A Bilby Round-Up

Article excerpt

Part 1: Bilby Books and Resources

Part 2: Bilby Survival Projects

Recent years have seen the release of a rash of bilby books with bilbies on amazing and intriguing escapades: a bilby reaching for a star to give it a kiss, a pirate and a space adventure, a quest for the moon, bilbies in a nursing home, fighting a bushfire, winning a competition ... Edel Wignell rounds up recent bilby books--non-fiction, fiction, poetry, activity books and audio visual resources--and lists Bilby Survial Projects.

The endangered Australian marsupial bilby (Macrotis lagotis) has captured the attention of many people in the last twenty years. Since the arrival of white settlers its range has been severely reduced from about 70% of the mainland to scattered populations in deserts, spinifex plains and acacia shrublands in isolated and semi-arid areas: the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory, southwestern Queensland, the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts and the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The destruction of the bilby's habitat by the grazing of cattle and rabbits contributed to the bilby's decline and to the extinction of the lesser bilby (Macrostis leucura). The greater bilby's survival is threatened by foxes, dingoes and feral cats.

Splendid efforts are being made to assist the bilby to survive (see Part 2) and, twice-yearly, there is a special focus on the animal: Easter and National Bilby Day (the second Sunday in September). The cleverly named Queensland Children's Choice Book Awards--BILBY (Books I Love Best Yearly) also draw attention to the endearing creature.

PART 1: BILBY BOOKS AND RESOURCES

(Non-fiction)

Anything's possible! the bilby fence and beyond (2003) Narelle Renn, The Save the Bilby Fund, ISBN 0 646 421 62 X

The Bilby Fence was a dream and, due to the generosity and hard work of many people, it is a 'dream-come-true'. Narelle Renn tells the story of the key players in the process, Frank Manthey--wildlife ranger, and Peter McRae--zoologist and scientist involved in bilby research.

Baby Bilby, Where do you Sleep? (2001) Narelle Oliver, Lothian Books, ISBN 0 7344 0602 9

On a hot day in the desert, there seems to be no life. However, many animals, including the bilby, live there in secret refuges. An introduction to nocturnal animals: bilby, striped gecko, hopping mouse, tree creeper, desert planigale and gibber dragon. 'Peepholes' allow children to discover surprises.

Bandicoots & Bilbies of Australia (1993) Eleanor Stoddart, Bimberi Books, ISBN 0646 1 3816 2

Detailed information on bilbies--their appearance, lifestyle and habitat.

Bilbies (1999) Ann Thomas, Macmillan Education ('Young Library'), ISBN 073 2 94857 6

Detailed information on bilbies--their appearance, lifestyle and habitat.

Bilby (1996) Pauline Reilly, ill. Will Rolland, Kangaroo Press, ISBN 978 0 86417 785 8

revised and reprinted: Macrostis the Easter Bilby (2004) Pauline Reilly, ill. Kayelene Traynor, Bristlebird Books, ISBN 978 0957 789 3

A detailed narrative about the life cycle, lifestyle and environment of a bilby.

Bilby and Friends (2009) Kerry Kitzelman, phot. Steve Parish, Steve Parish Publishing ('Steve Parish Kids'), ISBN 978 1 74193 432 8

Bilby is concerned about the horizon--where the world seems to end. Then he discovers, from his taller and tree-climbing friends, that the higher you rise, the more the horizon recedes. (Sales of this book beneit the Save the Bilby Foundation.)

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Bilby Friends (2007) Pamela Rushby, Harcourt Education ('Rigby Blue Prints'), ISBN 978 0 7312 7372 0

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The story of two friends, Frank Manthey and Peter McRae, and their project: to build a fence to enclose an area, 25 kilometres square, where bilbies could breed and live safely (see introductory notes). …