Meannie is a fabulous witch, mean, ugly and with a most terrible diet of lizards. Having arrived in Australia during the gold rush she has now settled in the Australian Desert “where there is heaps of dust and plenty of hot sunshine.”
I love the description of Meannie “She wears the usual black raggy dress down to her prickly ankles, but it is coated with thick red dust that dribbles into mud pools when it rains, and makes stains like tomato sauce on her singlet. She also wears the usual witch’s hat. But it has corks tied around the brim to chase the blowflies away and a point that has wilted in the heat…. Meannie’s nose is always an ugly, red, peeling thing that glows in the dark and scares the bats silly.”
Bindii and Mike (names invented for a story written in 1987 long before the Steve Irwin and his famous daughter) also live the Australian desert. They have a pet lizard called Thorny. He is an Thorny Devil and very rare. Meannie has never tasted a Thorny Devil and so she hatches a plan to kidnap him and add him to her cooking pot. Thank heavens for the resourceful and quick thinking Bindii and Mike. Thorny is saved and justice triumphs.
This is a terrific Australian book. I am sure it would be out of print now but I plan to read it to my Second Grade students this year along with the tape I have read by Max Gillies which is delightful. If you like lots of adventure, fast fun and short chapter books with marvelous illustrations (Terry Denton) then look for this little book in your library.