The Koala Who Could was published in 2016 but never has its presence felt more needed than in these current times. We are living in a world full of change. It is essential that we support children in seeing the positives of change and show them that it is normal to be worried about change. As a primary school teacher I often hear children say, “I can’t do this or I can’t do that,” and would constantly challenge them with a more positive alternative, “I can’t do it yet,” or, “I can learn to do it.”
Meet Kevin, a cuddly Koala who is very much stuck in his ways. This isn’t a bad thing at all but what if a little bit of a change could lead to a richer and more rewarding life…
Kevin the Koala likes nothing better than sitting in his tree, in fact he is the King of staying still. He can be found spending his days relaxing in the sun, napping or eating a leaf-bun. Kevin doesn’t like change and always has an excuse for not coming out of his tree - his favourite phrase seems to be, “I can’t.” But there is a little part of Kevin that does want to be a bit braver though and he finds himself torn between adventure and the safety of his tree. When one day the choice to come out of the tree is decided for him he finds himself down on the ground where it is fast, loud, big and strange. But perhaps being down on the ground isn’t so bad after all…
The Koala Who Could is a lovely rhyming story that helps children understand that change doesn’t have to be scary. The book is a glorious bundle of positive messages about being brave, taking risks, trying new things and friendship. Kevin’s friends never give up on him, they are there when he needs them and they help him to see that change can be a good thing.
Along with the enjoyable prose are beautiful illustrations by Jim Field (the illustrator of the highly entertaining Rabbit & Bear series) and I adore the changing expressions on Kevin’s face. I love the more subtle references to Australia in the illustrations; from an echidna playing a didgeridoo to a jar of vegemite amongst Kevin’s possessions in his tree, to the kangaroo with the Aussie rules football to the wombat wearing a wide brimmed hat.
A book that deserves a place on every young child’s book shelf. In the words of Kevin the can-do Koala;
“Because life can be great
when you try something new!”
Recommended for 3+.