I was very excited to have my poem (hopefully PB one day!) posted on the Australian Children's Poetry website. Davey the Dunnart from Kangaroo Island is book 2 in a trilogy of picture books/poems about endangered Australian animals. Book 1, 'A Birthday Jamboree', is about Gilbert's potoroo or ngilkat, a small nocturnal marsupial that can only be found in the wild on Mount Gardner headland in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve in Western Australia. Dunnarts or djamins, are marsupials and are much smaller than potoroos. Kangaroo Island dunnarts are classified as critically endangered due to the 2019/2020 bushfires which severely reduced the population.
Davey the Dunnart loved to play horn. He’d play every night from dusk until dawn.
Down by the creek he would jam with his band. Their sound became famous all over the land.
Roo played the bass, with possum on drums, Bandicoot swung on the harmonium.
Drongo would warble a sound warm and clear, Bat’s jazz guitar was smooth to the ear.
They’d come from the trees, from the Mallee and swamp, to jump and to jive, to swing and to stomp,
to dance through the night right up to the morn, all dazzled, delighted by Davey’s sweet horn.
Then one full moon night he didn’t appear. It seemed their friend Davey had just disappeared!
The animals searched all the places they knew - his burrow, the creek and the park rangers’ shoe.
But Davey was nowhere. He couldn’t be found. ‘Where can he be?’ his friends wondered and frowned.
As night turned to day a smell filled the air. The sky had turned black. A bushfire declared!
Thoughts of poor Davey were put to one side as everyone ran to find places to hide.
The heat was intense with many homes lost, and when it was over they counted the cost.
All hope had faded. Then later that night the sound of a horn was heard soft and light.
‘Could that be Davey?’ asked Roo in surprise. They ran to the creek and tears filled their eyes.
‘Davey!’ Bat cried as both friends embraced. ‘We thought you would never come back to this place.
We thought we would never again hear you play! We’re so glad to see you. So glad you’re okay.’
His heart filled with joy as the friends gathered near. Davey’s small smile now stretched ear to ear!
He hopped back on stage, picked up his horn
and blew that sweet jazz from dusk until dawn.
Back Matter: Did you know?
For more information on the Kangaroo Island Dunnart visit these websites:
For teaching activities follow this link
Davey the Dunnart from Kangaroo Island © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.
They're back! Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis are back with another Fall Writing Frenzy competition for 2021. To enter, you need to go to Lydia's Wordpress site, choose an image, write your 200 word story to go with your chosen image, and follow the instructions to submit between October 1 and October 3, 2021 11:59 EST. It's loads of fun and a great way to hone your writing skills and make every word count.
Here's my story for this year. Don't forget to support each other by reading and liking as many of the entries as you can. Good luck everyone!
THE FEARLESS FIVE: HALLOWEEN SUPERHEROES
Green Devil, Pumpkin Bat, Skeleton Jack, and Buzz got dressed in their new outfits before heading out the door for trick or treat. ‘These are great! No-one will ever recognize us. Super sewing Buzz!’ announced Skeleton Jack. Buzz grinned. They all nodded in agreement. ‘Those evil, candy stealing witches won’t know a thing,’ he said, as the four heroes admired themselves in the mirror. Green Devil’s sister, Little Red, rolled her eyes as she motioned for them to hurry up. They quickly closed the door and started going from house to house yelling ‘Trick or treat!’, watching as they did so, for anything or anyone suspicious. On their way to the last house, someone screamed excitedly, ‘Ooo look! It’s the Fearless Five!’ Little Red wasn’t fooled, but the other four turned quickly and posed as the camera flash went off. ‘Mwha haha. Thanks boys,’ cackled a sneaky witch, as she quickly scooped up their baskets full of candy and zoomed away. ‘Drats!’ mumbled the four in unison, blinking away the bright light and kicking the pavement. ‘You guys never learn,’ sighed Little Red. ‘Guess we’ll have to share mine again. C’mon. Let’s go home.’
The Fearless Five: Halloween Superheroes © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.
This story was inspired by an illustration from Yelena Wysling, a Swiss artist I follow on Instagram.
Her work is simply beautiful.
Bee and Flea and Me © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.
The Red Bridge
I know you’re here. I caught a glimpse of you before I looked down to check my step, making sure I didn’t trip on the time worn cobblestones beneath the entrance arch. Those eyes that always held a hint of mischief. That open, knowing smile. Every year in the month of ghosts, we’d journey to the Jade Mountain Temple at the end of the red bridge to celebrate your beloved grandparents, to make sure their spirits wouldn’t feel alone.
Now it’s just me who comes, to make sure you don’t feel alone.
I cross the gently curving bridge and enter the temple. The loss I feel is still raw, but lessens as I place my incense beside the other glowing red shards in the brass bowl, that sits atop legs shaped like dragons. I feel cocooned and peaceful, surrounded by the familiar low hum of others chanting and giving thanks to ancestors. As I kneel I feel your breath on my neck, hear your voice as it gently whispers, ‘It’s time now.’ I see your smile again and know you will be with me, always.
The Red Bridge © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.
A Birthday Jamboree.
Upstairs in the bedroom Brolga puts on fancy threads. Downstairs in the kitchen Quokka butters fairy bread.
Tassie Devil squeezes lemons for his secret brew. At the door is Kookaburra letting in the crew.
Today is a special day. A party for a mate who is unique and very rare, and who they think is great.
Emu sets out all the games while cockatoo looks cool. Platypus is in his spot as lifeguard of the pool.
Wombat lays the tables, while Wallaby and roo are helping Numbat get things ready for the BBQ.
Bee is busy icing cakes. Possum adds the sprinkles.Lorikeet strings up the lights. Look at all those twinkles!
Dingo paces back and forth. ‘They should be here by now.’ ‘Worry not! She’s on her way,’ shrieks Magpie from her bough.
Echidna is the first to shout, ‘Quick hide! Here she comes!’ Everyone finds just the spot so no-one spoils the fun.
The doorbell rings. A quiet knock. Someone calls, ‘Hello?’ Koala smiles. ‘Come in,’ she says. Down the hall they go.
As they reach the yard out back the friends jump out, ‘Surprise!’ Penny Potoroo stops still. She can’t believe her eyes.
All the creatures gather ‘round. ‘Hip hip hooray!’ they shout. Penny wipes away the tear that’s trickled down her snout.
‘Is this for me?’ she asks amazed. ‘Of course!’ they cry with glee. ‘A birthday party Aussie style. A true-blue jamboree!’
DID YOU KNOW?
A Birthday Jamboree © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.