Karri, the koala, lives in Karri’s Corner, a peaceful home where there are no dogs, no cats, no cars, trucks or men with saws. Peaceful. Tranquil. Perfect. Then a gang of feral cats moves in. The other animals are traumatised and ask Karri to intervene. But the feral cats, no longer welcome in their previous homes, have nowhere else to go. It’s a standoff. Then Jinksy, one of the cats, suggests a football game. The winning team can stay, the losers must move on. Before he really thinks about it, Karri agrees. The advantage gradually goes the way of the cats, until weather intervenes. Karri and his crew are winners but he cannot stop thinking about the plight of the homeless cats. His solution brings smiles all around. Illustrations are set in white space and provide multiple perspectives of both bush and urban animals with humour.
Fantasy and realism combine in The Koala Bounces Back. Karri needs goodwill, humour and advanced problem-solving skills to save himself and his friends from the invading cats. The cats, it’s clear, don’t really want to be there either, but having been evicted from their urban homes, are determined to adapt. Unfortunately, cohabiting with native animals is not going to work, not for the native animals anyway. There are opportunities for classroom discussion about sharing, cooperation and compassion. Young readers will enjoy the humour, particularly in the illustrations. Younger children will just enjoy the silliness of cats and native animals playing football. Recommended for early primary years.
The Koala Bounces Back, Jimmy Thomson & Eric Lobbecke
Random House 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author