Quokkas have been described as the ‘cutest Australian wildlife ever’ and the ‘world’s happiest animal’. They are synonymous with a trip to Rottnest Island where around 10,000 of them live. Once described as ‘a kind of rat as big as a common cat’ by an early Dutch explorer, quokkas are actually a type of small wallaby. Quokkas have become famous for posing in selfies and the quokka selfie has become a craze, even with celebrities! First was TV personality and former Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown, then came newsworthy ones with Roger Federer, Margot Robbie and Chris Hemsworth. My daughter’s (not famous, but my favourite) quokka selfie is the image on the right. It’s not surprising that the friendly quokka features in a number of children’s picture books.
My daughter’s quokka selfie taken on a day trip to Rottnest.
written by Jolly Read; illustrated by Natasha Lea.
This is a fun, upbeat and quirky story told in rhyming verse. For example:
“And if quokkas had a BBQ
Imagine what they’d eat
Leaves and stems and bark and stuff
But definitely not meat!”
It combines both fact and fiction, with facts fitted sneakily into the verse. Local Aboriginal names and words have been included in the text and map illustration. The quokka is known as a ‘Quak-a’ (from which comes the question, ‘Can a quokka quack?’) in local Noongar language and Rottnest is known as Wadjemup. Author Jolly Read and illustrator Natasha Lea are both based locally, Jolly in South Fremantle and Natasha in Hilton. Natasha’s illustrations are wonderfully intricate, colourful, vibrant, fun and engaging – just take a look at the happy quokka on the cover picture!
written by Merv Lamington; illustrated by Allison Langton.
This is the third installment in the ‘True Animal Tales’ series by Merv Lamington and Allison Langton. Based on real life stories and featuring Australian wildlife, these fun rhyming tales incorporate the Australian landscape and our unique native animals. This one sees Leonardo da Quokko chasing his dreams and becoming a famous artist and Archibald winner, despite missing his home and friends on Rottnest Island. Entertaining and informative you will be captivated by this clever quokka who stays true to his dream even when the going gets tough. The first title in the series, The Singing Seal, is shortlisted for the 2019 CBCA Award for New Illustrator.
written by Carrie Gallasch; illustrated by Zoe Ingram.
This is a bright and happy picture book about two little quokkas making garden stew. Tattie and Tiny Spud have lots of fun making their stew from leaves, flowers, dirt, feathers, twigs and insects. The rhyming text with a repeated refrain of ‘lets make garden stew’ is perfect for reading aloud. This whimsical story, with its accompanying cheerful and charming illustrations, captures the childhood joy of creating a garden stew. It will encourage your children to want to go out and play in the garden. Author Carrie Gallasch is an early childhood teacher in rural South Australia.
written by Fay Andresen; illustrated by Lindy van Tuil.
How cute is Quincy Quokka? Keep your eye out for this new series of books about brave Quincy Quokka and his funny friends. The late Fay Andresen, who resided in Fremantle, wrote these stories in the 1980s. To honour Fay’s memory her family set about getting her quokka stories published. There are three more books to follow. Fay’s family loved Rottnest Island and spent many summers there.
Jump up high
Laugh out loud
Snap your jaws
Peck the ground
Flap your wings
Howl at the sky
Brown snake, brown snake
Swish your tail
Dig a burrow
Hide out of sight
Twitch your ears
Scrunch up tight
Climb a tree
Five Little Quokkas
Five little quokkas
Jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
“No more quokkas jumping on the bed!”
Four little quokkas
Jumping on the bed …
You will need:
- Cardboard tube or brown card
- Quokka template
- Crayons or textas
- Print out the craft template.
- Colour and cut out the template pieces.
- Cover the cardboard tube with brown paper and tape or glue to secure. Or roll a piece of brown card (12 cm wide) into a tube and tape to secure.
- Glue the template pieces onto the cardboard tube as per the photo above.
- Enjoy playing with your quokka or use it as a cute pencil holder.
Did You Know?
Reading for pleasure is the most important indicator of the future success of a child. Happy reading!
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