Bilby is one of the beloved local animals in Australia. This desert-dwelling marsupial omnivore looks like a mix of rabbit and rat, with its mouse-like pointed face but long ears like rabbit. Sadly it is on extinct nowadays.
Bilby is also a cherished character in Australian picture book. Like this one, The Bilbies of Bliss, with a granny bilby at the cover, attracted my attention.
The story is about how a group of elderly Bilbies fight for their own right to live comfortably in the retire home. Bliss, the dream retired home for old bilbies was not as good as people expected. There were strict rules like set-time for dinner, no talking or dozy at the table, not allow to visit each others etc. The old bilbies were much afraid of the Matron, who governed the Bliss in an unreasonable strict and cool manner.
Biba, who moved to Bliss recently, enjoyed the quite quarter, beautiful rose garden and delicious food greatly. However, she felt a bit unsure every time she encountered the Matron in a cross manner.
One day, a new bilby moved in and her name is Nina. Unlike Biba, she felt uneasy and angry in front of the bossy Matron.She was surprise to know that they have to run for the dinner, otherwise they won’t be admitted to the dinning hall. She saw a sad old bilby, Dee, who sat alone in the corner, punished by Matron for constantly fell asleep during dinner, with her head on someone’s shoulder. And there was another bilby, Mr.Bone who was late because he was too old to walk quick and thus not allowed to have dinner.
Nina wanted to say some thing, but timid Biba hold her back because she was afraid of the furious Matron. Nina was angry and upset and locked herself in her room without coming to dinner the other night. Biba started to reflect if Bliss was really a happy place.
Finally Nina came down for dinner and surprisingly she came in with Mr. Bone. The Matron was furious and ordered Mr. Bone to leave saying he don’t have right to eat since he was late. Nina said no and she said,”This Home may appear beautiful, but it is not a fit place to grow old.” What she said touched the hearts of every bilby presented and they all agreed that Matron should be the one to leave You can imagine how terribly angry of the mean Matron. The Matron left and the old bilbies lived happily ever after.
It is a touching picture book, good story and nice pictures. It presents the pain and loneliness of the elder people and their weakness generated by a desire of retire in a beautiful place. It tells about how to guard our own right when facing unfair treatment. To submit to the brutal is not a way to maintain happiness; and by no means can we live with dignity without speak up our rights. And the story also reveals how important to respect elder people in every day life and what it means by Home.