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We have produced an amazing, entertaining and inspiring collection of poems about some of Australia’s more fascinating fauna, each illustrated with a stunning photograph. The book was written to have broad appeal to everyone with an interest in Australia and wildlife, to engage children and adults alike. The poems provide an insight into the ecology and adaptations of the animals, written in a humorous and engaging style. The small format of the book means that it can be easily posted so makes a fantastic present. Curl up with the kids, start reading, and learn all about the 23 special species contained within!
Stay tuned for our upcoming book: Faunaverse-Tasmanian wildlife in poetry.
THE LIZARD’S TALE
I was sitting on a log one day, having a quiet think,
when suddenly I noticed I was being watched by a skink.
Now, skinks, of course, are lizards, and they’re usually shy,
but this one popped its head up and looked me in the eye;
Then skittered straight towards me in a skinky sort of way;
Imagine my amazement when it stopped and said “G’day!”
It said it rather quietly, as this skink was pretty small,
but what I found so surprising was that it could talk at all!
Still, it pays to be polite (or so my mother seems to think),
so I replied: “G’day yourself!” to this tiny little skink.
You wouldn’t mind a quiet word?” said my scaly little mate;
“err..no” I said, “of course not.” It seemed to hesitate.
“I don’t often chat with humans.”
“I don’t often chat with skinks.
I didn’t think they chatted.”
“That’s what everybody thinks.”
There, the conversation paused; But then the lizard said:
“Next time you’re cold, I wonder, could you wear a coat instead?”
“What?” I said, I had no clue what it was on about.
“Instead of burning firewood!” the lizard tried to shout.
“What’s wrong with burning firewood? It’s better than being cold.”
“But it isn’t wood for burning.” the lizard seemed to scold;
“A hollow log that takes at least a century to form,
is destroyed in twenty minutes when a coat would keep you warm.
Those logs that lie upon the ground are shelter, home, and larder;
When people pick them up it makes survival that much harder.
We need those logs to bask on, and to shelter from the rain.
Surely putting on a coat’s not that much of a pain?”
I looked down at the little skink, and he looked up at me.
We both wanted to be safe at home, and shared a destiny,
“You’ve got a point” I told him. “I’ll try to spread the word.”
“Just ask your friends how they’d like to be eaten by a bird!”
“Okay! I get the message! Just leave it up to me.”
and so I left the little lizard on the fallen tree.
And now I’ve told this lizard’s tale, I hope you see the good,
of fallen trees as habitat, and not as “fire” wood.
It’s smaller than a mouse, but fiercer than a shark;
It lives amongst the cracking clays and comes out after dark;
Its back has brown or greyish fur, its belly though is pale,
what is this small marsupial? Why, it’s a planigale!
You mightn’t know a planigale, but I think that you should,
it’s one of many creatures that is poorly understood;
A small and feisty carnivore, it takes on centipedes,
or scorpions and spiders, and on insects too it feeds.
“Planigale” means “flat weasel”, and I think that’s unkind,
as Australia’s not a country in which weasels you will find.
But its flattened head and body let it slip into a crack,
if an owl or snake should cross its path out there in the outback.
There are different kinds of planigale across this big broad land,
but they’re pretty hard to tell apart, even if they’re in your hand.
They’re shy and quick and slippery and difficult to catch,
and if you were to grab one, on your finger it would latch.
You’d be lucky though to see one, as they’re really very small,
and most Australian people haven’t heard of them at all!
But now the word is out there, I hope you’ll stay alert,
and keep a watch for planigales out in the Aussie dirt.
“The book arrived and it is brilliant!
This is glorious, and perfect for kids…
…Again, many thanks for the book – it’s a delight.
All best wishes, Jackie”
-Jackie French AM, Australian Author, Australian Children’ Laureate (2014-15),
2015 Senior Australian of the year
“The photos are beautiful and the poems are funny.
I like the devil one when it says the ‘tapered end’ part and I like the assassin bug too.
I like the picture on the front cover, and the cool fact you (Alex and Jane) met through a frog. That’s unreal”
-Malu Watson, age 6, superfan