Activity for ‘A Book of Pacific Lullabies’

A Book of Pacific Lullabies

Edited by Tessa Duder

 This beautifully presented book includes lullabies by children’s authors from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. Each of the poems reflects an aspect of the Pacific, whether it be the landscape, nature or the “millions of stars”. Some are presented in dual language versions, while others use language of the Pacific Islands within them. The book is stunningly illustrated in water colours by Anton Petrov. It was recommended for the collection because it uses music and song, and because it contains beautiful illustrations. It also incorporates the wider Pacific region.

This book won the Russell Clark Award in the 2002 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards.

Activity: ILLUSTRATION (The Arts)

Curriculum Level 1, 2 & 3 (see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies

  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
  • managing self



This book contains many different lullabies for children, written by several Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Island authors. Each lullaby has been beautifully illustrated with water colour paints by Anton Petrov.  The lullabies could be used as inspiration for children’s own art works, either using water colours, in the style of Petrov, or using other media such as crayon and dye, oil or acrylic paints, or printmaking.

1. Before reading, introduce the students to the word ‘lullaby’.Ask:  Does anyone know what this word means? Do you know of any lullabies?

2. Read and enjoy the lullabies with children. Talk about the illustrations which Petrov created to support the ideas in each lullaby.


  • do you think this illustration helps us to understand the lullaby? In what way?
  • which key words/ ideas from the lullaby has he used in his illustration?
  • what are some other ideas he could have used?

3. Give each child a lullaby to illustrate – they may prefer to choose their own.

Spend some time talking about possible ideas and making some basic sketches. Use key words and ideas from the lullaby to inspire a scene.

4. Decide on a final idea and sketch it out on paper.

  • Depending on which medium you are using, you will need to do some direct teaching here, so that children are familiar with the art techniques they are using.

5. Completed art works should be shared along with each lullaby read aloud.


  • paint, crayon, dye, or ink
  • pencils for sketching
  • lots of scrap paper, as well as good quality paper for final product
  • brushes

Curriculum Links

The Arts: Visual Art  

  • share ideas about how and why their own and others’ works are made, and their purpose, value and context (Level 1 & 2)
  • explore a variety of materials and tools and discover elements and selected principles (Level 1 & 2)
  • investigate visual ideas in response to a variety of motivations, observation and imagination (Level 1)
  • share the ideas, feelings, and stories communicated by their own and others’ objects and images (Level 1 & 2)
  • investigate and develop visual ideas in response to a variety of motivations, observation and imagination (Level 2)
  • explore some art-making conventions, applying knowledge of elements and selected principles through the use of materials and processes (Level 3)
  • develop and revisit visual ideas, in response to a variety of motivations, observation, and imagination, supported by the study of artists’ works (Level 3)
  • describe the ideas that children’s objects and images communicate (Level 3)

Other Ideas

  • Author study – choose one of the authors from those who have contributed to the book and do an author study on them. Information found could be turned into a mini-biography (English)
  • Choose a lullaby and put it to music (Music – Sound Arts)
  • Use a lullaby from the book as a model for writing their own lullabies (English).