Book review: Mamie by Tania McCartney
Where do I start with this beautiful illustrated story about the childhood of Australia’s sweetheart, May Gibbs (aka Mamie)!
Tania McCartney has brought the little girl ‘Mamie’ to life in this book filled with references to May Gibbs’ original stories and illustrations.
I highly recommend this book for homes and schools that want to encourage a creative culture for two main reasons. Firstly, this book gives children access to the history of an iconic Australian artist and author, which is great for English, history and Art subjects, in a way that children will enjoy. Secondly, the book describes Gibbs’ inspirational creative way of seeing the world. She spends plenty of time playing in nature, using her imagination and practicing her artistic skills. We get to see Mamie sing, draw, paint, dance, play, bake, sew, explore, observe, imagine and dream. These words and images will make the creative types feel like they’ve made a new, kindred friend.
An adorable, whimsy tale of an inspirational Australian child.
To extend the learning from this book you could:
- Read a May Gibbs book and discuss the similarities and references in Mamie.
- Explore the other wonderful Australian works by Tania McCartney.
- Find some gum blossoms and leaves to paint or draw. Perhaps you could turn some of your illustrations into characters.
- Visit the original home of Mamie, May Gibbs’ Nutcote.
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I think most educators would agree that excursions are a fantastic and fun learning experience. We try to visit the city centre of Sydney, NSW a few times each year and explore all the wonderful things there are to experience and learn from. I think the following activities are worth the time/money and can easily be linked to learning outcomes. This list includes places and activities we have visited as well as suggestions from other educators that we are yet to visit but plan to! Park the car, put on your most comfortable shoes, grab your Opal card and explore! You could also pack a small art diary and some sketching pencils!
You might like to read my post about talking with children about art too.
I have also added cost indicators from Free, $, $$, $$$ to help. I have done my best to make sure this information is up to date and accurate at the time of posting but you will need to do your own research and planning as these things can change any time.
- Powerhouse Museum – You can spend hours here and there is so much on offer for science, technology, history and art. $
- Art Gallery of NSW – Fantastic for art, history and geography. Free – $$
- The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – Great for science, geography and history. Free
- Chinese Garden of Friendship – Great for history and geography. $
- Australian National Maritime Museum – Amazing for history, science, technology, geography and often art. I think its worth paying the extra to get on board the ships as they are fantastic. Talk to the guides on the ships too as they are full of great information. Free – $$$
- Chinatown – great for geography and history.
- Sydney Aquarium – Great for science and geography $$$
- Wildlife Sydney – Great for science and geography $$$
- Darling Harbour playground – great for fun with lots of interactive play. Free
- Museum of Contemporary Art – See what programs are currently on offer to suit children and families. Free – $
- Sydney Opera House – Amazing for music, art, drama, dance and history. It’s free to visit, which in itself is a wonderful experience, but it is definitely worth looking out for a moderate cost family friendly show often on in the school holidays. Free – $$$
- Sydney Observatory – Great for science, history and geography. Its free to visit but the tour costs a little. The planetarium often travels to libraries in other towns and is an excellent experience. Free – $
- May Gibbs’ Nutcote – Home and gardens of May Gibbs, now museum. Fantastic for English, history and art. $
- Pylon Lookout, Sydney Harbour Bridge – Great for history, geography and science. $$
- Public Transport, especially ferries – Great for science, technology and geography. The ferry is a great way to view the architecture and landscape of the harbour as well. Get the cheap Sunday rates. $$
- Barangaroo Reserve – wonderful for history, art, geography and science. Free
- Taronga Zoo – great for science, geography and history. $$$
- Cockatoo Island – Great for history. $$
- Wendy’s Secret Garden – lovely for art, history and geography. (Wendy is the wife of the late artist Brett Whiteley). Free
- ABC Studios tour – $$ cost but needs to be organised in advance
- Australian Museum – Great for science, history, geography and art. $$
- The Rocks walking tour – Free app
- Vivid Sydney – Annual light exhibition
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