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Lit Circles - Primary: Mudlark

About the book

​Mudlark by Michael Stephens

The bird returned Jim's gaze, then darted his dark eyes around. "You're happy, aren't you Mudlark? Do you know what? I am too. I don't think I've ever been happier in my whole life than at this moment right now."


Jim Liddell is different from other boys his age. He lives in the world of his imagination. At home, things are different too. His mother is confined to her bed and thee are empty pizza boxes stacked up beside the kitchen sink. On the last weekend before the end of term, Jim gets to take home the class pet, a rescued mudlark, names Mudlark. Jim's life is about to change forever.

GENRE:  Contemporary


  • Individuality
  • Responsibility
  • Coming of Age
  • Death

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Extension material

The Magpie-lark is a common bird with many different names. It is also called a Peewee, Peewit, Mudlark or Little Magpie. Its name Magpie-lark is also confusing because it is neither a Magpie nor a Lark. It is more closely related to Monarchs, Fantails and Drongos.

Questions for your Circle

  • Jim continually pens thoughts into his Journal - what is the significance of this action? Why do you think it is important in the story?
  • Clyde and Jim both have their own difficulties to deal with - explain how you think they help each other during the story.
  • Draw parallels between Jim and Mudlark. How do their stories intersect?
  • How would you feel if you were given the class pet to look after and something happened to it?

About the Author

undefinedMichael Stephens lives in Sydney, and is a full-time writer when not doing other things. The other things include looking after two children, doing housework, reading, and travelling.

Michael has written adult fiction and children's books, for which he has won several awards. His first children's book, Titans! was shortlisted for the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers in 1993. His most recent, Blat Magic, won the Queensland Premier's Award for Best Children's Book in 2002.