Friday, January 16, 2015

Bilby Secrets

Bilby: Secrets of an Australian Marsupial
by Edel Wignell; illus. by Mark Jackson
32 pages; ages 5-9
Candlewick Press, 2014

Theme: nonfiction, endangered animals

opening: In the moonlight, Bilby canters - tail aloft like a banner - across the spiny grass and enters a steeply sloping, spiral tunnel.

This book, originally published in Australia a few years ago, introduces a shy, nocturnal animal. The bilby lives in remote arid and semi-arid areas in the northern part of Western Australia. It looks something like a rabbit, something like a possum, and something like a fluffy-tailed cat, but with strong back legs that can kick a predator and dig a burrow.

Bilbies are secretive creatures, living in burrows, hunting at night.They munch on termites, seeds, and fruit. When threatened, they can disappear from sight within three minutes. Unfortunately, they're threatened with habitat loss that could lead to permanent disappearance.

This book tells the story of a young bilby out on his own for the first time. He meets friends and foe, forages for himself, and figures out how to live in his desert world.

What I like about this book: The illustrations are warm - especially nice to look at when surrounded by ice and snow! I like that there's a forward telling about the status of bilbies, and an index at the back so we don't have to flip through the entire book for that one fact we wanted to note down.

Beyond the book: Learn more about Bilbies from the Perth Zoo (there are two videos of bilby babies).
Bilbies have been around millions of years. Here's an article about a recent find of bilby fossils.
Make a mask -even if it isn't International Bilby Day (yet - that happens in September.)

Today is STEM Friday - head over to the STEM Friday blog to see what other bloggers are reviewing. It's also PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) over at  Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copy provided by publisher.


  1. This looks like a fun and warm ( I could use warm too) book. My library doesn't have this one. I'll put it on my list to find.

  2. I find it fascinating that Bilbies have been around millions of years, What a fun choice. Great resources.

  3. I've heard of bilbies before, but didn't really know what one was. I think kids would be very interested in learning about this animal. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I've never heard of a bilby! I sure like that cover! I'm ready to find out more! Thanks!

  5. They do look cute - and the story looks informative AND interesting. Thanks, Sue!