The eucalyptus trees swayed in the
hot summer wind. Mayaís mum spread a green and white checked tablecloth on
the grass. The family picnicked on bunya-bunya, wattle seed bread
smothered in lillypilly jelly, yabby, and dried quandong. As Maya wiped
the sticky jelly from her chin, an electric blue butterfly fluttered past.
She chased it deep into the bush, giggling as its large wings moved up and
down. "Donít wander too far," her mum shouted.
When the butterfly disappeared among
the treetops, Maya noticed the strange shapes of the baobabs. They were
twisted and bent and looked like hungry monsters. She felt frightened when
she realized that she was lost. "I want my mum," she sobbed. Tears fell
from her eyes, rolling down her cheeks to the ground.
"Why are you crying?" Maya turned
around. "Are you lost?" A small kangaroo smiled at her. "My nameís
Boomerang," he said.
"Youíre a joey. Whereís your mum?"
Maya asked, wiping her tears away.
"Come along with me. My mum will
help you," Boomerang said. He took her hand and they walked past a freckle
tree deeper into the woods. "Mum!" he shouted.
A huge red kangaroo hopped towards
them. "Whoís this?" Wandi asked.
"My nameís Maya. My family and I
were having a picnic and I ran off after a butterfly. It was blue. Iím
lost now," the little girl cried.
"Why donít you and Boomerang climb
into my pouch? Weíll hop around and see if we can find your family," Wandi
said. BOING! BOING! BOING!
"Itís warm in here," Maya whispered
to Boomerang. Wandi bounded into the bush. Maya saw pink daisies, yellow
button flowers and trees filled with colorful cockatoos. Wandi stopped to
rest at the bottom of a tall eucalyptus. Maya and Boomerang giggled and
"Whatís all that noise down there?"
the koala asked. "Canít you see Iím trying to sleep?"
"Sorry. Mayaís lost and weíre trying
to find her family. Have you seen them?" Wandi asked. "Youíre high up in
the tree. You can see everything from up there."
Banjori answered, "I canít see
anything but trees. Iíll come and help you if youíd like. Iíve got a keen
sense of smell." The koala climbed down. "Any room for me in there?" he
"Climb in," Boomerang said. "Thereís
plenty of room in my mumís pouch for the three of us." Banjoriís fur was
soft and fluffy and tickled Mayaís arms and legs. Wandi hopped away, going
deeper and deeper into the bush. BOING! BOING! BOING!
"LAUGH! LAUGH! LAUGH!"
"What was that noise?" Maya asked.
Wandi stopped. They saw a kookaburra
sitting on the branch of a gum tree. "Why, itís only a bird!" she said.
"What do you mean, only a bird? Iím
a kookaburra. Itís not every day you see a kangaroo hopping through the
woods with a child and a koala bear in her pouch with her joey. LAUGH!
"Maya was having a picnic with her
family and ran after a butterfly," Boomerang said.
"I got lost. Wandi, Boomerang, and
Banjori are helping me find them," Maya explained. "Do you want to come
and help us?"
"Iíd love to help." She flew down
from the branch and stood in front of Wandi. "My nameís Yindi. Is there
room in the pouch for me?" she wondered?
"Climb inside," Wandi answered.
"Youíre small. Squeeze in next to Boomerang." Wandi hopped off into the
bush, carrying the others. BOING! BOING! BOING!
"Donít ruffle my feathers," Yindi
squawked as Boomerang moved about in the pouch.
"Whatís that hole up there?" Banjori
asked, pointing to a spot near the roots of a paperbark tree.
A small head poked out. "Whatís all
that thumping? Iím trying to take a nap!" Daku, the wombat, snarled.
"Me too," Nimu, a small trap door
spider growled, sticking his head of a much smaller hole.
"And what is a kangaroo doing,
hopping around the bush with a child, koala, and a kookaburra in her pouch
with her joey?" Daku asked.
"Sheís lost," Yindi said, pointing
to Maya. "She was chasing butterflies and lost her family. Weíre all
trying to help find them. Do you want to come with us?"
"What about me?" Nimu asked. "I can
help! Iím small and can fit in places that you all canít."
"Climb in," Wandi said. "Thereís
room for you both."
The wombat and the spider squeezed
into the pouch, next to Banjori and Maya. "Itís getting crowded in here,"
the koala mumbled. "Keep your claws to yourself," he warned the wombat.
Maya looked at the animals and
started to giggle. "This is fun. Youíre all going to help me find my
Wandi hopped into the bush, heading
for the river. BOING! BOING! BOING!
"Banjori, get your foot out of my
ear," Daku whined. "Boomerang, youíre tail is poking me in the back!"
"Stop complaining," Maya said.
"Thereís plenty of room for us all."
"Did you see that?" Boomerang said.
"It was a big snake!" He gulped in terror.
"It wasnít a snake," Nimu said, "it
was a lizard."
"It had a long tongue, just like a
snake, and it slithered," Maya added.
lizard came out from behind the rock. "Iím a skink, if you donít mind. My
name is Tinka," she hissed. A long, blue tongue darted out of her mouth.
"Iím not a snake." She looked at Wandi. "What in the world are you all
doing in the kangaroos pouch? Only the joey should be in there."
"Maya got lost and weíre helping her
find her family. You can come and help us, if youíd like," Nimu said.
"Get into the pouch with all of you?
I know kookaburraís like to eat skinks," Tinka said.
"But you like to eat spiders and Iím
in here. Come and help us," Nimu pleaded.
The skink slithered across the
ground and climbed into the pouch. "Iíll stay over here though, away from
the kookaburra, if you donít mind."
"Good idea. Stay way over there,
away from me," Nimu said.
Wandi hopped away, carrying
Boomerang, Maya, Banjori, Yindi, Daku, Nimu, and now Tinka in her pouch.
BOING! BOING! BOING!
The bush was filled with acacia
trees, pretty flowers and sweet scents. "Iím thirsty," Boomerang
complained. "Can we stop and get a drink, Mum?"
Wandi found the nearest pond. Maya
and the animals crawled out of her pouch. "Iím not drinking pond water,"
Maya said. The rest of the group gulped refreshing sips from the pond.
"Iíll wait and get a drink later, when we get to the river."
"What are you all doing at my pond?"
Kiah asked. The platypus came out of the water. She had bits of reeds
sticking to her soft, furry body.
The kookaburra explained, "We are
helping Maya find her family. Sheís lost in the bush. LAUGH! LAUGH!
"Looks to me like youíre all lost.
Do you have any idea where you are?" Kiah wondered.
Wandi looked at the others. "I
suppose Iím not sure where we are. Iíve just been hopping about, looking
for Mayaís family."
"If youíve been hopping about, what
have all the rest of them being doing?" Kiah asked.
"Weíve been in the pouch," Banjori
"All of you have been in the pouch,
with the joey? How on earth do you fit?" Kiah giggled, trying to picture
them all in the pouch.
"We fit just fine," Daku said.
"Would you like to come with us? We could use some help finding our way
back to Mayaís family."
"It would be rather a tight fit, but
if you donít mind, Iíll come along. I think you need some directions,"
Kiah smiled. They squeezed into Wandiís pouch. "It is rather cozy in
here," she added, moving Boomerangís tail out of her bill.
Wandi hopped away, heading back the
way they came. BOING! BOING! BOING! "Are you sure weíre going the right
way?" she asked the platypus. "I donít remember seeing these macadamia nut
"I donít remember seeing these
pandanus palms either," Tinka hissed.
As Wandi hopped along, she stepped
on something prickly. "Ouch! What was that?" She stopped and looked down.
"You stepped on me!" the echidna
said, rubbing her spines.
"I think it hurt me more than it
hurt you," Wandi said, rubbing her sore foot.
"Youíve gone and bent a few of my
spines, you clumsy kangaroo," Jiba spat. She looked at the pouch. "What on
earth? What are all these animals and a child doing in your pouch?"
"The little girl is Maya. Sheís
lost. Weíre all helping her find her family, though I must say, weíre not
doing a very good job of it. They were having a picnic in the bush. Iím
afraid weíre all lost now," Wandi said, quite embarrassed.
"Do you want to come with us?" Nimu
"Me? How could I ever fit into the
pouch with all of you in there?" Jiba asked.
"Thereís room for one more, but
thatís it. I can hardly jump any more, but if youíd like to help, we could
surely use it," Wandi said.
"Iíll come with you. Iíve been
around the bush and know my way," Jiba said. She climbed into the pouch.
"Ouch! Your spikes are sharp!" Daku
"Iíll try to be careful with them. I
suggest we head to the billabong. We had a rainy season and itís quite
full. We can all have a rest and something to eat," Jiba suggested.
Wandi hopped towards the billabong.
BOING! BOING! BOING!
"Itís beautiful," Maya said, when
they arrived. Water lilies floated on top. "Itís so quiet here. I think
this is a good place to rest."
"Why donít you all climb out of the
pouch and go in search of food. See what you can find and bring it back,"
A while later the group gathered
under a baobab tree. "Letís see what we have here. There are some
witchetty grubs, billy goat plums, bush tomatoes, wild limes, illawarra
plums, and an assortment of roots and seeds. I think thereís something for
everyone here," Jiba said.
"I eat bugs," the skink said.
"Go and dig some up," Nimu said.
"Iíll come with you. I eat bugs too."
"I eat eucalyptus leaves," Banjori
said. "Iíll climb the nearest tree and nibble away."
After they had feasted and had full
tummies, they lay down for a nap. Just then they heard a strange noise. It
was a car honking. "Maya! Maya!" her mum shouted. "We found you!"
Maya jumped up and ran to her mumís
arms. The animals were afraid and darted into the bushes and up the trees.
"I was lost, Mum, but my friends helped me out."
Her mum looked around. "What
friends? I donít see anyone."
"Wandi, Boomerang, Banjori, Yindi,
Daku, Nimu, Tinka, Kiah, and Jiba," Maya said, wondering where her friends
"Who is Wandi and Boomerang?" her
"I think youíre tired. Letís get you
home," Mum said. Dad scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the
jeep. As she drove off, the animals came out of hiding and waved goodbye
to her. She waved back.
"Goodbye Maya," Boomerang sighed.
"Iím glad she found her family. What
about the rest of us? Weíre all together now. I say we stick together.
Itís easy to get around in Wandiís pouch. You donít mind sharing, do you,
Boomerang?" Yindi asked.
"Not at all. I like having the
company. Weíre all friends now. Thatís good," he chuckled.
"Weíre still lost," Daku reminded
"Weíll spend the night here, at the
billabong, and tomorrow morning weíll try to find our way back. After all,
we all know where weíre going, donít we?" Wandi laughed.
"LAUGH! LAUGH! LAUGH!" cried Yindi,
and then they fell asleep as the bright summer moon shone down on the