A is for Australian Animals: Learn About 38 Fascinating Creatures From Down Under

We always enjoy reading books about animals, and the latest addition to our home library had us armchair traveling all the way to the other side of the world to learn about some of the amazing creatures from down under. A is for Australian Animals is a fantastic picture book that uses each letter of the alphabet to introduce a collection of fascinating animals who are native to Australia.

Discover thirty-eight of the weird and wonderful creatures of Down Under — from the iconic kangaroo to the puzzling echidna; from the tiny crusader bug to the enormous saltwater crocodile; from the adorable quokka to the terrifying Tasmanian devil. Did you know that lyrebirds can mimic almost any sound? Or that an oblong turtle has the longest neck of any turtle in the world? Vibrant paintings and fascinating facts introduce readers to a wide array of incredible animals in this vivid celebration of the fauna that makes Australia unique. There are so many amazing animals to be found in Australia — and many of them are found nowhere else in the world.

Frané Lessac is the creator of Island Counting 1 2 3 and the illustrator of Pattan’s Pumpkin, Midnight, The Donkey of Gallipoli, and The Greatest Liar on Earth as well as many other books for young readers. She was born in the United States and lived on the Caribbean island of Montserrat and in London before moving to Australia, where she now makes her home.

A is for Australian Animals comes with a protective dust jacket and hardback exterior. Inside, are large pages with colorful illustrations that not only introduce the animals, but we also get a glimpse of what their natural habitat looks like. Before opening the book we tried to guess which animals we might find inside–those that we knew were native to Australia. Some of the more familiar creatures came to mind, such as the emu, kangaroo, koala, and platypus. As we perused through "E," "K," and "P," we were happy to see that these animals were included. Of course, there were plenty of new and interesting creatures that weren't as familiar to us, such as the Goanna, a large lizard (sometimes up to six feet long), and the only one that actually has a forked tongue. Then there was the Irukandji Jellyfish, one of the most venomous creatures in the world. Yikes! We also appreciated that some of the letters introduced more than one animal. For instance "K" included kangaroo, kookaburra, and koala. My son immediately recognized the kookaburra, since we have one at our local zoo who is also quite vocal.

Not only are there tons of illustrations to glance over and admire, but the book also contains plenty of interesting facts and information about each animal being showcased. We learned that lyrebirds are quite talented. They can mimic practically any type of sound including barking dogs, a running chainsaw, and even a camera shutter. A male lyrebird will court a female lyrebird by creating a dance floor out of a dirt mound, so that he can spread his tail feathers and shake and strut his stuff, all while singing at the same time. We also learned a little bit about dingos, and the amazing flexibility that they have where they can turn their heads all the way around in any direction without even moving their entire body.


A is for Australian Animals would make a wonderful educational resource for any type of zoology or Australia unit study. It's definitely one of those books that's going to spark further interest in learning, especially when it comes to finding out more about the amazing animals being featured on each page. After reading this, we immediately headed on over to the internet to see if we could find videos demonstrating the unique and interesting features of some of these creatures that we had learned about in the book.