book cover Big Ned's Bushwalk
by Sofie Laguna and David Cox

Novel | 64 pp | Years 2–4

Getting Started


[ Overview | Author profile | Illustrator profile | Useful websites | Focus questions ]


Big Ned's Bushwalk tells the story of Ned, a thoughtful and quiet boy who lives in an energetic and outgoing family. His Mum, Dad and sister Sheila are all fitness fanatics involved in many sports and physical activities. They are worried because Ned is not like them. They do not understand Ned's lack of interest in sport and his fascination in studying the world around him, especially rocks and the weather.

In their misguided efforts to help Ned, they arrange for him to join a bushwalking expedition with his sister Sheila. Ned reluctantly goes along and feels isolated by the team leader and others in the group as they stride out at a brisk pace. Ned's keen eye for detail and interest in nature is shunned until a crisis looms and disaster unfolds. Ned uses his skills and expertise to find shelter and save the group from getting lost.

Sofie Laguna's short novel will amuse and entertain young independent readers. Many children will relate to Ned as he deals with his family's expectations of him. The comic style, black and white illustrations on every page extend the text by adding further details to support the reader. David Cox has effectively captured the expressions and actions of the characters with humour and sensitivity.

Author profile

Sofie Laguna lives in Melbourne and has worked as an actor and playwright, as well as being an author. Her first book was published in 2002 and her works include the picture books Bad Buster, Yellow Blanky and Too Loud Lily (which won an Honour Award from the Children's Book Council of Australia) and the novel Surviving Aunt Marsha. Sofie has many favourite children's authors, including Dr. Seuss, Quentin Blake, Ann James, Kerry Argent and Bob Graham.

Illustrator profile

David Cox was born in Goodiwindi in outback Queensland and grew up on sheep and cattle stations. After leaving school he worked as a stockman until he had saved enough money to go to London to study art at the age of 21. His first commission for illustrating a children's book was offered in his first year of study. After eight years living in England and Europe, David returned to Australia. He began working in the newspaper industry, contributing articles, book reviews and illustrations. David is married to a composer, Betty Beath, and they have worked together to write musical dramas for children. He now works as a freelance illustrator and writer from his home studio in Brisbane. He is known for his lively, comical illustrations and humorous portrayal of people and events. David has written and illustrated many books for children such as Shock Monday and Captain Me. He has won awards in Australia and the United States of America for his work.

Useful websites

Focus questions

Before reading the book

  • Which character on the front cover illustration do you think is Big Ned and why do you think he is called that?
  • What information from the cover illustration supports and extends the title of the book?
  • What do you think the blurb means when it says "In a world of high achievers, sometimes the quiet heroes are the most courageous…"? From the information provided in the blurb, predict possible events that may explain this quote.
  • What other books have the author and illustrator published? Use the library catalogue to find further examples.

During and after reading the book

  • What information is provided in the illustrations to help you compare Ned and his sister Sheila?
  • Why do you think Ned was so quiet?
  • Why did Ned's family think his interest in rocks and the weather was not important?
  • How did Ned's knowledge of the weather and rocks help save the bushwalking group?
  • What lessons do you think Bob Camp Leader may have learnt from his experience?

© Curriculum Corporation 2006