Wignell, Edel. Bilby: Secrets of an Australian Marsupial. Ill. Mark Jackson. Candlewick. 2011, 2015. $16.99. unp. 978-0-7636-6759-7. Ages 5-8:
The fictional story about this nocturnal creature allows for the deep blues of the sky and reds in the sand and rocks as the reader follows a baby greater bilby from birth through adulthood, about six or seven months later, in the hostile Western Australia Outback desert. The lesser bilby, last seen in 1931, is assumed to be extinct, and the greater bilby is endangered, perhaps surviving because it can dig a tunnel in three minutes. The engaging read-aloud portion is a different font from the italics used for facts about food, habitat, and reproduction. For example, the bilby’s pouch is on her back to keep dirt out while she is digging. Jackson’s illustrations show the rich life in the desert; outstanding are the bilbies’ predators such as an olive python, owl, and fox. His mixed media clearly shows the silky fur, bright eyes, and long ears of the species. A bonus is the index. The book is highly recommended for its entertainment and art as well as its information about survival and other animals on the other side of the world. P9Q9
January 2015 review by Nel Ward.