Mrs Echidna’s Dilemma by Betty Johnston reviewed by Jill Smith
Author: Betty Johnston
Publisher: Self Published
This is a delightful story that gives the children reading it, with their parents, a wonderful sensory experience. The story pages are raised cardboard designs to touch, the information about the native Australian animals fascinating for adults and children alike.
All this was born out of a simple request by Betty’s daughter who worked in the Early Childhood sector. She asked for finger puppets with native Australian animals, so that she could help the children increase their vocabulary with more than ‘farm’ animals (cow, horse, sheep) or ‘wild’ animals (lion, elephant, giraffe). The children loved them, so now she needed a story to go with them, naturally Betty obliged. Then her daughter requested she put in into a book. Instead Betty crafted a stunning embroidered quilt depicting ‘Mrs Echidna’s Dilemma’ that won ‘Viewers Choice First Prize’ at the Queensland Quilt Show in 2009.
The back of the book provides more for readers with the patterns and description of how to make the finger puppets of Echidna, Possum, Blue-tongued Lizard, Kookaburra, Kangaroo and Joey, Platypus and Galah.
The DVD on the last page invites children to ‘watch the DVD with your friends and act out the story with the puppets you’ve made.’
I bought this for my grand-daughters and will keep it as a special treat for when they visit. The story I can read to them now as two and three-year olds, the information about the animals will be something they explore as they get older. The puppets I plan to make with them when we can all sit and watch the DVD and have some fun with the puppets.