Iggy-Wallaby's Walkabout
by Karel Hawkins
Xlibris AU

"Iggy the wallaby hopped along the grassy riverbank, his head held low."

Iggy the wallaby is lost and wandering along the Murray River in Victoria, Australia, after a picnic with his human, Kerry. Though sad, Iggy uses his head and follows the river, looking for a boat or a landmark to help him find his way home. He comes upon an old paddle steamboat converted to a home by a grumpy old man named Tom. Tom is in a terrible mood, and their first encounter scares Iggy. He hops away once again and spends the night under an old river gum tree. Iggy is awakened during the night by the conversation of two naughty white rabbits who have stolen Tom’s gold watch. To everyone’s surprise, Iggy becomes a hero, the rabbits get their just rewards, and Tom, Kerry, and Iggy become fast friends.

The theme of getting lost could be terrifying but is softened and made palatable by Iggy’s commonsensical nature. At times the story's prose feels a bit overdone since the illustrations show detail that need not be described. There’s a moral to the story, of course, and it’s subtle but not preachy or prescriptive. Hawkins takes the universal themes of friendship and Iggy’s status of “lost and found” and makes them both fresh—and local—with bright, whimsical illustrations of Australia’s longest river that are sure to please the picture-book crowd at home and abroad. The story’s suspense is aided by the addition of two cheeky possums in the illustrated panels as some bonus fun for kids who will want to count how many times they appear.

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