Little Wombat’s Easter Surprise
28pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Little Wombat is busy collecting eggs on his Easter hunt when he sees Rabbit hop by wearing a special Easter Bunny costume. It’s such a good costume that the tail and nose won’t come even off – but wait, is that really Rabbit? Or is it his new friend, Bilby?
In 1991, the Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia (RFA) developed and registered the Easter Bilby campaign to raise awareness of the damage rabbits do to native wildlife, and to raise money with royalties from Easter Bilby sales to fund research programs. In 1993, Haigh’s Chocolates in Adelaide stopped making chocolate Easter bunnies and made the first Easter Bilby, donating part of the proceeds to RFA. More recently the Easter Bilbies have been made by Fyna Foods sold under the brands of Australian Bush Friends and Pink Lady and have been stocked by national chains and other independent stores.
Aligned to this, in 1999 the Save the Bilby Fund was established in 1999 to raise money and awareness to help stop the steady decline of bilbies. The fund helps support bilby conservation initiatives including a breeding program and a “bilby fence” creating a predator-free zone in Western Queensland.
Dedicated to Tim Faulkner and his work with Aussie Ark ,Little Wombat’s Easter Surprise shines a new light on the both the plight of the bilby and the reasons behind Australia having such a unique interpretation of the familiar Easter Bunny both for the young audience and their parents who share it because they will be too young to remember the circumstances. As in Swim, Little Wombat, Swim, Little Wombat tries to mimic the actions of his new friends Bilby and Easter Bunny only to discover he has his own unique talents that come in very handy for building friendships and having fun.
As well as being a fresh story about Easter in Australia, and helping children understand that we each have special abilities that we can use for the good of others, it is a great way to introduce another Australian species, sadly also endangered, and raising awareness (and perhaps money) that there are many who need our help.