Aussie Pop’s Oddities and Oddballs from Downunder

An engaging new book featuring Australia’s fantastic fauna


Our US CEO and expat Aussie, Gary Bates, has written a very special children’s book about some of the amazingly unique design features found in Australia’s diverse and special array of creatures.

Iconic Australian creatures such as kangaroos and koalas are well-known. But, how many outside of Australia have heard about cassowaries, quokkas, echidnas, and puggles? And even that they have some unique design features that allow them to flourish in the ‘Aussie bush’.

Many think about the Australian landscape as just searingly hot, red ochre deserts. This is true for large portions of the country, especially away from the coastal regions, and there are many animals that live in such hostile climates. But Australia also has some quite diverse landscapes such as the tropical rainforests in the northeast that adjoin the stunning Great Barrier Reef. There are also the large eucalypt forests of the southwest, and east, and even the snowcapped alps in the southeast. It is fascinating to see how the various ecological environments uniquely suits the diverse fauna. For example, over two-thirds of the world’s marsupial species live in Australia alone.


The little Aussie super digger, built like a truck!

Australia’s super burrower, the stocky and tough wombat. Unlike kangaroos, her pouch faces backwards so it doesn’t fill up with dirt. ‘Kinda nice design!” See our article on the wombat here.

The book follows the adventures of Aussie Pop and his granddaughters, Bonnie and Hannah, as they traverse the Aussie bush and discover aspects of God’s amazing and imaginative designs that enable the native animals to survive in the varying and sometimes inhospitable climates of the land downunder. For example, Pop discusses the wombat as follows:

“This marsupial is one of my favourites. He’s built like a truck but also has thick, long claws that are ideal for digging their underground homes to escape the heat of the day. The burrows are also a great hidey hole so the dingoes can’t catch them. They are nocturnal, meaning they only come out to feed at night, and being herbivores, they like to eat vegetables, plants, roots, and grasses.

“He has a really tough backside made of thick skin, plus a really small tail. This means the dingoes can’t get a bite on him and pull him out of his burrow. But best of all, the mum’s pouch also faces backwards for a very special reason. You see, because she digs, if the pouch faced forward it would fill up with dirt and would smother the joey. We can see that the wombat is perfectly designed by God to do what wombats do.”

And the descriptions of each animal are followed by amusing poems, again with more teaching points.

And unlike any other children’s book that CMI has produced, the hand drawn illustrations are more realistic-looking—drawn by fellow Australian and CMI supporter, Jenny Arms. Most of the animal features are contained in double page spreads so there is also plenty for young ones to explore and find on the pages.

Everyone loves Aussie animals!

That’s true, and such fascinating fauna provide an engaging opportunity to learn about our God the Creator in a fun and engaging way.

Aussie Pop also does not avoid some of the unpleasant things we see in nature, including how death entered the world through sin. But even then, he shows how it is a given task of some animals to act as the ‘clean up brigade’ in the Aussie bush.

Aussie Pop’s Oddities and Oddballs from Downunder by Gary Bates is available now in our webstore where you can view some more layouts.

Don’t forget Gary’s other children’s book, coauthored with his wife Fran called One Big Family: The truth about where we all came from which deals with the oft-asked question ‘Where did the different races come from?’ Available also as an eBook.

Published: 18 August 2022

Helpful Resources

One Big Family
by Gary and Frances Bates
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Exploring Geology with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck
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Exploring Dinosaurs with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck, Gary Bates
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Creation Answers for Kids
by Erin Hughes & Lita Cosner Sanders
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