“I can be saved if we slow down climate change!” — Rainbow, Surviving the Wild: Rainbow the Koala, n. pag.
|Remy Lai (author and illustrator)
|Henry Holt and Co.
|Fiction, Animal Comic
|Environmental Themes and Issues
|Animal Rescue, Animals in Danger, Climate Change, Conservation, Drought, Environmental Activism, Fossil Fuels, Habitat Destruction, Natural Disaster, Plastics, Pollution, Sustainability, Wildfire
|Rainbow: A male koala
|Protagonist’s Level of Environmental Agency
|Level 1: Low Environmental Agency
Rainbow the Koala is the second volume in Remy Lai’s Surviving the Wild series, which teaches children about environmental issues affecting wildlife around the world. The comic stars Rainbow, a male koala born in the Australian outback. As a joey–or baby koala–Rainbow has a mostly idyllic life with his mother. Only a few signs of environmental degradation affect the koalas: a lack of rain dries out the gum leaves that Rainbow’s mother relies on for food and leaves the koalas thirsty. After Rainbow’s first birthday, however, he leaves his mother to live independently and struggles to survive in the polluted, drought-stricken forest.
Rainbow’s desperate search for water brings him in close proximity to the humans who live near the forest. He almost gets run over by a car and nearly drowns in a swimming pool. After humans rescue him, he flees back into the forest and into the path of a raging bushfire. The fire destroys most of the forest and kills many of the wild animals, but Rainbow survives by climbing a tall tree. A human rescues the koala and takes him to a rehabilitation center to help him recover from his burns before releasing him back into the wild.
Rainbow the Koala is inspired by true events that occurred during the 2019 and 2020 bushfires in Australia. The comic explicitly links the fires to climate change and suggests ways that young readers can help, such as conserving household energy. Similar messages about climate change and environmental activism appear in the first comic in the series, Star the Elephant.