Monday, 16 May, 2022

Mice plague returns to Aussie farms; Ukraine wins Eurovision; Australia’s best child artists; and teaching a giraffe how to walk.



The Young Archies for 2022:

The Adult Archibald winners: 

Baby giraffe fitted with leg braces


Sensational World of Civics

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Can you hear that? That rustling sound in the bushes? That sound of tiny claws on corrugated iron? Well – maybe you can’t hear it from where you’re sitting, but plenty of Aussie farmers are hearing that noise again – and fearing the worst – as signs are beginning to emerge that the mouse plague has returned.

If it doesn’t seem all that long ago since we were talking about  a mouse plague in NSW and Queensland, it’s because it’s not all that long ago. Barely a year in fact. But since La Nina has dumped so much rain across so much of Australia’s farmland – creating plenty of food for mice to eat – there has been another explosion in rodent numbers in rural properties from Western Australia to western parts of NSW. 

Farmers in Western Australia’s wheat belt and farmers in places like Dubbo in NSW have started to report a spike in the number of mice scurrying about their grain silos and feeding off their crops. 

How do mice plagues become such a problem so quickly? 

Get this … from the time they are six weeks old, mice can have up to 10 babies every three weeks … once they’ve had one litter of 10 baby mice, they tend to fall pregnant with the next litter of 10. Eugh.

And yes, I know, mice might be cute to look at – and even to have as pets – not my thing, but you know, each to their own – but when they’re allowed to breed uncontrolled and destroy crops that people rely on for their living: well, that’s when they become a problem. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Italy – where the world has shown its support for war-torn Ukraine by backing it in for the win at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Ukraine’s entry, a folk hip-hop band called Kalush Orchestra, won by a landslide, with 631 points – ahead of the United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden.

My favourite entry Norway – with its song Give That Wolf A Banana – finished a disappointing 10th place. I mean really: with deep and meaningful lyrics like that… how could they not win?

Taking out 15th place was Australia’s own Sheldon Riley with his song Not The Same – who did incredibly well to make it into yesterday’s final.

Tradition dictates that whichever country wins Eurovision hosts the event the following year. Ukraine’s President Vlodymyr Zelensky – who is otherwise busy fighting a war against Russia in his country – yesterday said he looked forward to there soon being peace in his country so it could host the event next year. 

Here’s hoping. 




And so to San Diego in the United States where doctors have successfully fitted a baby giraffe with leg braces to help her walk.

Back in February when Mitsui the giraffe was born, vets at her home of the San Diego zoo noticed her front legs were bending the wrong way. So they called in a doctor who specialises in leg braces for kids and he created an oversized set for Mitsui.

The little giraffe learned to walk with her leg braces – allowing her to keep up with the rest of the herd and feed from her mum. And now, three months later, the braces have done their job and little Mitsui is walking with the best of them. 

I’ve stuck a link to video of the exotic animal miracle in today’s episode notes. .. because it’s a Monday … you’re very welcome ..




A very important art exhibition opened in Sydney on Saturday featuring the winner of the Archibald, the most prestigious portrait prize in Australia. A portrait, as your art teacher has probably told you, is a piece of art that depicts a person. This year’s winner is the artist Blak Douglas, who painted his friend, artist Karla Dickens, during the terrible floods in Lismore earlier this year. And while Squiz Kids does salute Blak Douglas, we’re especially excited about the Young Archie winners, which will be hanging alongside Blak Douglas’s work at the Art Gallery of NSW for the next three months. … A record 2,400 kids from all over the country entered, and the 70 finalists’ works include self-portraits, as well as images of friends, grandparents, parents, and siblings… created in charcoal, pencil, paint, even texta and crayon. In case you can’t make it to Sydney to see for yourself, I’ve put a link in your episode notes to the winners’ work.

And if you’re a Squiz Kids for Schools subscriber, you’ll be able to learn a lot more about these paintings in today’s Classroom Companion literacy activities—you’ll hardly even notice that you’re working on sentence level grammar!  Teachers, sign up for a 30-day free trial at and see how much time and effort we’ll save you, using news to teach the curriculum. 


This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

1. What sort of animal are Australian farmers getting ready to do battle with over fears their numbers could hit plague proportions again?

2. What’s the name of the zoo where Mitsui the giraffe was fitted with leg braces

3. Which country won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest?



It’s May 16 … today is the International Day of Light … in recognition of the crucial role light plays in scientific advancement … if you’ve got a science class today – stop and think about all the amazing technologies that are enabled thanks to light.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Billy from Cannon Hill, Jade from Turramurra, Emma from Woodville, Annie from Beecroft, Diya (pronounced Dee-ya) from Forest Lake, Jasmine from Essendon, Claire from Kempsey, Charley from the Sunshine Coast, Audrey from Sylvania Waters, Spencer from Curtin and Charlotte who’s listening all the way over there in Whistler, Canada. 

And belated birthday wishes go to… Mattias from Five Dock, Delilah from Brisbane, Lola from the Gold Coast and Loxley who is currently travelling around Western Australia.

Classroom shout outs go to…class 6R at Wenona School in Sydney, class 5/6R and Miss Reynoldson at Griffith Public School and the students in class MC Junior with Miss Finn and Mrs Jackson at Northlakes High School. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Mice
  2. San Diego Zoo
  3. Ukraine