STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Bilby Secrets

BilbyBilby: Secrets of an Australian Marsupial
by Edel Wignell; illus. by Mark Jackson
32 pages; ages 5-9
Candlewick Press, 2014

In the moonlight, Bilby canters – tail aloft like a banner – across the spiny grass and enters a steeply sloping, spiral tunnel.

This book, originally published in Australia a few years ago, introduces a shy, nocturnal animal. The bilby lives in remote arid and semi-arid areas in the northern part of Western Australia. It looks something like a rabbit, something like a possum, and something like a fluffy-tailed cat, but with strong back legs that can kick a predator and dig a burrow.

The book opens: In the moonlight, Bilby canters – tail aloft like a banner – across the spiny grass and enters a steeply sloping, spiral tunnel.

Bilbies are secretive creatures, living in burrows, hunting at night.They munch on termites, seeds, and fruit. When threatened, they can disappear from sight within three minutes. Unfortunately, they’re threatened with habitat loss that could lead to permanent disappearance.

This book tells the story of a young bilby out on his own for the first time. He meets friends and foe, forages for himself, and figures out how to live in his desert world. The illustrations are rendered in warm colors – especially nice to look at when surrounded by ice and snow! The author provides a forward, telling about the status of bilbies, and an index.

Learn more about bilbies through beyond-the-book activities over at Archimedes Notebook.

STEM Friday

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Author: Sue Heavenrich

I write about science and environmental issues for children and their families.

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