Bush Ballads, Billabongs and Bullfrogs

  • Published on November 6, 2020

Bush Ballads, Billabongs and Bullfrogs

A couple of weeks ago, I announced the publication of a new anthology of Bedtime Ballads and Tall Tales from the Australian Bush, Tell ‘Em They’re Dreaming, in which I am delighted to have a ballad of my own included.

The anthology was launched online on Facebook last Sunday 1 November with many of the authors reading their stories in the Share Your Story Facebook Group, which you are welcome to join. You may scroll through the posts and listen to many of the stories there.

Once Upon a Billabong video

My story Once Upon a Billabong tells of a big bully bullfrog who enjoys being mean and doesn’t allow anyone else to live in his billabong. But things don’t always work out the way we plan, and certainly not for the bully bullfrog who is soon looking for a home himself. To find out what happens, listen to me read the story in this video, or perhaps you’d like to read along with me. I hope you enjoy it.

(In case you’re wondering, I bought a frog onesie especially for the launch and still decided to wear it when we had to go online. It doesn’t work as well in the video as I’d hoped. I’m not really trying to hide. 😊)

You can watch it on YouTube or right here on readilearn.

Sales of the anthology help to raise funds for the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Tell 'em They're Dreaming - an anthology of bush ballads and tales

The book can be purchased from Amazon, and other online bookstores and selected bookshops.

It has already reached #1 Best Seller on Amazon.

Amazon Best Seller - Tell .Em They're Dreaming Anthology

Once Upon a Billabong links to the curriculum

Once Upon a Billabong is mainly about the importance of being kind to others, but also has an underlying environmental theme. It can also be incorporated into a poetry unit. It is a rhyming ballad (narrative poem that tells a story) in the Australian tradition.

Links to other readilearn resources

Here at readilearn, we have other bullfrog-themed lessons ready for you to teach with supporting activities to use in conjunction with your Once Upon a Billabong experience.

Bullfrog's Billabong - a repetitive, cumulative story that introduces maths concepts of counting and days of the week

Bullfrog’s Billabong estory

teach reading strategies with this covered cloze activity, a lesson ready to use on the interactive whiteboard

Bullfrog’s Billabong covered cloze

A week's reading instruction with Bullfrog's Billabong

A week’s reading instruction with Bullfrog’s Billabong

supporting beginning readers a lesson ready to teach with Bullfrog's Billabong story

Supporting beginning readers with Bullfrog’s Billabong

Bullfrog's Billabong themed days of the week and suggested activities

Bullfrog’s Billabong — Days of the week

Bullfrog's Billabong presented as a play - great for guided reading and performance

Bullfrog’s Billabong — The play

Cut outs of the characters in Bullfrog's Billabong story to use as puppets or masks for performing the play or retelling the story

Bullfrog’s Billabong — Character cut-outs

character cards

Bullfrog’s Billabong — Character cards

a printable booklet version of the story Bullfrog's Billabong - print for reading by individuals or in small groups, place a copy in the reading corner, or give children a copy to take home and read

Bullfrog’s Billabong — a printable booklet

readilearn teaching resources for the first three years of school

While you’re here, remember to check out the complete readilearn collection of

over 440 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.


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    Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Chelsea. I’m pleased you enjoyed it. 🙂

    I did! I want to record or do Five at the Mic since I’m loving watching all of you, but I also love the accents (which I do not have! ).

    😅😂 Well, you just have to record and let the rest of us be the judge of that, Chelsea.

    Congratulations! I really love your story — it flows so beautifully and has an important message. Kids will be sitting on the edges of their seats listening. And you have some great printable activities. What fun! It was strange for me to hear your voice for the first time. And, I loved your frog onesie. Had to chuckle because in the U.S. a onesie is a one-piece t-shirt for babies that snaps between the legs. Sounds like a onesie is a costume?

    Thank you, Patricia. I really appreciate your generous words. It is strange when we hear each others’ voices for the first time, isn’t it? They are rarely how we imagine them. A onesie is exactly what you describe here too, but recently they’ve hit the market as comfort (and even going out) wear for cooler days. There are many different novelty onesies available in all sorts of sizes and authors often use them as costuming for their author talks. They are inexpensive and easy. I guess the designers figured why should only babies have all the fun. 😂 And they probably thought there were enough ‘silly’ adults to make it profitable.

    Thanks so much, Jim. Someone reading in a froggy costume is something you won’t see every day, eh?

    Thanks so much, Marsha. It was fun to write the ballad. I had to spend a bit of time working on the rhythm and the rhyme. I was quite happy with most of it when I submitted it, and obviously, the judges were too. 😊

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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