In Australia, rabbits are destructive pests, so shy marsupial bilbies are the new heroes of Australian Easter Bunny stories. Bilbies look like rabbits. They’re a similar size and they have very long ears. Here are five stories with bilby characters. Three books share the same Easter topic with bilbies as the same central characters, but these Easter stories have differing degrees of anthropomorphism. The other two books share a focus on bilby habitat. Have a happy and safe Easter.
Billy and his gang are having fun delivering the eggs in The Smallest Easter Bilby until one bilby gets into trouble. Nette Hilton and Bruce Whatley‘s bilbies problem-solve in ways child characters might and there are other titles in this fun series.
A Home for Bilby by Joanne Crawford and Grace Fielding is a story about friendship and helping. Young readers learn about real animal habitats via characters that share human qualities like empathy.
In the bright fun-filled Little Bilby’s Aussie Easter Egg Hunt bilbies wear simple clothing and hunt for eggs as children do at Easter. Yvonne Mes and Jody Pratt‘s animal characters are also used to show young children differences in real eggs.
Multi-shortlisted Bilby Secrets by Edel Wignell and Mark Jackson tells the story of a mother bilby and her baby surviving in a harsh environment. This story sits at the realistic animal end of anthropomorphic storytelling and interesting details about bilbies are skillfully woven into the narrative.
Walpajirri The Legend of an Easter Bilby is written and illustrated by M. E. Skeel who deliberately steps away from anthropomorphising. While Walpajirri has a fictionalised adventure, Skeel’s book is based on real animals and this bilby character acts as it would in nature. The Easter connection is tied to the story’s theme of hope and surviving in a hostile environment.
I like the way each of these authors and illustrators has used the same Australian animal to weave very different bilby stories. Bilbies once lived across the Australian continent, but foxes and cats have killed large numbers of them. More information is here if you’d like to help protect these lovely marsupials. Other Bilby Easter books include Ninu Easter Bilby and Bilby’s First Easter.