Have you ever wondered what life is like out in the desert of Australia where the Spinifex grass grows and the stars shine all over the night sky?
Through the eyes of two cute hopping mice – Lucky and Spike – you and your young readers will see what they get up to each night as they search for food and escape from hungry predators!
Every night Lucky and Spike enjoy the spinifex seeds leftover from the local women who grind them to make bread but as we find out, they are not the only ones who are in search of food.
Lucky and Spike need to use their quick legs to escape a hungry feral cat and a barking owl but with the help of the camp dog and the sharp spinifex grass, they escape.
Norma Macdonald’s illustrations highlight the colours of the desert and the people who live there. The animals are full of life and we can see their movements over the pages as they hop, fly and run throughout the night.
There is so much to enjoy about this book and so much to learn, it is a must for anyone interested not only in the diverse landscapes, people and animals of Australia, but also the need for better solutions for native species.
The hopping mouse lives in Australia in small pockets of sand dunes, grasslands, gibber plains, heaths and open forest .
They are on the vulnerable species list and are closely monitored by different conservation groups around Australia. Feral cats are a huge problem due to their ability to hunt the mouse with little detection. Other feral animals who roam free also play a role in the degradation of soil and small grasses – needed to provide safety and shelter.
Lucky and Spike is a fun book to read for younger children but also one which can be used for older readers to explore further into different desert animals.
So what else can you do with this book?
Look at the final page in this story and read what Norma has written about feral cats. Explore the different organisations who are trying to cull these creatures and the different ways they are doing this.
Visual Arts and Artists.
Explore the art works by Norma MacDonald and other books she has written ( Spinifex Mouse by Magabala books)
Find the verbs used to describe how the animals move around. Create a list of other verbs these different animals might use during the night and then during the day.
Research further about Spinifex Hopping mice and Barking owls.
Discover how cats become feral.
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