It’s not easy being rare - and it’s twice as hard when you’re half the size.
Bandit is an African Painted Dog pup. They’re on the verge of extinction and his behaviour isn’t helping. But what’s a pup to do when the adults are off finding food? He and his friends find ways to amuse themselves but where every other thing you meet wants to eat you, making your own entertainment can seriously damage your health.
Painted Pups offers series of bright energetic stories overlaying suburban ‘tudes on a wildlife environment rendering a world that is hauntingly familiar yet excitingly exotic. Full of distinctive madcap humour and slapstick, yet driven by a strong narrative.
The series is set around a waterhole on the African savannah, a place bordered by jungle and mountains: a microcosm of African habitats. The waterhole is a focus for all animal life in the area, consequently out of bounds for the unaccompanied youngsters, but it’s the one place that attracts them with a pull beyond all others.
With Mum and Dad going off to work to bring home the bacon (literally) Bandit, attempts to entertain himself and his friends Hardy Aardvark and Drongo the bird. While his bigger sisters Ukula and Dotty seek to
thwart his fun in order to ‘look after’ him. Their opposing efforts tumble them into one madcap adventure after another. In the wings Giblet, a gastronomically obsessed vulture, keen to dine out in a kind of ‘last-chance-to eat’, personifies that ever present doubt that most kids never listen to; that perhaps whatever you’re doing isn’t that good an idea. If there’s one thing Giblet has it’s a gut instinct or rather an instinct for guts.
With his friends Bandit lives life on the edge pitting his wits against boredom and predators.
Being alive is exciting. Staying alive is an adventure
In Bandit young readers can recognise a fellow spirit as he deals with familiar family and social issues. His adventures, as he explores his environment, it’s wildlife and it’s dangers, also introduce them to simple conservation issues surrounding not just the Painted Dogs but all African wildlife.
Writer. Pat Kelleher
Artist. Andrew Wildman
Bandit's adventures are aimed at 2-5 year olds.
A proportion of all profits from Painted Pups will be donated to relevant charities including The Painted Dog Conservation Project