Design-an-Alien Competition

When I saw author Adrian Beck and illustrator Heath McKenzie had a ‘Design-an-Alien Competition’ for their latest book The Alien Zoo…and You, I knew our three Year 4 classes would be up for the challenge!

The prize for the winner was to have their alien brought to life by Heath McKenzie and featured in Alien Zoo 2!! The challenge was on…

We looked at the alien creatures Adrian and Heath had already created in The Alien Zoo…and You. We talked about how we could mix up animals to create our own alien creatures for the Alien Zoo – what they could look like, how they could move, special features or characteristics etc and then everyone got to work designing their own alien creatures. 

The Year 4 students were excited to see some of their aliens feature in Adrian’s video updates of the entries he had received.

Adrian shares some entries with Lauren Phillips and Shane Crawford from Kids’ WB.

Adrian looks at more entries with author Felice Arena.

Today the winner of the Design-an-Alien Competition was announced by Adrian and Heath. They had over 300 entries from around Australia which made it an incredibly difficult decision to choose only one winner!

Congratulations from our Year 4 students to the winner, Will (from another school) for designing an awesome ‘Octorg’. We will look forward to seeing it in Alien Zoo 2

Thanks Adrian and Heath for your fun competition and encouraging so many kids to unleash their creativity!

Our visit from Kathryn Apel

Our library was excited to welcome author and poet Kathryn Apel for her visit on Monday, May 22nd.

However, four keen students met Kathryn the day before at her Poetry workshop at The Little Bookroom in Carlton where they had fun with 30 other children playing with words and exercising their creativity.


I was very excited to meet Kathryn who I’ve known on Twitter for some time. To celebrate the release of Kathryn’s latest verse novel Too Many Friends, I even managed to make a Ferris Wheel cake!

Kathryn spoke to our Year 3-6 classes. Each session with Kathryn was different and we discovered how important Kathryn’s family and her life on the farm are in helping to shape her writing. 

We also learnt a lot about getting stuck in the mud on the farm and how hard it is to get out!

We enjoyed learning how Kathryn writes her verse novels and were very impressed with her shape poems, especially ‘Duck Dad!’ She has given us lots of ideas for our own writing.

At the end of each session, Kathryn encouraged us to turn off our televisions and devices and be creative. Kathryn showed us lots of ways her sons had been creative over the years and students were amazed that one of her boys had made a chain mail top! When Kathryn returned to our library on Tuesday before school she had a wonderful surprise when two students popped in to show they had heard her message and been creative with boxes that night!

One of our Prep classes was very lucky to listen to Kathryn read her book This is the Mud! before she had to leave. This book is special to our library because Kathryn thoughtfully sent it to us when our library was damaged by flooding and now she has been to our library to read it!

Thank you Kat for showing us how to paint pictures with words and reminding us that playing with words and being creative is FUN!

How to Catch a Star by Year One

During Term Two, the Year One Classes read some books by author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers. You can also explore his website Oliver Jeffers World based on his books.

The first book the Year Ones read was called Imaginary Fred that Oliver Jeffers recently illustrated for Eoin Colfer. Who knew that so many Year One students had their very own imaginary friend! One boy even let his imaginary friend choose and scan his library book for him during one library lesson! The Year Ones had fun drawing and writing about either their own imaginary friend or creating an imaginary friend they would like.

The Hueys in the New Jumper written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers gave the Year Ones an opportunity to discuss that there are times we can be like everyone and times when we can be different. It’s okay to be an individual and not like everyone else! Lots of original jumpers were created by the Year Ones for their own Hueys…

The Year Ones’ imaginations were really sparked when we read How to Catch a Star as you can see from the many creative and clever ways they have thought of how to catch a star…

Fun with dinosaurs and chocolate icing

This term our Preps have been enjoying stories about dinosaurs and will soon be comparing picture books to information books. We loved reading I’m a Dirty Dinosaur and I’m a Hungry Dinosaur written by Janeen Brian and illustrated by Anne James. We loved the cheeky dinosaur and had lots of fun joining in and acting out the catchy rhymes as we read both books.

Thanks to Geraldine, Jo, Riley and Molly, we are also very lucky to have both of our books signed by Ann James with her special gold pen!

Ann illustrated I’m a Dirty Dinosaur using mud from the dam on her farm. It looks like a messy and fun way to illustrate! You definitely need to wear your gumboots…

Ann used chocolate icing and sprinkles to illustrate I’m a Hungry Dinosaur and Miss Y thought that might be fun to try in the LRC (minus the sprinkles because they might end up all over the LRC!)

Miss Y mixed up a very big bowl of chocolate icing and the fun began with three Prep classes in a row having 45 minute lessons to borrow, draw their dinosaur picture and then finger paint details with chocolate icing…who said that reading isn’t FUN!! 

Now the Preps are wondering if Janeen has planned another messy adventure for her dinosaur…

What other dinosaur adventures could Janeen write about in her next book?

What else could Ann use for her dinosaur illustrations?