Samantha Wheeler, Devils in Danger, University of Queensland Press, August 2021, 192 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781925820898
Killarney wants to be a hairdresser, like her mother. She puts up with school, has some close friends and a happy home. Killarney and her family are realistically drawn. One night Killarney hears screaming under the house. She discovers that there are Tasmanian devils living there, and with the help of April, a professor at the local university, she falls in love with the creatures. She sets out to make their survival her responsibility despite the misinformation and lies told about them, and the serious threat from the dreadful facial cancer which threatens all Devils – Devil Facial Tumour Disease – DFTD.
The author convinces us what pretty (yes, I know it seems a stretch) and charming creatures Devils are, and Killarney’s planning to save them is absorbing. Wheeler has done the same thing for Wombats in Wombat Warriors, which won the Wilderness Society’s Award, and other novels for children about Australian wildlife. There is advice given at the end of the book to those who would like to assist in the preservation of these unique animals.
Reviewed by Stella Lees