are so rich you can plan learning experiences across the curriculum.


A HUGE thanks to Simone Wallace for providing the teaching ideas for this edition.


Implement hooks to engage:

  • Sketch a habitat you know about around you (e.g. Barwon River)
  • Camouflage – show a page of habitat and see if the kids can find the animals who are hiding (there is an ant hidden on each page).
  • View and listen to a kookaburra laugh HERE

Investigate letters and words by:

  • Finding the verbs in one of the habitats (sipping, leaving, bounding, creeping, sniffing)
  • Acting out the verbs – using a double page (g. in the desert, I see…a long-nosed bat sipping nectar from a flower) – take a video of you acting out this verb.
  • Finding other words for the verbs – synonyms – (‘g. a secretary bird, who kills snakes by stomping on them with its feet…) – what other words can we use for ‘stomping’?
  • Exploring -Why did Steve use a cassowary with a “helmet” with apostrophes? What does this make us think as a reader?

Deepen comprehension strategies by:

  • Predicting: Show an image of the habitat and get students to predict who might live there?
  • Activating Prior Knowledge: Predict the animals you might see in each habitat – desert, tide pool (rock pool), jungle, savanna, forest, pond – what do we already know?
  • Gathering Up the Facts: As the students read, view or listen to the text they stop and record facts. They can write down and add to a paper bag or record themselves saying the facts. The students can revisit their paper bag of facts to inform their factual writing.
  • Questioning: Use ‘Question Key’. Provide the students with an answer and they formulate questions.

          The answer is pond.  The question could be – Where does the snapping turtle bury itself?


Motivate writers by:

  • Writing like an expert – Steve uses precise language to inform. Make a list words as you plan your writing.
  • Mining Your Own Environment What kind of habitat is near you? Identify an animal to research and inform your audience.
  • Researching the technique of collage. Robin Page uses this technique to create the illustrations. Can you use this technique to publish your own writing?


Engage mathematicians by:

  • Looking at the jungle habitat. Count legs/arms (that have them) on the animals and create a table to show the difference between animals. E.g. A spider monkey has 4 legs and a harpy eagle has 2 legs
  • Adding the eyes (that you can see) together in each of the habits. Which habitat has the most eyes? How can you present your findings?
  • Choosing two animals and create a model to show the difference in size.
  • Selecting a habitat and survey your friends about their favourite animal from that habitat.

Explore beyond the book by:

  • Finding out more! Pick an animal from the text and research a little more about them. What did you find out? There is also lots of information at the back of the text for each animal.
  • Exploring a habitat near you Choose a habitat near you (Barwon River, Bushland, beach) and draw/sketch what it might look like. Could you even be inspired by the illustrator (Robin) and use different materials to make this?
  • Viewing images and videos of different habitats. Create a habitat 3D
  • Investigating the globe to find the locations in the book.

Check out this book on Booktopia

Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick