Lucky and Spike by Norma MacDonald

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.

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So what else can you do with this book?

Sustainability

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)

Literacy

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.

Science

Research further about Spinifex Hopping mice and Barking owls.

Discover how cats become feral.

Join my facebook groups if you like!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sociallyconsciouschildren/about/

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Endangered animal spotlight: The Numbat

What am I?

I am only 40cm long

I eat around 20 000 termites a day

I am only found in Western Australia

 

I am a NUMBAT!

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(Photo taken from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-03/numbat-population-grows-after-wa-breeding-program/8410856)

 

Numbat’s used to inhabit the southern part of Australia, including Western Australia, South Australia and parts of New South Wales but now they are only found naturally in pockets of South Western Australia.

Key reasons as to why these cute banded animals are endangered is because of cats, foxes and loss of habitat due to land clearing for mining and farming.

There are currently only around 1000 numbats left  in Australia.

So how can you make a difference for these diurnal marsupials?

Read a book – Rufus the Numbat is a fun filled read!

Check out project numbat and the great kids activities online

See how fences are keeping away cats and foxes

Keep your cat inside – see what PETA says about this.

Check out what FAME are doing for these animals

 

Hush

We have read Possum Magic by Mem Fox many many times but at the moment it is taking on a little bit more meaning.


We have a resident possum and her baby living in our cubby house. Even though this may sound cute, the reasons they are there are heartbreaking.

– The mother has huge gashes on her body either from a fellow possum fighting for a tree or from a cat – and there are way too many cats who roam our neighbourhood at night.

– They have not been able to find a new tree due to the many trees that have been cut down in our area due to recent development.

– Our chickens are not very welcoming pets and they did not like the possum and her baby living in their coop.

We tried to build a possum box but she just didn’t move to it. We placed it at the right height, put fruit, old fur and poo in it but she just found the pretend oven in the cubby house more inviting.

We hope that her mother has some invisibility tips for young hush as I am just not sure how well they will go with so many cats around.

Australia – we need to take more ownership of these so called pets. If you have a cat please lock it up at night, place a bell and collar around it’s neck (even if it is chipped) and provide stimulation for it at home. Check out the PETA website – they are against cruelty to animals and even they suggest keeping your cat indoors – that says a lot to me.

I’m drafting up several letters to send to councillors and I am going to be pushing this issue. If they can rid the national park near us of foxes, surely they can bring in tougher laws for cats.

Think about Hush.