5-8yrs, Lower Primary, Primary
AC Links/EYLFEYLF1, EYLF2, EYLF3, EYLF4, EYLF5, ACELT1575, ACELT1783, ACELT1580, ACELT1831, ACSSU002, ACSSU004
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- Bunya Mountains (SE Qld SG56-10)
- Environmental protection
- Natural history
- Rainforest animals
‘Leaf Tail’ was inspired by author/illustrator Narelle Oliver’s explorations in the rainforests of the Bunya Mountains National Park near Toowoomba, Queensland. It tells the story of a Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko finding his place in the rainforest.
The picture book is structured around a series of fictional encounters between Leaf Tail and other rainforest creatures: a bird, a pademelon, a frog and a bowerbird. After he emerges from his egg, Leaf Tail is swooped by an unnamed bird with a snapping beak. It is immediately clear to the reader that this is not a safe place for the gecko. As he moves through the rainforest looking for somewhere to hide, the reception from the other animals is far from welcoming. Leaf Tail is mocked for his ‘ridiculous mottled coat’, pitied for not being green and then shrieked at by bowerbird. It is not until he finds an old motley log where his coat blends in perfectly that he is free from hurt and harm.
‘Leaf Tail’ provides a fascinating introduction to a unique Australian species, the Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko, and flora and fauna found in Queensland’s tropical rainforests. The text is a combination of narrative, description and dialogue with plenty of action verbs which should be accessible to young readers. Each page features a distinctive, meticulously observed linocut in light green and black, featuring the animals and plants of the rainforest.
The foreword to the book highlights the importance of Australia’s rainforests. Detailed information about The Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko is provided in the back matter.
Narelle Oliver (b 1960 – d 2016) was an educator, committed environmentalist and award-winning children's author-illustrator. As an illustrator, Oliver combined linocut, watercolour, pastels, collage and digitally enhanced photographs in her work.
- Bunya Mountains National Park. Queensland Government. https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/bunya-mountains/about/culture
- Photos of Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko. iNaturalist. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/111970-Saltuarius-cornutus/browse_photos
- Bowerbirds. Bush Heritage Australia. https://www.bushheritage.org.au/species/bowerbirds
- How to Make Linocuts! by Gradually Greener. https://www.instructables.com/How-to-Make-Linocuts/
- Megan Daley talks with Narelle Oliver, 3 June 2013. ‘Ten Things You Need to Know about Narelle Oliver’. https://childrensbooksdaily.com/book_reviews/book-people-narelle-oliver/
- Book People: Vale Narelle Oliver. Tribute by Megan Daley, 5 October 2016. https://childrensbooksdaily.com/vale-narelle-oliver/