Pirate is a lost baby kookaburra. He befriends a colourful bunch of dogs and a cat. His sense of fun turns their life upside down. But at the same time, the dogs' survival skills and the cat's wisdom take Pirate on a journey that changes his life forever. Pirate grows up. He learns to stand up for himself, to overcome fear and to care for his loved ones.
This story has it all - action, adventure, fun, passion and warmth.
A thunderstorm had just passed over the little farm house. You could still hear a faint thunder, rolling up the valley of Tantaraboo. The rain had dumped lots of water onto the backyard with its tiny vegetable patch and dozens of flower pots. The vegetables and the flowers weighed down by heavy water drops looked sad, as if they were crying. But soon they would suck in the water, stand up straight again and look more beautiful than ever before.
Not so the little bird standing between the lettuce and the carrots. It was soaked, its feathers pointing away from its shivering body like crooked needles.
“What the blooming tail is it, mate?” Buddha asked. Buddha was the black cat who knew almost everything. He knew instantly what kind of baby bird it was he was looking at. But he pretended not to know, because he wanted to tease the dogs. The dogs would not know the answer, Buddha knew that. In his opinion dogs knew nothing and they definitely were stupid.
“I don’t know,” Hoover answered. Hoover was the neighbour's dog. “But it looks like lunch to me,” he quickly added and leaped forward, his mouth wide open. Just before his fat paws would crush the little bird, Ajax unexpectedly made a dart for the bird, picked it up and threw it into the air.
“It's a great toy,” Ajax said. Ajax was the other neighbour’s dog. He wagged his tail, swayed his bottom back and forth, ready to jump and catching the bird midair. Ajax was not aware of Stelze sneaking up on him from behind. Stelze was the dog who belonged to the farm, like Buddha, the cat. She placed her big paw on Ajax’s tail as he jumped.
“Ouch!” he yelped and fell flat onto his snout.
“It is not lunch and it is not a toy,” Stelze said with her deep and firm voice.
With a splish-splash the soaked bird landed on her snout.
“It’s a baby bird,” she now said as softly as she could.
Buddha rolled his eyes. “It's a kookaburra, mate. They are birds you only find here in Australia and also in New Guinea. They eat fish, frogs, lizards and snakes.”
“Yuk!” Ajax said, shaking his head.
“Yum!” Hoover said, licking his lips.
Buddha started to yawn. He seemed to be bored with lecturing the dogs about Australian bird life. But looking closer you could see that he enjoyed it. “Yeah, mate,” he concluded, “it is a bloody kookaburra.”
“It's a baby,” Stelze said again, her eyes crisscrossing, trying to focus on the kookaburra sitting on her snout. Stelze was a very tall dog. Her legs were longer then the longest stilts. And because she was a Doberman dog of German origin, her name was Stelze, the German word for stilts. She actually was not as stupid as Buddha liked to portray her. She was an old dog and her life had taught her a lot of valuable lessons. She was smart and wise. She knew what was bad for her and she knew what was good for others. She had a big heart for all creatures of the world. “Do you have a name?” she asked the kookaburra as gently as possible so she would not scare it.
“Pirate,” the kookaburra peeped, his eyes wandering from Hoover to Ajax and back to Buddha.
Stelze could sense that Pirate was a bit scared. “Don't worry about them, Pirate,” she said. ”They are my friends. They won't do you any harm. Ajax just loves to play. Hoover is always hungry and just eats anything that has flavour. But by now they know that you are neither a toy nor a sandwich.” She looked at Ajax and Hoover with stern eyes. “Don't they?”
Ajax and Hoover nodded.