Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 5 November 2021

New release: Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths

Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths
Julie Murphy & Ben Clifford

Ben Clifford, Tasmanian illustrator, provides insights into his investigations of this tiny marsupial and the research undertaken to capture and enthral young readers through rich and detailed art work to illustrate Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths.

Published by CSIRO Publishing, Julie Murphy's story of the life cycle of the Mountain Pygmy Possum depicts a non-fiction tale of the good and troubled life this tiny creature deals with.


Until 1966 The Mountain Pygmy Possum was thought to be extinct. This tiny survivor lives high up in the harsh cold Australian alps building its nest, raising its young, feeding on seeds, bugs and berries. But most importantly its diet requires the scrumptiously crunchy and fattening Bogong Moth.

© Ben Clifford & CSIRO. Internal pages from Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moth 

As well as hunted by foxes, feral cats and predators in the air, it also has another killer to contend with. Perhaps the most dangerous of all. Humans. For the Mountain Pygmy Possum to survive hibernation the Bogong moth is a major food source that humans are removing. However, probably like you, I do not delight in feeding on the moth at my local restaurant with chips and salad or sprinkling them on my oats. But I do like being able to see at night. Whether it's on the porch, working outside or leaving the light on for a visitor to arrive. Unfortunately these moths prefer those lights instead of their regular homes in the mountains where the Pygmy Possum is waiting to have a moth (or two) for dinner. But without this Bogong Moth, surviving the winter for the Pygmy is highly unlikely.

© Ben Clifford & CSIRO. Internal pages from Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moth

The plants, fauna, landscapes and rock texture were a great match for me to illustrate. Billy buttons, alpine mint bush, yellow anemones and the twisted snow gums all have their place among the boulder fields. As we follow the Pygmy's cycle, the flowers and fauna are on display for the relevant time of year. I've researched for other titles I've illustrated so this was another learning experience. It adds to the fun of putting a book together.

© Ben Clifford& CSIRO. Internal pages from Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moth

The 32 pages finish with an overview about the Pygmy Possum with diagrams and further information on how to contribute to keeping this little creature from extinction.

Many thanks to Julie Murphy and all those at the CSIRO.  

Ben Clifford


W: Ben Clifford Art http://www.benclifford.com.au/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/ben.clifford.art/ 

CSIRO: Teacher Notes available

1 comment:

  1. Picture Books are such a great medium to inform - both parents/adults and children. Congratulations on adding to our knowledge of how the ordinary things we do, can impact so severely on our environment.