CBCA Book Week 2021
Available Term 3 – In-school & online
In case you are concerned about our performers travelling interstate, we wanted to make it clear that we have four teams of performers on this tour:
- Two teams are Sydney based and will only tour in NSW & ACT
- One team is Brisbane based and will only tour in QLD
- One team is Melbourne based and will tour in VIC, SA & TAS
Note: our VIC tour has been rescheduled to Term 4 – if you are interested in a booking please get in touch
Curriculum Areas: English; Critical & Creative Thinking; Arts
Picture Book adaptation – Prep to Grade 6
Younger Readers adaptation – Grades 3 to 7
Teacher resource pack included
Session length: 1 hour including Q&A
Online option available – see the details at the bottom of the page
About the shows:
Each year, in celebration of Book Week, we adapt two books shortlisted by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) for the Book of The Year Awards
We choose one book from the Picture Book category & one book from the Younger Readers Chapter Book category and create two 40-minute musical productions including original songs and puppetry.
As far as we’re aware, we’re the only company adapting both a picture book and a younger readers chapter book each year; therefore, ensuring age appropriate performances for all students.
We also support Australian authors by paying royalties for every child that attends a performance of one of our adaptations
The chosen books are announced in May; however, with most schools rebooking year after year, the tour starts to sell out from the previous Book Week so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment!
Includes a teacher resource pack and a targeted, structured question time with the performers which explores the themes of the books and performances and also supports Inquiry learning as we discuss how the shows were produced and how the puppets and props were made.
See a little bit of what we’re on about:
This year we are delighted to adapt the following books:
Your Birthday was the BEST! by Maggie Hutchings, illustrated by Felicita Sala
From the author of the best-selling Mermaid! and Unicorn! and one of the world’s hottest new picture-book illustrators comes the story of a plucky young cockroach who gate-crashes a birthday party – with hilarious results. Funny, silly and surprisingly cute, Your Birthday Was the BEST! is the perfect blend of downright gross and delightfully entertaining.
It’s an uplifting story with an insect protagonist that always looks on the bright side of life. Our adaptation will focus on the themes of resilience and rising to challenges.
Aster’s Good, Right Things by Kate Gordon
Aster attends a school for gifted kids, but she doesn’t think she’s special at all. If she was, her mother wouldn’t have left. Each day Aster must do a good, right thing—a challenge she sets herself, to make someone else’s life better. Nobody can know about her ‘things’, because then they won’t count. And if she doesn’t do them, she’s sure everything will go wrong. Then she meets Xavier. He has his own kind of special missions to make life better. When they do these missions together, Aster feels free, but if she stops doing her good, right things will everything fall apart?
Review from The Book Muse https://ashleighmeikle.com.au/2020/11/01/asters-good-right-things-by-kate-gordon/
Kate Gordon’s latest book is a beautiful #OwnVoices story about anxiety and depression, told through the eyes of Aster, who has anxiety, and Xavier, who struggles with anxiety and depression. A beautiful friendship forms between Aster and Xavier through his pet rabbit. Xavier teaches Aster about his depression and friendship, and what it means to have a friend. She comes out of her shell and connects with Xavier.
The book tackles issues that are tough, but relevant to children such as parental separation, mental health, friendship and fostering, and uses diverse characters to tell an evocative and touching story.
Aster’s Good, Right Things is a beautiful book which will become a useful resource to talk with children about mental health, family break up and foster caring in a safe and secure way. We’re all feeling a little anxious and uncertain at the moment, as well as isolated to varying degrees, and I think this book is coming at just the right time.
We include a structured and informative Q&A session which supports the school’s delivery of the Critical and Creative Thinking curriculum. We discuss the themes raised in the show and support Inquiry Learning by discussing how we made the set, puppets, music, etc.
“Was great how it was run by you and not just the kids asking random questions. (10/10)” – Bargara State School, Bargara QLD
If it’s not possible for you to host a performance we have another option. Each year we prepare a professional recording of both adaptations.
How it works:
We’ll make the professional recording available for the whole of Book Week so you can watch it whenever, and however often, you like during that week. If you’d prefer access in a different week, let us know and we can arrange it. The link is sharable with individual classes or students so you can watch the show in the way that works best for you.
A pre-recorded Q&A will be attached to each performance, along with a Teacher Resource Pack. The Q&A includes questions with the performers and the creative team and we’ll supply it as a separate link so you can refer to it whenever you want.
$8.80 (exc. GST) per student.
Please note there is a minimum fee of $880 (exc. GST) for up to 100 students
Pricing is based on a fee of $85 inc. GST per class. This assumes there are approx. 25 students per class so if your school has smaller class sizes let us know and we’ll work out a price with you. When you enquire please indicate the number of students and the number of classes you wish to book for.
Previous Picture Book adaptations:
Adaptations from 2001 to 2014 were adapted and performed by Tony Bones Entertainment before the company rebranded to Meerkat Productions.
2021 | YOUR BIRTHDAY WAS THE BEST! | Maggie Hutchings & Felicita Sala
“Great links to theme of being brave and a good amount of silliness for the kids to enjoy!” - Dayboro State School, QLD
“I loved how the final song really brought home the theme of the performance... I also loved the attention to detail and how all parts of the performance were inspired by the illustrations.” - Ryan Catholic College, Kirwan QLD
“Made a connection to real problems that children are dealing with.” - Holy Cross School, Trinity Park QLD
2020 | THREE | Stephen Michael King
“Lots of energy. Content is appropriate and multimodal. Very enjoyable and engaging. Students and staff thoroughly enjoyed the show.” - St William's Grovely Catholic Primary School, QLD
“The cast were very enthusiastic and the story had a great message.” – Dayboro State School, QLD
"The puppetry and the interpretation of the story, the message of 'it's ok to be different'. I also enjoyed the audience participation as well as the musical insert to the play." – Conargo Public School, NSW
2019 | ROOM ON OUR ROCK | Kate & Jol Temple | Terri Rose Baynton
“Love the natural involvement of the children in the production.” – Canberra Grammar ELC, Red Hill ACT
“Interesting to kids of all ages.” – Emmanuel College, Ballina NSW
“Loved it. Very entertaining and captured the message within the book.” – St Stephens College, Coomera QLD
“The students were able to gain the emotions of the story through your interpretation with believable characters.” – Binda Public School, Binda NSW
“A great balance between story and audience participation.” – King’s Baptist Grammar School, Wynn Vale SA
2018 | BOY | Phil Cummings & Shane DeVries
“An intelligent adaptation.” – Virginia Primary School, VIC
“Great use of mixed medium. Puppet
was clever for Boy.” – Mackay Regional Council, QLD
“Fantastic connections to text.” – Dayboro State School, QLD
“The strong messages were highlighted around social behaviour.” – St Catherine’s School, VIC
“Interactive nature – fabulous!” – St Monica’s, Evatt ACT
2017 Gary | Leila Rudge
“Sympathetic handling of the book’s message.” - Newmarket State School, QLD
“Imaginative production.” - Gayndah State School, QLD
2016 | Mr Huff | Anna Walker
St Columba Anglican School, Port Macquarie, NSW
"Excellent opportunities for all children to participate."
"Age appropriate to help embed learning how to manage emotions."
St Stephen's College, Upper Coomera, QLD
"I have one particular student who often experiences 'the huffs'. You made his day. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!"
Gayndah State School, QLD
"Absolutely fabulous!! Thank you. Super message - great lesson in life."
St Oliver Plunkett School, Cannon Hill, QLD
"It truly was the best shortlisted book performance I have ever seen."
Iona Public School, Woodville, NSW
"The interpretation of the book was fantastic and presented at a level that engaged all students, Prep to Grade 6."
Lightning Reef Primary School, VIC
2015 | The Stone Lion | Margaret Wild | Ritva Voutila
“Delightful” - The Advertiser
“a perfect theatrical experience” - Play & Go
“Fits of laughter...Entertaining...Engaging” - Weekend Notes
“Brilliant performance. Great props Elizabeth. One of the best performances / props we’ve seen.”
Moama Anglican Grammar, Moama NSW
“Students engaged with the different characters and took away with them a powerful message.”
Caulfield Primary School, Caulfield South, VIC
2014 | The Windy Farm | Doug MacLeod | Craig Smith
St Joseph's School, Rosebery, TAS
"Fantastic show, great involvement of the students and catered to the full breadth of students from Playgroup to Grade 6. I felt inspired to get the kids making puppets back at school."
Pyalong Neighbourhood House, VIC
"The performance was excellent! A very topical theme. Children liked it. Liked the theme of resilience and we can overcome any problems with Grandpa saying "Never Mind". Enjoyed the renewable energy theme and the explanation via diagram and song about power, coal, C02!! Top work!!"
Sacred Heart Primary School Coolah, NSW
2013 | Herman and Rosie | Gus Gordon
Highfields PS, Lindfield NSW
"A great performance! Loved the combination of puppets, singing, dancing and acting. Very entertaining and engaging. The students from Primary School all took something away. All the little nuances in Herman and Rosie were explored. One student asked a question about the sets and it was fabulous seeing how lots of the props and sets were made."
Caroline Chisholm College, Chisholm ACT
2012 | No Bears | Meg McKinlay
Harrison School, Harrison, ACT
"So impressed by the whole performance. Loved the way that it was also designed to inspire the students and teachers to use books in other ways. [The students] couldn't stop talking about it afterwards and loved all the funny bits."
St Columba Anglican School, Port Macquarie, NSW
2011 | Two Peas in a Pod | Chris McKimmie
Queenwood Junior School Medway Library, Mosman, NSW
“All the staff commented that they wanted to re-read it and find all the things they hadn’t noticed and only discovered through your performance. It is a great way for the kids (and teachers!) to learn how to delve into a story and discover the writers intentions and at the same time have fun.”
Pleasant Street P.S., Ballarat, VIC
2010 | Schumann the Shoeman | John Danalis
Kersbrook Primary School, Kersbrook, SA
“The themes of Schumann the Shoeman are quite complex. The finale, with the celebration of Schumann's life, and the songs about following your dreams and being unique, really helped explain them at a child level."
East Maitland Public School, East Maitland, NSW
2009 | Nobody Owns the Moon | Tohby Riddle
“We thought the deep message of the book was a bit beyond the understanding of our kinders when we read it to them. However the play helped convey things more obviously. It was great to see the kids get into reading with a book coming alive.”
Duffy Primary School, ACT
“It's wonderful! Funny, moving and really entertaining. I so appreciate how you "get" my books and pick up on details others might miss. Congratulations to you and your actors. I thought the actors were really good - funny and lively and kid-friendly - and I was impressed with your various solutions for staging: loved the dancing bear, the lights, the dress-circle seating for Humphrey and Clive during the 'play', and the factory scene. I also appreciated that you picked up on things like the Latin phrase and Walt Whitman's poetry - nice touches... Cheers, Tohby.”
Tohby Riddle, Author & illustrator of "Nobody Owns the Moon"
2008 | The Night Garden | Elise Hurst
St Joseph's School, Benalla, VIC
“10/10 Congrats! An excellent production."
Donvale Primary School, VIC
2007 | Water Witcher | Jan Ormerod
Frankston Library, VIC
"Great way to bring the book alive. A lesson in history, literacy and drama. So practical... Discussion afterwards was valuable – just planned my literacy and art lesson for Wednesday... Fantastic show – very educational and enjoyable.”
Glen Katherine Primary School, Eltham, VIC
2006 | Irving The Magician | Tohby Riddle
Dromana Primary School, VIC
"Fabulous, really inspired the children to act using books and things in the environment... a top production."
Maranatha Christian College, VIC
"You've done it again! I really enjoyed it - so did my wife, who watched it with me. The script, the songs and the performances were good and funny. And I liked the way you handled the ideas in the book - keeping a nice balance between lively, witty entertainment and sometimes more reflective narrative and meanings in the book. It must have been a challenge, but I think you nailed it and I thought the result was a rich piece of children's theatre. I also appreciated your presentation of the ideas underpinning the book at the end of the show. Very clear and insightful. It was an education for me too. You're doing a great job - I hope it's all going well for you... Best wishes, Tohby Riddle."
Tohby Riddle - Author & Illustrator "Irving the Magician"
2005 | At The Beach - Postcards From Crabby Spit | Roland Harvey
St Peter Apostle School, Hoppers Crossing, VIC
"More than just an excellent show of entertainment. The discussion of the book and themes gave teachers and children an extended appreciation of the book."
Watsonia Heights PS, VIC
2004 | Milli, Jack & the Dancing Cat | Stephen Michael King
The Peninsula School, VIC
“Thanks for an enjoyable and worthwhile learning experience.”
St Jude PS, Scoresby, VIC
"Best part is that the students have extra enthusiasm to borrow from the library."
Glenroy Specialist School, VIC
2003 | Bear & Chook | Lisa Shanahan
Watsonia Heights PS, VIC
"Great performance once again. Singing was exceptionally good this year. Props were cleverly done... Engaged the children so well. It was great to see them laughing spontaneously... Thanks for an excellent show."
Maranatha Christian College, VIC
"I love seeing children improvise play and this was a great model for this."
Hughesdale PS, VIC
2002 | Horrible Harriet | Leigh Hobbs
Warranwood PS, VIC
"Absolutely Fantastic!! Your performance was not only thoroughly educational - in that children were exposed to the reasons underlying bullying behaviour and how to respond to bullies - but also extremely entertaining from start to finish."
Maranatha School - Doveton Campus, VIC
2001 | The Singing Hat | Tohby Riddle
Tohby Riddle - Author of 'The Singing Hat'
"Yours was the most talked about show of the programme. Everybody commented on it on their way out about how good it was."
Children's Book Council Of Australia - 2001 Victorian Launch of Book Week
Previous Younger Reader chapter book adaptations:
Adaptations from 2000 to 2014 were adapted and performed by Tony Bones Entertainment before the company rebranded to Meerkat Productions.
Aster's Good, Right Things | Kate Gordon
“Discussing depression and other mental health issues is extremely important for students this age… raised important issues in a respectful manner.” – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Darra QLD
“Characterisation was great, direction spot on, energy of performing was fabulous. Great emotions.” – Guardian Angels, Wynnum QLD
The Little Wave | Pip Harry
“The performers were very talented. I enjoyed the inclusion of song and humor. It highlighted how stories can be brought to life through drama and music. It also involved the inclusion of the students.” – St Joseph’s PS, Cairns QLD
“The performance was suited for the older students. The serious issues were made comical at times but the message still came across.” – St. Mary's Catholic Primary School, Rockhampton QLD
The Peacock Detectives | Carly Nugent
“It was funny, engaging, dramatic, great props, clever!” – Harrison School, Harrison ACT
“Excellent (10/10)” – Dayboro State School, Dayboro QLD
“Loved the characters and themes explored.” - Summerland Christian College, Goonellabah NSW
“It hit many themes which allowed the students to identify these easily.” – Our Lady Queen of the Peace, Greystanes NSW
“Beautifully presented. Drama was wonderfully acted.” – St Peter’s, Clayton VIC
“Relevant to our students.” – Harris Fields, Woodridge QLD
The Elephant | Peter Carnavas
“sensitively handled.” – St James, Vermont VIC
“Great use of the space, humour and dialogue. It told the story in a thoughtful and inclusive way.” – Harrison School, ACT
“Characters were beautifully presented.” – Queenwood School For Girls, NSW
Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade | Kate & Jol Temple
“Interactive and engaging.” - Echuca East Primary School, VIC
“Great show, very funny. Great adaptation of the book.” - Good Shepherd Lutheran Primary School, Croydon Hills, VIC
Run, Pip, Run | J.C. Jones
"I thought the comedy was on point. Their acting was outstanding, amazing voices and talent."
"My favourite part of the incredible show is the puppets...The show can be improved by NOTHING because it was perfect."
"The movement throughout the room was incredible. Every student had their attention fixed the entire time. The Q&A session where the kids got to ask questions was excellent. I liked pulling out some of the positive themes of friendship, etc."
St Michaels PS, North Melbourne, VIC
"Just a quick thank you for a wonderful performance of Run, Pip, Run yesterday. Debbie and Luke were terrific and the kids were so engaged and asked a heap of questions. Well done!"
J.C. Jones, Author of Run, Pip, Run
"It was tremendously well done and how you got so much detail into 45 minutes is just amazing. The two musical pieces were a terrific addition."
Allen & Unwin, Publisher of Run, Pip, Run
"The puppetry was excellent. Clever use of space. Great interaction with the audience and getting them involved."
Morang South PS, VIC
"Audience were very engaged. Actors very professional and entertaining. Faces of children said it all.
Siena PS, Sippy Downs, QLD
"I liked how you had different focus areas so the children were looking in all directions."
Al Sadiq College, Greenacre, NSW
The Simple Things | Bill Condon
Goulburn Valley Grammar School, Shepparton VIC
“I could not have hoped for a better adaptation of my book. I’ve had several plays produced and another of my books adapted for stage, but none have come anywhere near the high standard I witnessed today. I think it was far more entertaining than many plays I’ve seen at city venues. I’m not saying that just because it was based on my book, but because of the acting, direction - the whole package.”
Bill Condon, author of The Simple Things
2014 | My Life as an Alphabet | Barry Jonsberg
Kyneton PS, VIC
"Wonderful, thoughtful, engaging and stimulating visual performance that did not shy away from the sensitive issues in the text but balanced the performance (in common with the style of the book) with alternating sad, bitter sweet moments and hilarity."
Wattle Park Primary School, VIC
2013 | Other Brother | Simon French
Camelot Rise PS, Glen Waverley VIC
"A very original and entertaining performance. All kids were fully engaged throughout the entire performance. We all thought it was a very unique and highly engaging way to tell a story with a message! Well done!"
Woodport Public School, Erina NSW
2012 | Bungawitta | Emily Rodda
St Monica's Primary School, Evatt, ACT
“Primary students watched amazing drama on the Book Week story, “Bungawitta”, set in outback Australia. This story showed how kids can achieve so much.”
Forster Primary School, Forster, NSW
2011 | Duck for a Day | Meg McKinlay
Camberwell South PS, Camberwell, VIC
“A genuine career highlight... watching it made me a bit teary.”
Meg McKinlay, Author “Duck for a Day”
“Fabulous performance! The students loved the characters, the puppetry and the songs! Mrs Melvino was outrageous.”
St Patrick's PS, North Parramatta, NSW
2010 | Matty Forever | Elizabeth Fensham
St MacArtans Primary School, Mornington. VIC
"The play related really well to issues and concerns that children in Yrs 5 & 6 deal with. It was good for the children to see how a problem that the character faced could be resolved, i.e., demonstrating conflict resolution skills (integrating well with curriculum/programs taught in class)...Very appropriate for the age group as they children were very engaged and attentive...Great performance! Well done."
Holy Spirit Primary School, Carnes Hill, NSW
2009 | Audrey of the Outback | Christine Harris
The Patch Primary School, The Patch, VIC
"Great show! Even though I have read the book I couldn't tell where events had been left out. The action and flow were seamless from one story section to the next!"
Nulkaba Public School, Nulkaba, NSW
2008 | Amelia Dee & the Peacock Lamp | Odo Hirsch
Trinity Catholic Primary School, Kemps Creek, NSW
“Amelia Dee was a really enjoyable play to watch. We liked the relationship between Amelia and the best friend Eugenie.”
St MacArtan’s Primary School, Mornington, VIC
2007 | Being Bee | Catherine Bateson
Flinders Christian College, Tyabb, VIC
“Very enjoyable. Very good performance. Professionally presented and pertinent to certain students living/family situations. The number of tears in the audience was an indication of how well the story touched the students. Students were very engaged... All comments from the children were positive. Students were excited by the characters and were keen to discuss the relationships acted out between each character.”
Flemington Primary School, VIC
2006 | To The Light | Pat Flynn
Glen Eira Secondary College, VIC
"Advantage of this group is that they are educators and connected at kids’ level." Montrose Primary School, VIC
2005 | Billy Mack's War | James Roy
Wattle Park PS, VIC
"Students and teachers thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Our students have not had much exposure to drama / live performances, so they were really captivated by the acting and singing."
Simonds Catholic College, West Melbourne, VIC
2004 | Stella By the Sea | Ruth Starke
The Peninsula School, VIC
“Excellent production. It was great to see how closely you stuck to the story text, but at the same time bought an extra dimension to it! Good choice of material – backyard pet theme children can relate to... Inspiration for drama in class.”
Narre Warren North Primary School, VIC
2003 | Tom Jones Saves the World | Steven Herrick
"First class dramatisation of an excellent story - students were still singing the song and laughing over incidents next week in the library. I thought the play was terrific! Very thought provoking and wonderfully performed."
Christian College Middle School, VIC
2002 | My Story - A Different Sort of Real, The Diary of Charlotte McKenzie, Melbourne, 1918 | Kerry Greenwood
Narre Warren North Primary School, VIC
"After the performance we talked about this in class. From what the boys said, I could tell they thoroughly enjoyed the play and freely talked about war, it's affects and what life was like in Melbourne in the 1920's. It also motivated some boys to buy the book at the "Book Fair" and read it!"
Scotch College Junior School, VIC
2002 | When Dogs Cry | Markus Zusak
Nhill College, VIC
2001 | Something's Fishy, Hazel Green! | Odo Hirsch
Maranatha Christian College, VIC
"It was a huge step for that child to admit that he also couldn't read, just like the character in the play. Obviously the theme of illiteracy and bravery struck a particular chord with him"
Toorak Library, VIC
2000 | Captain Mack | James Roy
Newcombe Library, VIC
"Amazing reaction by the students and fabulous interpretation of a meaningful book. Everyone loved it."
Cranbourne Christian College, VIC