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

Great news! 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.

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.
Donna,
Teacher-Librarian.
We love 'Mrs Echidna's Dilemma'.  Your art is amazing!  We had a very good time and we hope you did too.  Thankyou for the puppets and for coming.
Amy and Takoda
Year 3 Students
Betty has presented literacy workshops to Under-Graduate and Graduate students in Early and Primary Years at the University of the Sunshine Coast...  She is a very talented and passionate educator, and I recommend her highly to school principals, parent's groups, and anyone interested in furthering the power of language, literacy and literature in classrooms.
Carol Smith
Lecturer, USC

News & Events

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23rd August 2013
How exciting to have a 'real' echidna on display when I presented 'Mrs Echidna's Dilemma' to the students at St Paul's Bald Hills during book week!  An echidna was on display for the week in the school library - though she migrated to the schools 'small' theatre for my presentations.
July 2013
The year 3 program with Mrs Echidna is a combination of literacy, puppets, singing and animal science - and the children love it! (so do the teachers...)
Book Week Celebrations.
With Book Week fast approaching, 'Mrs Echidna' is visiting a number of schools in the area.  As 'Book Week' is celebrated at different times during Third Term, a number of schools are receiving a visit.