Tippy and Jellybean by Sophie Cunningham

cover image

Illus. by Amil Tortop. Albert Street Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760878474.
(Age: 5+) With the recent devastating bushfires and lots of media coverage about the plight of Australian animals, particularly koalas, this book with its sub title, The true story of a brave koala who saved her baby from a bushfire, will have readers instantly alert, their heads swimming with images they have seen, ready for a happy story in the midst of much that was not. And they will not be disappointed.
The baby koala and its mother realise that one day is not the same as the rest. Hot winds are blowing, it is hot and smoky. The other animals in their vicinity all protect themselves; the kangaroos hop away, the wombat burrows into its hole, the cockatoos take off, but the koalas can only climb. At the top of the tree, Tippy's fur is singed and her paws are sore, but Jellybean is safe. A man coaches them down and takes them to a vet, Kami. After her burns are treated, they are taken to an animal sanctuary to recuperate and when this is over, taken back to their home to rejoin their other animal friends.
This endearing story tells of what has happened to many Australian animals during the last bushfires, showing younger readers of their plight and what happens to them if they survive but are injured.
In concise prose, the story tells of the people involved in their rescue and the stages their rehabilitation takes.
The illustrations add to the sincerity of the story, giving younger readers a look at the places these animals live, the other animals in their environment, and their dependence upon the gum tree and most importantly the effect of fire upon their domain. This book will introduce students to the theme of fire and its effects upon the animals and what happens to them once the fire has passed. Themes: Koalas, Bushfires, Australian bush, Family, Love, Motherhood.
Fran Knight