Curious Creatures, Wild Minds

Curious Creatures, Wild Minds

CBCA Book Week 2020

Taronga Education has teamed up with the Children’s Book Council of Australia NSW Branch for CBCA Book Week 2020. A range of shortlist authors and illustrators got up close and personal with some of Taronga Zoo curious creatures for CBCA's 2020 Book Week theme, Curious Creatures, Wild Minds.

Join these talented authors and illustrators on their wild journey around the zoo to meet some well known and not so well known species, as well as their amazing Keepers.

Bonus content.

Watch exclusive bonus footage from each of our segments!


with Sue Whiting

Author Sue Whiting, as one of the creatives at the zoo for our ‘Curious Creatures Wild Minds at Taronga’ program, visited some of the zoo’s most treasured monotremes—Annie the 24 year-old platypus, and Pitpa, their 32 year-old echidna. Sue was thrilled to see Annie asleep in her cosy burrow before she plunged into the stream for her breakfast, and was so excited to pat Pitpa! Sue’s narrative non-fiction book ‘Platypus’, was a 2016 CBCA Book of the Year Notable book, and is currently working on a book about echidnas—so she was able to check her curious facts with the zoo keeper while watching Pitpa devour her meal from a special maze-like plate that encourages her creative thinking!

Bonus bits: watch Meeting Monotremes with Sue Whiting as she meets Keeper Rob and Annie the Platypus for some extra content!

Dry to Dry: The Seasons of Kakadu

with Liz Anelli

It was inspiring to watch Liz Anelli at Taronga Zoo as part of our Curious Creatures, Wild Minds program. Liz is an accomplished and curious illustrator, having carried out extensive research for both her new book ‘Dry to Dry the seasons of Kakadu’ and ‘On Desert Lake’. She was sketching all day taking full advantage of being so close to the zoo’s beloved creatures. Her mission was particularly focused on the Koala, and she met Thunder! A rather boisterous male Koala. She wanted to really capture his fluffy ears, his scent gland, the way he moved so she could authentically describe all this with words and pictures in a book she is currently developing.

Student resource: download and complete the learning resource.

Bonus bits: watch some extra footage from Liz Anelli.


with Charmaine Ledden-Lewis

CBCA NSW Branch were thrilled to have Charmaine Ledden-Lewis at the zoo as part of our Curious Creatures, Wild Minds program. Charmaine won the 2019 Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award and has illustrated Bruce Pascoe’s first picture book ‘Found’, published by Magabala.

Charmaine was really keen to meet the giraffes, Jimiyu the 14 year-old male who she drew for us, and the female Kiti and her calf Ebo who reminded her of the strong connection between mother and child she depicted in ‘Found’. She had a great day meeting Touché the Eastern long-neck turtle, and the lively, cheeky Pygmy Marmoset, Lucia.

Student task: download and complete the student resource.

Bonus bits: watch some extra footage from Charmaine Ledden-Lewis.

Searching for Cicadas

with Lesley Gibbes

Spineless Superheroes!

Join Lesley Gibbes, author of Searching for Cicadas, shortlisted for the Eve Pownall Prize in the 2020 CBCA Book of the Year Awards, as she explores some overlooked ecosystem superheroes at the Zoo, INVERTEBRATES!

Already enthralled by the iconic call of Cicadas, the Taronga team introduced Lesley to a host of other invertebrates that all play key roles in the environment and are truly fascinating creatures.

Do you want to see cockroaches a little differently, or come face to face with one of the largest spider species in Australia? Then watch on, and remember to stay tuned during CBCA Book Week for a special feature with Lesley and Keeper Andrew, as she meets one of the most impressive insects of all, a Goliath Stick Insect, and lets her curious mind run wild!

Student task: get exploring outdoors with our student resource.

Bonus bits: watch some extra footage from Lesley Gibbes.

A Hollow is a Home

with Abbie Mitchell

Do you ever wonder what stories an old tree holds? 

Join us for the second episode of Curious Creatures, Wild Minds at Taronga Zoo, to celebrate CBCA Book Week 2020!

Meet Abbie Mitchell, a passionate environmental educator and author of A Hollow is a Home, shortlisted for CBCA Book of the Year, Eve Pownall Award. 

Find out more about the Children's Book Council of Australia and Book Week.

Student task: download and complete the student resources - information report and story of a tree.

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

with Sami Bayly

Do you ever spot an unusual animal and wonder why it has the strange features that it does?

Meet Sami Bayly, author and illustrator of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals, as she explores the Zoo and meets some unusual creatures along the way. 

Stay up to date with Sami, including the release of her new book, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals.

Student task: Create your own mini encyclopaedia of the Curious Creatures like Sami with our student resource.

Bonus bits: watch some extra footage from Sami Bayly.