Children are one of life's greatest gifts, people say – and Janet McCullagh Thomas could not agree more. The delight (and headaches!) that children bring to families' and individuals' lives remain one of the most unique and important things that come to pass as the years go by. The innocence of childhood is one that adults come to envy sometimes, and innocence is something that we must preserve for as long as kids remain children. It is them to whom we project our dreams of a better life and future, and we give everything we can to equip them with the best of things to pursue a better and brighter life for them.
In writing her book, Koala Down Under: The ADVENTURES of Kim Koala, Thomas not only aims to bridge happiness to children the world over and at the same time inspire children that if they try hard enough and persevere, but their dreams and hopes also are possible and within their grasp.
The book is simple enough to follow, with lovable characters, easy-to-understand text, and marvelously colorful illustrations of Kim Koala and her friends. We follow the adventures of Kim Koala and her friends like Ken Kookaburra, Emma Emu, Joe the Kangaroo, Wallie Wombat, Ben the Aborigine, and many more as they travel Australia and discover new wonders and learn many new things along the way.
Character-wise, Kim and her friends give off a very joyful and light-hearted atmosphere that manifests itself as you follow their adventures – a general feeling of content and delight awaits everyone who reads the book, children and adults alike. Thomas's characters are animals that are unique and can only be found in Australia, and, along with Ben the Aborigine, is highly reflective of the author's love for her Australian national background.
Thomas had written her book way back when she was still studying at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. Proudly, she tells us that even the Japanese and other overseas students she met while studying loved the story of Koala Down Under, a testament to the vast and popular appeal that the story has! If university students were able to like it, children would love it even more so.
More than just a children's storybook, Koala Down Under is also tied with Thomas' advocacies; a portion of the book's proceeds automatically goes to the Kids Wish Foundation Aboriginal Children's Education and the Cancer Council. Her love for children and their importance aside, she wishes to bring our attention to the local Aborigines of Australia, whom she has high regard for, describing them as both talented and gentle people. Additionally, the country is notorious for its extreme heat during the summer. Currently, it has one of the highest rates of melanoma cancer, an issue very close to her heart which she aims to spread greater awareness on.
She has jubilantly dedicated this book to her loving daughters, Donna and Michelle, her son Craig, and her grandchildren Hannah, Thomas, and Little Alexander. Kim and her adventures are stories worth reading, which you seriously do not want to miss.