Mrs Echidna's Dilemma
An Award Winning Children's Book
Mrs Echidna's Dilema by Betty Johnson

'Mrs Echidna's Dilemma' is welcomed as a 4-in-one resource be teachers.  The content fulfills the requirements of the Australian National Curriculum, particularly in Years P-3.  For a synopsis, click here.

Mrs Echidna's Dilemma won an IPPY (Independent Publishers) award from USA in May 2011. The second edition of this book, released 26th September 2011, contains updated information from recognised echidna research scientist Dr Peggy Rismiller OAM.

Mrs Echidna's Dilemma is a children's story (suitable for 3-8 years) with broad appeal. Educators are drawn to the animal science within an integrated literacy unit, while quilters and embroiderers are fascinated by the hand-stitched illustrations.

The story, written and illustrated by Betty Johnston, was first embroidered on companion quilts. The tactile nature of the original art work is maintained in the book by embossing on the pages - the children can feel the contours of the animals and environments encountered. The children's involvement in the story is further encouraged by the inclusion of a DVD, and also patterns for you to make finger-puppets of Australian animals. Children love them!

The questions that inevitably arise as you read the story, such as: ‘How does a kookaburra find its food? What do you call a baby echidna? Where does a platypus live? Why is the blue-tongue on the rock?' are all answered on the opposing pages, which give additional information to extend knowledge and understanding of these unique creatures.

Although the tale was initially written for young children, the illustrations are a great source of inspiration for their parents and grandparents! The story quilt was hand-stitched in ‘stump work', or three-dimensional embroidery, using a wide variety of textures, threads and stitches - each panel features a different technique. The companion quilt was hand-worked in a modern adaptation of ‘black-work'... it's a bit like sketching, but with a needle and thread!

Due to popular demand we have created a series of embroidery patterns based on the book, you can find out more about the packs and buy them here or at quality needlecraft suppliers across Australia.

Easy to complete pattern packs are also available for early childhood education resources, including finger puppet sets and more immersive story dioramas. These resources have been tested with success in an early learning setting. You can purchase the pattern packs here.

Thank you Betty.  All the Prep children and teachers loved your visit and your story.  Thank you for the love and passion you have!
Prep YLC
What a dilemma Mrs. Echidna did have and I congratulate most sincerely in the way you have portrayed this through your craft and journalistic skills...I am a "crafty" person with many patchwork quilts under my belt...and gave your book... to our grand children in US.
Dianne Chapman
"Cedarvale" Q
I would like to thank Betty for presenting at our Book Week Family Night. The school community enjoyed hearing about the process an author goes through to produce and have a book published. Students are still asking for and enjoying Mrs Echidna's Dilemma.

News & Events

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August 2016 with Prep Students
Their excitement was palpable.  Because the teachers had taken the time to share the story with the children before my visit, the students were anticipating the author's visit, and ready to learn more about how the book was written, and the animals in it. They loved the finger puppets (always a hit!) and were quite inventive as they made up THEIR songs about the animals encountered in the story.
Year 3 co-ordinator
Our Year Three students have enjoyed author visits from Betty Johnston for a number of years.  This year, Betty indulged us by visiting twice and developing a new, hands-on program for our students.
March 2015

Recently I visited Year 3 students who were learning to write and illustrate a story.  I completed TWO workshops with these students - one on how I developped the story, and the other on how the illustrations were created.

After the first visit, students were asked to research an Australian animal Mrs Echidna could have met as she waddled through the bush, and add their character to the book. Here are their stories...