Kiki the Homesick Koala by Max Lees Children’s Book Review
Do you want to teach your child to value home and new experiences, as well as learning why it’s always important to listen to mama? Kiki the Homesick Koala is a beautifully illustrated Australian picture book that teaches children the value of perseverance in the face of adversity, whilst detailing some of Australia’s most iconic native animals. It’s time to go on an adventure and you’re invited!
Childhood is all about the tension between staying safe and taking risks. It’s important that our kids know how to listen to us when we give directions, but also critical that they learn self-reliance when they push the boundaries. It’s a tough balance, and Kiki the Homesick Koala can help communicate the message to little readers!
Kiki decides to wander off on her own, despite her mother’s warnings to listen and stay close by. She soon discovers that she’s lost! It seems to be a scary place to be, but she finds friends everywhere she goes. Even though she isn’t sure how to get back, friendly animals assist her at every turn. It’s a great opportunity to discuss with young children how to find kind adults to help if they are ever in need.
As Kiki travels slowly back to her mama with the help of unexpected friends who look very different from her, she finds out that she’s much more brave, strong, and capable than she imagined. All kids make mistakes, and it’s important that they know that even when they make a wrong choice, they can always find the right path again.
The illustrations in this book are gorgeous! Kiki is just as adorable as a baby koala should be, and as she travels to different climates and meets new friends, we are taken there right along with her. When she meets an owl at night, the stars and moonlight almost seem to glow right off the page.
Though each new landscape looks different, including the desert, the beach, and more, she learns that animals thrive everywhere, and she has the courage to make it back to her mama. As you and your kids enjoy the illustrations and the bouncy rhymes, you can discuss what might happen when kids don’t listen, and how they can find their way back home.
Where Can I Find "Kiki the Homesick Koala?"
About the Author, Max Lees
“Max Lees is a banker from Melbourne, Australia with prior experience in law enforcement and teaching English as a second language. He has a passion for the English language and etymology. Max aims to both engage children and teach them valuable life lessons and morals through his writing.”
Rapid Fire with Max Lees
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Max: In 2018. I was living in Japan, and I was feeling really homesick and wanted a creative outlet. I looked into music and art but turned to what I was always good at using my words. So, I wrote a rhyme about an Australian animal that was homesick; it came out so easy because I was Kiki, and then I fell in love with writing children’s stories.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
Max: My family loves my writing! I was always the witty one growing up, writing little rhymes on birthday cards to make them laugh in a personal way. They’re always so supportive of my goals now that I’m trying to share this with the rest of the world, and I love them dearly.
Q. What do you think makes a good story?
Max: I personally believe that a great story has clever rhymes and a valuable moral to take away from the story. It’s okay if a child doesn’t take that away from the story on their own, as long as it invites reflection from a reader should they choose to do it or not; I think that’s important for a child’s self-growth.
Q. What advice do you have for writers?
Max: KEEP TRYING. It’s okay to hit a wall and not be sure where to go from there! There are massive communities of people to help and inspire you out there! They helped me so much. If you grow tired of working on something, take a break, try working on a different piece. You could show your work to a friend or family member for constructive feedback; you only get better by persisting at what you’re doing.
Q. What do you love most about the writing process?
Max: I love trying to structure sentences with varying words to make a rhyme just right so that it has a nice flow. It’s so satisfying when it comes together. It’s like a puzzle for me, the pieces exist, and I know it. It’s just fun trying to find them.
Q. Tell us about your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Max: I plan on continually building my published works. I already have another two stories written, with another two partway done. I’m even toying with the idea of making more Kiki the Homesick Koala stories and making her a series! So in 5 years, I would like to have at least as many books out and to be making an impact on children’s lives through my writing.
Q. What does your creative process look like?
Max: My style is somewhat whimsical in comparison to most writers. I stew on an idea or a message I want to get across. Then, I just start writing and see where my words take me. I will tend to write the story out in 1-3 days and then spend weeks continually editing it and changing things until I’m happy with it, even if it involves rewriting large chunks. It seems to help me having a skeleton to work off of.
Q. What do you love most about being an Author?
Max: I am new to calling myself an author, but I can already say that it is the most rewarding experience to have worked on something you’re passionate about for so long and to finally hold the tangible result of your hard work in your hand and not only that but to give people all around the world to benefit from it in some way too.
Q. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with your readers about?
Max: My next book I will be releasing is about children being afraid of monsters hiding in their closets, which isn’t so uncommon in reality. I hope to turn that idea on its head with my book I’m producing, showing that monsters can be great friends and that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Q. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Max: I hope children take away at least one of the few messages in my book. First, it’s important to listen to your parents! Secondly, Value where you come from and the experiences you gain when away from it, and last of all, when you face adversity, persist! You will overcome it.
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All in all, my family and I have really enjoyed this book and we know you will too! Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions about this review. I look forward to hearing from you!
* This book was kindly sent to me by Author, Max Lees in exchange for an honest review.