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Float or Sink? - Book Review

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by May Cross (subscribe)
I'm a writer, artist and keen photographer.
Published March 31st 2021
Humorous rhyming tale
A ladybird lands on a stick that is bob-bob-bobbing along an Aussie creek. She is joined by a colourful cast of curious creatures. The fate of the stick hangs in the balance as more and more hop on. Will it float or sink? That is the question. What do you think? This is an amusing rhyming story that will keep you guessing until the surprising end.

Float or Sink? Is a beautiful picture book by Kylie Covark and illustrated by Andrew Plant. It's another lovely publication from Ford Street Publishers. Its playful rhyming text is meant to be read aloud. The interactive tale invites the reader (and listener) to guess whether the stick will float or eventually sink. Just how long can it stay afloat?

Because of its read-out-loud nature, it is perfect for storytelling and sharing at home or at primary school. It has an added dimension of science. Kids can be introduced at an early age to the concepts of weight, density and flotation. It is suitable for children from about 3 to 7 years old.

Author: Kylie Covark
Kylie is an Adelaide-based children's author, poet and educator. She is an inaugural recipient of a mentorship through Raising Literacy Australia's "Emerging Author and illustrator Mentoring Project". She has also received awards for her manuscripts. Float or Swim? Is her first children's picture book.

Illustrator: Andrew Plant
Andrew is the author and illustrator of both picture books and educational books. Several of his books have been commended by Children's Book Council of Australia. He has been published in UK, NZ, USA and South Korea as well as Australia. He has presented sessions in schools and libraries around the world including France, China and Alice Springs. He paints murals for schools, libraries and museums. And if all that doesn't keep him busy, he is an accomplished set designer and builder for theatre. His previous books are Tulip and Brutus, The Poppy, Glitch and Pippa. Check them out.

ladybird, ladybug, float sink ford street book
Ladybug or Ladybird? (image by May Cross)

Ladybird or Ladybug?
I grew up calling the red and black spotted beetle a ladybird, which is also the preferred term in Britain. The Americans tend to call it a ladybug. Entomologists (those experts in insects) will tell you it is neither a bird nor a bug. They call that same insect a Coccinellidae beetle (not unlike cochineal which is a scale insect and the bright red food colouring that is made from their crushed dried bodies). Ladybird beetle or ladybeetle have been suggested as compromise alternative names but they both sound contrived and clunky to me. I'll stick with ladybird. Do you know or remember the traditional nursery rhyme from the United Kingdom (Scotland as early as the 1700s) called "Ladybird, Ladybird"? It starts:
Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are all gone.

A bit grim for kids don't you think?
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Why? fun storytelling
When: published 2021
Where: book shops and online
Cost: RRP $24.95 hardback and $16.95 paperback
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