This is a suggested list of non-fiction books about Australian animals for the elementary and the secondary school. Please take the age levels as a rough guide.  Recommended by Kate Shepherd and Mandy Clarke 

Jeremy by Chris Faille & Danny Snell (illus) hb 9781921504402 $24.99 pb 9781921504501 $14.99
Narrative non-fiction. When a baby kookaburra falls from a nest high up in the palm tree, he is brought inside by the family cat. A little girl and her family keep him warm in a box with a hot water bottle, feeding him special food every four hours. He grows very quickly and we track his progress over the next six weeks as his feathers grow and he learns to fly. On the endpapers you’ll find lots of fascinating facts about kookaburras. (6-8 or 9 year olds) MC

How High can a Kangaroo Hop? by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley (illus) pb 9780732285449 $14.99
It is a non-fiction book but it looks like and sometimes reads like a novel. There is fascinating factual information. However the best parts of the book are Jackie’s own anecdotes about the kangaroos and wallabies she has lived with on her farm. There are even roo and wallaby jokes and finally details on a wide range of kangaroos and wallabies including details about habits and distribution maps. (9 – 14 years)

Secret World of Wombats by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley (illus) pb 9780207200311 $14.95
This is Jackie French’s personal account of her experiences of studying and living with wombats for over thirty years. An intriguing book which contains much fascinating factual information about the habits of wombats and many amusing stories about the many wild wombats she has got to know at her farm. ((9 - 14 years)

Australian Animals series (Macmillan Young Library) by Debbie Gallagher hb $22.99 each

Bilbies and Bandicoots 9781420282122
Devils and Dunnarts 9781420282139
Dragon Lizards and Geckoes 9781420282177
Echidnas and Platypuses 9781420282160
Possums and Gliders 9781420282146
Seahorses and Sea Dragons 9781420282153
Emus and Cassowaries 9781420264845
Goannas and Water Monitors 9781420264890
Malleefowl and Lyrebirds 9781420264876
Potoroos and Numbats 9781420264869
Quokkas and Quolls 9781420264852
Tree-kangaroos and Wallabies 9781420264883
This series is for younger children aged from 6 – 8 years. It focuses on Australian 12 species. It describes what they look like, where they live, the food they eat, their life cycles and the threats to their survival. There are maps, large photos and simple text. (6 – 8 years)

Lyrebird! A True Story by Jackie Kerin & Peter Gouldthorpe (illus) pb 9781921833045 $16.95
Set in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne around 1930, this narrative non-fiction tells the story of a remarkable friendship between Edith, an elderly gardener, and the cheeky young lyrebird she named James. Lyrebirds are great mimics and James’ repertoire included cats miaowing, dogs barking, the sound of wood being chopped, other birdsongs and human voices. He would visit Edith almost every day, singing and dancing. He became so famous people came to film and record his performances. Lyrebird facts are scattered throughout the book in the form of torn pages from Edith’s notebook. (7-9 years) MC

Life in a Rainforest: A Tree Top Walk by Rodney Martin big book 9781863747912 $44.95
Describes the features of a sub-tropical rainforest in northern Australia and some of the flora and fauna that may be seen during a walk that takes readers from the forest floor to the canopy. (Teacher Notes pb 9781863743853 $13.95) (6 – 10 years)

Topsy-Turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers by Kirsty Murray hb 9780642277497 $29.95
When the early explorers drew these strange Australian animals they were unable to draw them accurately, instead they were drawn reflecting the animals that were already known to them from their familiar European world. Consequently the kangaroos look more like large rats and the koala looks a bit like a monkey. Murray describes the encounters of the first explorers with some 15 animals. As well as the very early illustrations of these animals she also includes diary entries, descriptions of the circumstances in which the animals were seen and the reactions of the explorers to the animals and also to the way the animals tasted when cooked! For each animal there is a beautifully and accurately drawn illustration by a later artist. Also included is a page of factual information about each animal, its habitat and distribution. There is also a detailed list of all the illustrations and artists as well as a list and description of the early explorers and a glossary and an index. (9 – 15 years) KS

Nature Storybook series

Python by Christopher Cheng & Mark Jackson (illus) hb 9781921529603 $29.95
This narrative non-fiction picture book takes us into the world of the python, a non-venomous snake that lives in Africa, Asia and Australia. Accompanied by well-researched facts on every page, the story focuses on the mother python. We learn how she sheds her old skin as she grows bigger, how she feeds, and how she warms her body in the sun then coils herself around her eggs to incubate and protect them while they develop. (5-7 years) MC

Emu by Claire Saxby & Graham Byrne (illus) hb 9781922179708 $27.95
Unlike most birds, emus cannot fly so they build their nests on the ground. Once the eggs are laid, female emus have nothing more to do with the eggs. It is the male who sits on the granite-green eggs for about eight weeks, slowing his metabolism so that he seldom has to leave the nest for food or drink. Once hatched, Emu teaches the lovely striped chicks to forage for fruit, seeds and insects, protecting them from predators such as dingoes and eagles until they become independent at about 6 months old. The story is accompanied by information in a different text style, and the illustrations are excellent. (5-8 year olds) MC

Other titles in the Nature Storybooks series:

Big Red Kangaroo by Claire Saxby & Graham Byrne (illus) hb 9781921720420 $27.95
Bilby Secrets by Edel Wignell & Mark Jackson (illus) hb 9781921529320 $29.95 pb 9781922077042 $16.95
Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber & Brian Lovelock (illus) hb 9781921529665 $27.95 pb 9781925126266 $16.95
Platypus by Sue Whiting & Mark Jackson (illus) hb 9781922077448 $27.95

Koalas The Real Story by Dr Mark Norman pb 9781742031309 $16.99
Koalas are amazing animals and this book gives a very entertaining and informative description of them as well as many endearing photos showing them asleep in many poses. It also describes how they survive by eating gum leaves which would be toxic to most other creatures and how they reproduce.
(6 – 11 years) 

Have you Seen My Egg? by Penny Olsen & Rhonda N Garward (illus) pb 9780642277886 $17.99
The very realistic illustrations in this picture book are stunning and we see close-ups of Eddy’s head and his very piercing eyes as he asks echidna, magpie, lizard, frog and other Australian bush creatures if they have seen his missing egg, which is big and green. As the creatures reply, they describe their own eggs and a lift up flap reveals their eggs just hatching into the babies. The pages are large format in stiff glossy card. Additional information about each of the twelve creatures and how their young are hatched is included at the end of the book. (3 – 5 years) KS 

Deep in a Rainforest by Gwen Pascoe & Veronica Jeffries (illus) big book 9781863740944 $44.95 pb 9781863746113 $16.95
A beautifully illustrated picture book which shows the colour and beauty of the flora and fauna of the rainforest. (6 - 9 years)

Protecting Australian Wildlife series by Kate Schneider hb $31.95 each
Birds 9781420208986
Fish and Frogs 9781420208993
Mammals 9781420208962
Reptiles 9781420208979
This series explores the natural and human factors contributing to animals becoming endangered and the efforts made to save them. Each book introduces six endangered animals and provides information on appearance, life cycle, shelter and habitat and also distribution. (8 – 12 years)