Bibliophile | The Quokka’s Guide to Happiness by Alex Cearns

The Quokka’s Guide to Happiness
by Alex Cearns
ABC Books

Unique to Rottnest Island and small areas of the West Australian coast, the quokka is a gentle, friendly creature that is very approachable and very photogenic. With mouths that curve upwards and open to help them breathe and cool off (like dogs), they appear to be smiling for the camera for both celebrities and everyday people alike.

Labelled ‘the happiest animal on earth’ by the Huffington Post in 2013, they have featured in Western Australian tourism advertisements and are magnets for people to take selfies with them. Perth photographer Alex Cearns made several trips to Rottnest Island – to sit quietly with the quokkas for hours on end to get to know them better and take fantastic shots of them in their natural habitat.

These cheeky little critters are the basis for a quirky little book that is a compilation of photographs by Cearns and quotes for making the world a better place. Quotes range from Aesop who reminds us that no act of kindness is ever wasted, to Hans Christian Anderson who is quoted as saying “I shall be of some use to the world … it is the only way to be happy.”

If you live in Western Australia and have a pet, the chances are that you have had some photographs taken by Alex at the Houndstooth Studio, as she photographs around about 1300 animals a year. The Master Photographer has also received numerous awards (including an Order of Australia) for her volunteer work with animal rescue and wildlife conservation. Responsible for next year’s Perth Zoo calendar, her photographs seem to capture the personalities of her animal subjects.

There are strict regulations about not touching quokkas because they are still wild animals and, despite their gentle demeanour, do not like to be handled. Alex includes advice for taking quokka portraits and selfies that including not feeding the protected species as well as information about the unique animals and Rottnest as well.

As Charlotte Bronte says, “Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness – it has not taste.” This is an ideal Christmas gift for a loved one or to send a unique piece of Western Australia to someone overseas. Guaranteed to leave paw prints on every heart.

Alex Cearns will be at Dymocks Garden City on Sunday 13 December from 12 noon to 1pm. A signed copy of this treasure would be a marvelous Xmas gift.

Lezly Herbert

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