book cover The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay
by Narelle Oliver

Picture book | 30pp | Years 24

Getting Started

Purchase Book
Please visit our new
online bookshop
to place order!


[ A Fair Go | Understanding, Tolerance and Inclusion | Doing your best |
Responding to text]

A Fair Go

Making sure that everyone has the same opportunities to achieve is very important to Australian culture. We call it 'having a fair go' or being on 'level playing field'.

  • How did the pelican ensure that each bird had a fair go to prove that its beak was the best?
  • How did the pelican's solution change the thinking and behaviour of the birds?
  • What does having 'a fair go' mean to you?
  • How should fairness be decided by an individual or a group?
  • Can ensuring a fair go be determined by luck, such as tossing a coin, or is it more than that?
  • Can something be considered a fair go if there are different rules for the different people or groups involved?
  • What is the difference between being right and being fair?
  • Is it possible to ensure that everyone has a fair go in every situation

Fair Go: Solving Conflict

Is there an issue in your class or school that is causing concern? Use this chart to identify:

  • what the problem is
  • where it occurs
  • when it occurs
  • why it occurs
  • who it affects
  • how it affects them

In small groups, discuss a possible solution that would be fair to everyone. Then share your solution with the rest of the class. Construct a PMI chart to identify the positives and negatives of each suggestion, and then use that to help you decide on a fair solution.

Understanding, Tolerance and Inclusion

Celebrating Differences
Although, on the surface, species like fish and birds and people might have the same physical characteristics, it is the differences between us that make us special. Understanding why there are differences between us helps us value the uniqueness of each person. Investigate what makes a bird a bird and list all the common characteristics in the left-hand column of Bird Business. On the right-hand side, list the differences you might see and suggest a reason for these.

Everything we learn and do helps makes us an individual. Consider what is special about you. On this chart make a list of all the characteristics that you share with the others in your class, and then list all the things that are unique. Remember to include those things that you know or can do that others cannot.

Think about something that makes (or has made) a big difference to your life. Complete this rhyme...

I've got something to offer
I am special, you see
I ______________________
That's what special about me.

Display your poem and your completed sheet on the wall and then create a challenge like this one for other students to complete by reading the information on the display. (Make sure there is a clue for each person so when it is complete, everyone's name is featured.)

Is there something you have done or somewhere you have been that no one else in the class has? How has this changed your life? Write an account of this experience and reflect on its impact on your life. How do you think it might influence your future?

Doing your best

All the birds in Boonaroo Bay wanted to be the best.

  • Why?
  • Is being the best important?
  • Is there a difference between being the best and doing your best?
  • Is it possible to do your best without being the best?
  • Is it possible to be the best without doing your best?
  • Is it okay to be the best?

Become a class expert. Be the person that others can consult when they need to know. Identify something that you know a lot about, are really interested in or something you can do really well.

What else would you like to know about that subject so you understand it better? Ask your teacher librarian to help you investigate them so you are really confident and competent about answering questions.

Make an A4 size poster advertising your particular expertise. Study lots of advertisements in newspapers or magazines and identify their key and common factors. List these so you can make sure you include them in your poster.

Make a class display of the posters so everyone knows who is the best person to ask when they need help or information.

Responding to text

Boonaroo Bay
Look at all the pictures throughout the book of Boonaroo Bay. Does it look like a place you know? What are the similarities? What are the differences? Boonaroo Bay is a mangrove swamp. Read about this type of environment here. Highlight the key words and phrases and list them. As a class, use the pictures in the book, the information and your imagination to construct a 3D mural of a mangrove swamp that demonstrates its diversity. Use the keywords and phrases to write captions to label your mural.

Birds and beaks
We can learn a lot about different birds just be examining their beaks. Find pictures of these birds and:

  • compare their beaks
  • determine what sort of food they might eat
  • where they might live to find this food

Choose one or two species and find out more about them. Were your predictions correct?

  • emu
  • wedge-tailed eagle
  • cockatoo
  • kookaburra
  • Tawny frogmouth
  • southern boobook
  • wattlebird
  • lyrebird

Food Chains
Investigate what is meant by the term 'food chain'. Look carefully at all the pictures in the book and identify every animal and plant you can see that might provide food for something else.

Sort them into these groups

  • Animal Kingdom
    • Protozoa
    • Coelenterates
    • Molluscs
    • Annelids
    • Arthropods
    • Echinoderms
    • Fish
    • Amphibians
    • Reptiles
    • Birds
    • Mammals
  • Plant Kingdom
    • Mosses, fungi and algae
    • Plants with spores
    • Plants with seeds

Identify one of the food chains that exist in the mangroves and complete the food chain chart. Select one of these habitats, identify the creatures and plants that live there and illustrate a food chain. Use the food chain chart. tree, rock pool, coral reef, your backyard, desert, polar region, rainforest, river

Are there any common elements that each creature needs to survive, no matter where they might be on the food chain? How does the food chain contribute to the health of the habitat?

Changes and Changing

  • Each of the birds in the story had a different-shaped beak to ensure that it would be able to catch the food it needed for survival. Are there any other differences that you can notice amongst them that might help them survive?
  • Over time, plants and creatures gradually change as the climate and environment change so they can continue to exist successfully. This is called evolution. Those who don't adapt, or whose environment changes too quickly, become extinct.
  • Choose an Australian plant or creature that is common to your area and investigate the features it has that allow it to survive there.
  • Choose an Australian plant or animal that is not seen in your area and investigate why it could not survive there.

Tongue Twisters

The title, The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay uses a technique known as alliteration. Sometimes, it is tricky to get your tongue around words that all start with the same letter and this is called a tongue twister.

Some common tongue twisters are:

Betty Botter had some butter,
'But,' she said, 'this butter's bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
it would make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter--
that would make my batter better.'
So she bought a bit of butter,
better than her bitter butter,
and she baked it in her batter,
and the batter was not bitter.
So 'twas better Betty Botter
bought a bit of better butter.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Round the rugged rock, the ragged rascal ran.

Find some other examples of tongue twisters or make up some for your friends to try. Challenge them to say each one five times, quickly.

© Curriculum Corporation 2006