Tippy and Jellybean Review

Title: Tippy and Jellybean: the True Story of a Brave Koala Who Saved Her Baby From a Bushfire
Author: Sophie Cunningham
Illustrator: Anil Tortop
June 2020
Publisher: Albert Street Books (Allen and Unwin)
Readership: Children’s
Genre: Picturebook
Rating: ★★★★.5
RRP: $19.99

I received a copy of Tippy and Jellybean from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Based on a heartwarming true story.

Tippy and her baby Jellybean live in a beautiful eucalyptus forest.
One day, they wake up and sniff the air. It’s smoky, hot and windy.Kangaroos and wallabies are bounding.
Wombats are heading to their burrows.
The cockatoos take off in an enormous flock.

Tippy can’t hop. Or run. Or fly.
So she shelters her baby in the only way she can…

This is the uplifting true story of a koala who saved her baby from a bushfire, and the dedicated vets who looked after them until they were healed and ready to go home.

The publisher will donate $1 from every copy sold of this book to the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund, to help fund emergency veterinary assistance and scientific intervention.

The most recent bushfires in Australia were widely reported on by media around the world, and were devastating to the people and wildllife affected. At the time, there was worldwide support for the organisations that took in injured animals and cared for them. When I saw that this book was being released, I immediately wanted to read it because as someone who works with very young children who are exposed to the news more now than ever, a book that explores how a natural disaster like a bushfire can impact many lives is really important.

Tippy and Jellybean is based on the story of two real koalas who survived the bushfires in East Gippsland. It explores the transition between life before, during and after the bushfires for the koalas, with words and images that highlight how quickly the situation can change in a bushfire and how dangerous and scary it is. It also tells of the rescue of the koala and how they are nursed back to health in an environment that is different to what they’ve known before being released back into the wild.

There’s a lot to talk about in a picture book like this – from discussions about bushfire conditions, to animal protection and how we care for injured wildlife, and even how do we support animals transitioning back into their natural habitats. You can also look at families and how they protect and support one another. The conversations are endless here.

Tippy and Jellybean is a book that made me cry, despite it’s short page count, and I don’t cry easily when reading books. In part it might be my connection to the bushfires, but also, I think it’s an incredibly poignant and hopeful story.

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