Why Koala Has a Stumpy Tail is an Australian folktale about two friends, Tree Kangaroo and Koala. Long ago they were very close, but their friendship soured after the events that transpired during a long drought in Australia. Tree Kangaroo was a hard worker and resourceful while Koala was lazy and selfish. Tree Kangaroo had the idea of digging a hole for water in a dry streambed. Tree Kangaroo started to dig, but Koala kept making excuses about why he couldn’t help dig the hole. Finally, Tree Kangaroo ends up digging the entire hole and when he finally finds water, Koala jumps in a drinks all of it. Emblazoned with anger at Koala’s selfish acts, Tree Kangaroo grabs Koala by his long, furry tail and pulls so hard that it breaks off at the base. Now Koala is left with a short, stumpy tail.
Interest Level: Ages 4-8
Guided Reading Level: I
Lexile Level: 530L
This humorous folktale, retold by Mitch Weiss and Martha Hamilton, provides valuable life lessons in character values about finding ways to be resourceful, sharing good fortune, and being fair with others. Koala's laziness and selfish greed end up damaging his relationship with his good friend, the determined and hard working Tree Kangaroo. As a result, Koala not only lost a close friend, he also lost his long, furry tail.