This vibrantly illustrated morality tale tells us about kookaburra Kookoo’s development. A popular and funny but kind storyteller to begin with, he starts to make fun of his friends until he has alienated them and no one is listening to his stories anymore. Eventually he remembers Uncle Googaguga’s wise words and learns his lesson.
The kookaburra as the funny storyteller could be a starting point to observe and investigate birds and their sounds and behaviours more closely. Are kookaburras really laughing? What are they trying to “say”? How do birds communicate? You can encourage the children to close their eyes. Can they hear any birds? What do they think the birds they hear look like? Can they draw them? Can they spot the birds making the sounds? Do they look like they imagined them? What are the birds doing and what could they be “talking about”?
With older children, exploring the book’s language could also lead into some interesting discussions. The figurative language is beautiful: “The creatures who had once gathered like twinkling stars, now looked as if the clouds had dragged their sorrows over the sky.” This sentence uses words relating to the sky to describe the sad animals. How does this differ from scientists describing their observations? Can the children describe what they see in a poetic and in a scientific way? How do these descriptions differ? Why do we need different styles of talking about the world?
Uncle Googaguga says:
You have two eyes.
You have two ears.
You have one mouth.
Look and listen twice as much as you speak.
What does this mean? Is it more important to observe and to listen? How do you learn new things?
We hope you enjoy exploring the wisdom in these pages.
With our book recommendations, we want to spark an interest in children to discover STEM in their everyday lives. Most books go beyond the obvious STEM connections and can be a great starting point for exploring children’s questions and ideas further.
Learn more: Book a STEM workshop.
Article author: Kerstin Johnson
Content Editor & Resources Developer
With many years’ experience developing educational materials for print and online publishing, Kerstin aims to use her editing and writing skills to produce engaging and user-friendly content across all our platforms.