Graeme Base Books & Activities: Author Study Ideas

The books of Australian author Graeme Base captivate children of all ages with their breathtaking illustrations and clever prose. The detailed stories take school aged children on a journey through a host of important, modern day themes and today we are going in depth with five of our favorites Graeme Base books and matched activities to share with the children in your life.

Graeme Base Books and Activities Author Study Ideas

Graeme Base Books & Activities: Author Study Ideas

Each book listed below is linked to an Amazon or similar store page – these are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base book

I remember being enthralled by The Eleventh Hour as a 10 year old when we were away together at the family shack and my cousin received it for Christmas. We spent hours examining the detail in the pictures and looking for the clues on every page to figure out who stole the feast. Our parents weren’t going to let us open the secret envelope until we had exhausted every option and idea to solve the case. The whole family got involved cracking the alphabet code and unravelling the mystery. So exciting as a 10 year old – and a memory that really sticks out in my mind 20 years later! Now that’s how you know a good book. How fantastic would it be to host an ‘Eleventh Hour’ themed 11th birthday party?

Get your copy: The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery

Activity idea: Create your own coded messages with a DIY cipher wheel (via Frugal Fun for Boys)


Animalia by Graeme Base book

Another favourite of this era was Animalia, a cleverly written adventure through the alphabet. There is so much to see in each  page as you look for all the things starting with that letter, as well as hunting for the cheeky boy in the yellow and red striped jumper and blue jeans. There’s something so inviting for children to have a job to do while they read or listen to a book – something to find on each page. Some teacher friends I know draw inspiration from this book for their weekly handwriting lessons to get the children’s minds thinking about words beginning with the letter of the day. This is a must have on your classroom bookshelf (and at home too for children aged 4 and up).

Get your copy: Animalia

Activity idea: Enjoy your very own neighbourhood alphabet hunt (via No Time for Flashcards)

The Water Hole by Graeme Base

The Waterhole

Moving on from letters to numbers – The Waterhole – takes you on a counting journey from 1-10, alongside the themes of size (as the water hole reduces in size), the needs of living things, and weather cycles. The page with the single raindrop is one of the most stunning pieces of artwork I’ve seen in any children’s book. And I think that’s the special thing about Graeme Base’s books – the illustrations are breathtaking, enchanting works of art. Another interesting feature of this book is the holes in each page depicting the water hole, another interesting detail that brings the story to life – much like the holes in the fruit in The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Get your copy: The Waterhole

Activity idea: Ideas for teaching kids to conserve water (via Edventures with Kids)

Uno’s Garden

Unos Garden by Graeme Base book

Sticking with the mathematics theme, Uno’s Garden delves into multiplication and the necessity of environmental harmony and balance. The visuals and real life examples in this book can be a great way to help children in Grades 3-4 wrap their heads around multiplication. Younger children will still enjoy it mind you (I’ve read it to Miss 2 before) – they just observe the buildings increasing while the plants decrease, and of course everyone loves the funny and crazy imaginary animals who inhabit this special land.

Get your copy:  Uno’s Garden

Activity idea: Be inspired by Uno to explore our bumper list of 50 nature based activity ideas

Jungle Dreams

Jungle Dreams by Graeme Base book

Reinforcing the important messages of self-confidence and the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ is Jungle Drums. It’s a great starting point for discussions about being happy in your own skin, and not trying to be like someone else. There’s just the right about of light-hearted humor in the book to balance this thoughtful message. Be prepared for giggles when the animals start to change! In the past I’ve introduced actual drums for the children to play while reading this story, which was a huge success.

Get your copy: Jungle Drums

Activity idea: Make and play your own drums with these fun activities featured at Growing Book by Book

Explore more of Graeme Base’s titles; Graeme Base Books and Activities Author Study

Visit his website to learn more about Graeme Base and his life and work.

For more fun book activities for kids, check out these related ideas;

45 Fun Read Aloud Tips
Kids Book Bingo Printable
Short movies from kids books