Rufus and His Duckbill

Age 6

144 pages

173 x 245 mm


  • Children's Novel

Michael Engler, Dirk Hennig

Rufus and His Duckbill

After a game of soccer, Rufus finds the talking duckbill Sydney, who has escaped from a zoo. His destination: Australia. The precocious animal is convinced Rufus will be able to help him get there. Rufus will never be able to take a living duckbill home, for his mother won't allow any pets in the house. So the first thing Sydney has to learn is to play dead; that way he'll pass as a cuddly animal! Rufus has always been a tidy and well-behaved little boy. With Sydney, however, chaos enters his life. So does the plan to make it to Australia with Sydney to see his father, who is supervising the building of a factory there.

The first attempt to get there ends in the depot of the municipal bus service – although Rufus and Sydney caught the bus that goes furthest to the right, which is after all where Australia is on the map. So they take to the water route – after all, all rivers go to the sea. What they can't possibly know is that they will end up on a lake and be exhausted from pedalling the pedal boat. The fact that his sister Janine sees them while on a class excursion only makes the whole episode all the more embarrassing.

The next day, when Rufus gets home from school, Sydney has disappeared. Could he have set off alone for Australia? Rufus comes across him in the cellar, freshly washed and hanging on the washing line. Sydney, of course, spends hours complaining of the dreadful way he has been treated by Rufus's mother. Now it really is high time for them to go to Australia before anything else like that happens again! They hatch out the craziest of plans, but none of them are any good. Rufus suddenly has the saving idea. Why make things difficult when there are simple solutions? After all, Daddy flew to Australia in an aeroplane. Rufus and Sydney also ought to be able to manage that – especially as Rufus knows what a boarding ticket looks like. So he paints one and off they go to the metro. It has a big airport sign on the front, so it is sure to get them there. Once at the airport, they are not sure what to do next. Luckily Rufus is spoken to by an elderly couple flying to Australia. They chat a little and are still talking when the grownups check in. Nobody takes any notice of a little boy called Rufus. That way he manages to get on board the plane. The couple think a flight attendant will be taking care of Rufus and the flight attendants think he belongs to the couple. This little matter is sorted out at the stopover - Rufus's parents are notified and his father is waiting for him at the airport in Sydney.


  • Bestselling writer Michael Engler now with Thienemann ("We Two Belong Together")
  • Warm-hearted, exciting and hilarious for story time
  • Sydney, the platypus: a lovable character

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