“In a forest clearing of eastern Australia, a little grey kangaroo practiced diving into his mum’s pouch. It seemed easy…until he had to find it in a mob.”
Who knew that kangaroo mothers actually give their joeys (babies) lessons in diving quickly into her pouch so they can be safe when danger is near? I certainly didn’t. And that’s the unique aspect of this story. Readers of all ages will learn about interesting animals many have never heard of. And interesting facts about them. Such as, sometimes, the baby kangaroo doesn’t choose the right pouch and ends up surprising another “mum” and baby. When the baby is ten or eleven months old it is no longer welcome in the pouch because it will soon be needed by a new baby. But the mother still nurses them both—with different milk for each! These facts and many more are highlighted in a section called “Fun Kangaroo Facts” at the end of the book.
This delightful picture book tells the story of one mother kangaroo and her joey. Mom is teaching her baby how to dive into her pouch. This is a survival skill he will need. But little joey doesn’t know how he will be able to tell his mum’s pouch from all the other mums out there. When he sees a bird with a black tail he comes up with a creative idea:
‘“Could I please have some of your tail feathers?” Joey asked. “I want to put them on Mum’s pouch like little flags so it will be easier to find.” “Bloody good idea!” said Willy Wagtail, and right away offered four feathers.” Soon, all the animals Joey meets up with want to help too.
Halfmann’s book is filled with Australian expressions and exotic animals from Eastern Australia and Tasmania. Children will be fascinated by Rainbow Lorikeets, Wombats and Sugar Gliders. The kangaroos are eastern grays.
“Australian Words,” another section at the end of the book, explains the unique slang (such as “bobby-dazzler”) used in the story.
The illustrations, by Abira Das, are playful and will definitely engage the young child. Teachers of elementary students, however, should consider adding this title to their classroom library. With just the right amount of information about animals of eastern Australia, it is an excellent source for inspiring further research. A paper on Echidnas would surely impress fellow classmates!