Marlies Bugmann


The Characters of 'Tazzie Tales'

The Thylacine is the central character in the first volume, Thylacine Secrets;
The Swift Parrot plays a big role in the two young friends' lives in Swift Parrot Miracles;
Tazzie the Tasmanian Devil is an unlikely hero 'on the high seas', in Devil Troubles;
Lucky the Tiger Quoll narrowly escapes a wayward fox, in Quolls and Foxes;
Goldie the young Wedge-tailed Eagle finds a caring place to recover from injury, in Eagles in Peril; and
Tasmania's micro bats play a central part in the Halloween adventure of the children in
Sassafras Creek Valley, in Bats at Halloween.

Sassafras Creek Valley map

Map of Sassafras Creek Valley

THE HISTORY OF THE BOOKS

The stories in these six children’s adventure novels set in Tasmania draw upon the rich history and complex folklore of the island. All animals, but especially the main characters—the thylacine, the swift parrot, the Tasmanian devil, the tiger quoll, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, as well as the Tasmanian micro bats—are portrayed within their natural habitat. When first published, the series attracted the attention of places of education both here in Tasmania as well as in the US, where, fifteen years ago, the first of the series, Kangaroo Dog, was published. The comments of the school children were especially precious. They can be read here:

http://tasmanianartist.yolasite.com/reader-reviews-and-comments.php

 The books even prompted two young fans to travel all the way from America to Tasmania, to visit their favourite author; that story is told here:

http://tasmanianartist.yolasite.com/ben-and-dana.php

 In 2004 I embarked upon a twelve-year-long project that took my attention away from The Green Heart Books as they were then known. Developments in the Tasmanian world of animals progressed, which meant that the content of the adventure tales had become out-dated. Thus, I retired the US-published edition, but designed a different cover and placed them as independently published versions on Lulu.com—I essentially ‘parked’ them until a more opportunte time would arrive to update them; that time has arrived in 2017. Although I did not broadcast their new location greatly, readers still found them, and so did libraries, which confirmed that people in general do care about wildlife.

Recent years, especially 2016, brought some very positive reports about a possible vaccine for the Tasmanian devil, the island’s icon threatened with extinction because of a transmissible cancer. In addition, the swift parrot, a rare bird on the endangered species list has also received renewed attention when the hundreds of nesting boxes installed on Bruny Island proved successful in providing safe nesting sites for the parrot.

These three prompts: several developments that are of a positive nature for endangered animals, the continued interest of readers, as well as the conclusion to my translation project, meant that it was time to make 2017 the year of ‘Tazzie Tales’.

 While some aspects are timeless—the care extended to animals by kind-hearted people, how friendships are formed, overcoming adversity, as well as bringing wrong-doers and villains to justice—the new name of the series better reflects the Tasmanian content, and the new individual book titles immediately introduce the particular animal of the story.

Thus, the beloved Green Heart Books became Tazzie Tales. The sixth volume, Bats at Halloween, with the original title of Bat Whispers, was written between 2005 and 2006, and first self-published in 2008 at Lulu.com. Volumes 1 to 5 were initially published by Zumaya Publishing (between 2002 and 2006), and then moved to Lulu.com in 2008.

 Of course, nowadays one does not have to run into one’s office to make a phone call, one simply takes the phone out of one’s shirt pocket; likewise, one no longer needs to wait for a roll of film to be developped, one takes the camera’s memory card and inserts it into the slot on one’s computer to print out the pictures, if a printer is attached. The fact that technological advances resulted in such equipment becoming commonplace, which then made its way into our households, needed to be considered as well.

  Tasmania even now has ‘untouched’ wilderness in its more remote corners, and adventures like the ones Benjamin, Samantha, Rebecca and Geoffrey experience are still possible on this remote, exotic island in the Southern Ocean.

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