When early European settlers first encountered tree-climbing koalas in Australia they thought they were bears or monkeys. Although you may have heard people call them koala ‘bears’, these super cute animals aren’t bears at all! Koalas are more closely related to wombats and kangaroos than they are to bears! This iconic Australian marsupial stars in some wonderful children’s picture books perfect for Storytime.

Picture Books


Don’t Call Me Bear!

by Aaron Blabey This humour filled story is told from the perspective of Warren, a frustrated and somewhat grumpy koala on a mission.  Warren knows for a fact that he is not a bear! But he is having trouble convincing others of this fact. After all, he is cute and furry, and looks like a bear. This is a fun read aloud with bright, bold and entertaining illustrations adding to the laughs. The chart of common marsupials in their underwear is a particular favourite with children. This is a very Australian and ‘beariffic’ tale.

 Koalas eat gum leaves

by Laura and Philip Bunting Koalas are incredibly fussy eaters. Just as people have their favourite foods, koalas do too!  They live almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves and even then, they are very fussy about which leaves they actually eat.  But the koala in this story has a taste for something different. Something cold, creamy and yummy that kids like too. This means that children can totally relate to Koala and his new found fondness for ice-cream.  I love the use of sparse text, with an emphasis on the visual. This tale is full of humour and the knowledge that there can be too much of a good thing.


Koala Bare

by Jackie French Here we meet another frustrated koala who wants us to know that he is definitely not a bear! He is not a teddy bear or a panda bear or a polar bear or one of the three bears from the well-known fairy tale. He does not hibernate nor does he like honey or porridge for that matter. He is content and proud to just be himself. Simply a koala. No bear about it! This cheeky koala is funny and engaging and makes it clear what a koala is and is not!

A Song or Two

If I Was a Koala (Tune: Did You Ever See a Lassie)

If I was a koala, a koala, a koala,

If I was a koala, I’d sleep all day.

I’d wake up at night time,

And eat eucalyptus leaves.

If I was a koala, I’d sleep all day.

Koala, Koala

Koala, Koala, Turn around

Koala, Koala, Touch the ground

Koala, Koala, Dance on your toes

Koala, Koala, Touch your nose

Koala, Koala, Give a little clap

Koala, Koala, Take a nap!

A Crafty Idea

Let’s make a tree loving koala!


  • Grey card
  • Black marker
  • Glue
  • Large craft stick
  • Self-adhesive black foam
  • Cotton wool
  • White cupcake liner
  • Tape


  • Print a koala mask or koala face template onto grey card stock.
  • Draw on some eyes and a smile. Make a nose from the self-adhesive black foam. Stick the nose into place.
  • Glue some cotton wool to the middle of the ears to make them look fluffy. Glue the cupcake liner behind the ears to give them a fuzzy appearance.
  • Print or draw a letter ‘C’ template in bubble writing onto grey card. Turn the letter ‘C’ around to be the koala’s body.
  • Glue the head to the body.
  • Tape the koala to the craft stick. The koala now appears to be holding onto a tree branch.

Did You Know?

September is ‘Save the Koala Month’. If you would like to help our iconic koalas you can ‘adopt’ a koala or plant a eucalyptus tree by donating to the Australian Koala Foundation.

And Remember

Reading for pleasure is the most important indicator of the future success of a child. Happy reading!