Archive | June 21, 2023

Banjo, the Woylie with Bounce

Banjo, the Woylie with Bounce

Banjo, the Woylie with Bounce











Banjo, the Woylie with Bounce

Aleesah Darlison

Mel Matthews

Puffin, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


For most of his short life, Banjo the woylie has stayed safe with his mum in her pouch or her nest but as he gets a little older, he ventures out at night in search of food for this little woylie likes two things above all others – mushrooms and bouncing! But there are those like foxes and feral cats who like woylies just as much and when one startles Banjo, he bounces off … only to find himself far from home and his mum with no more bounce left in him.  And it seems worse is yet to come because he is tempted by the sweet smell of fresh fruit and finds himself caught in a trap!

Before Europeans settled Australia, the woylie, also known as the brush-tailed bettong was found over much of Southern Australia but now they are classified nationally as endangered and even presumed extinct in New South Wales., mostly due to predation by foxes and feral cats.  So this addition to the Endangered Animal Series which focuses on our lesser-known indigenous creatures that are threatened, at the very least, and which includes Poppy, the Punk Turtle  and Coco, the fish with hands and Rusty the Rainbow Bird, highlights the plight of these tiny creatures  bringing their stories to younger audiences who are just beginning to understand that there is a wider world around them.

As with the others, this one also features bright, bold illustrations which  catch the eye immediately and a story written in simple but accurate vocabulary which respects the young reader’s intelligence, and which is supported by fact boxes that offer more information. Perfect for those with an interest in the natural world and who are looking to find out more. 

At the same time, its format is also the perfect model for older students to base a story and an investigation of another little-known creature of their own.  Start by asking , “What would Aleesah Darlison and Mel Mathews have needed to know before they could begin one of these books?”  An opportunity for meaningful research as well as those who prefer writing fiction and those who prefer writing non fiction and those who prefer illustrating to collaborate.