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.
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.