About The Book


Inspired by true events.

Come gather, come gather, for Illuka, the koala, is ready to explain how he and his friends survived the 2019-20 Australian bushfires.

Yes, yes, he is, he is! All of the animals in the bush have come together to uncover the truth behind Alinta, the flame, and her dancing orange lights.

Please, join us, join us! Open this classic adventure, and follow Illuka and Bouddi, the sugar glider, as they explore the Blue Mountains and face the black sky.

Quickly now. The family herd is waiting!


What People Are Saying


What a sweet, touching novel! I really enjoyed reading this story, and I found it wonderful to learn about the struggles that many faced throughout the 2019-20 fires. The perspective of a koala – a classic Aussie animal – added a unique touch and interesting twist to the tale, and increased the likeliness of children finding this story enjoyable and funny.

I also really liked the educational photos and information on different Australian animals, and the factual statistics about damage caused by the harsh fires of 2019 and 2020. The little scattered animal drawings – accompanied by the names of the respective characters in the book – helped me to work out who was who, which I found quite difficult in the beginning, as a lot of characters and names are simply thrown at the reader. However, I will say that I loved the Indigenous Aboriginal names that many animals had – including fire itself – and I really enjoyed the nickname given to the firefighters – angels.

Another unique and interesting aspect includes the quotes scattered throughout the book. These inspirational quotes were from famous Australians, such as Cathy Freeman and Julia Gillard, and I thought they really added to the realism of the story.

“You got to try and reach for the stars or try and achieve the unreachable.”
(Cathy Freeman quote)

And then, of course, there was the animals themselves! They were such cute characters, and I loved reading about their journeys. Each character had their own personality, and most of the characters were quite young, making the book ideal for children. The storytelling style also flowed really well, told by Illuka the koala.

“it was his voice. How brittle it sounded. Not like a king, like a slave. Illuka spoke the truth.”
(Omeo’s thoughts while witnessing Illuka)

Overall, this book is well-suited for a young audience or a family with children, though I – as an older teenager – also enjoyed the book. I loved the information on the fires, and I thank the author for the free copy :).

Darce (Read in the Clouds)

Tome Tender Book Blog

A simply delightful and heart-warming tale based on the ugly truths of the true victims of fire, the environmental changes and loss of habitats, FIREWORKS by Oliver Smuhar champions wildlife and nature, as well as the well-being of humanity and Mother Earth.

**Please note: a large portion of the net proceeds from this book are being donated to a variety of charities and non-government organizations across Australia through FireWorks’ Fund.**

Told through the eyes of a young koala, Illuka, this tale recounts his adventure and journey to safety, with the help of a young human man and his own sheer luck as many of his friends survive an Australian bushfire.

Perfect for younger readers or as a family read to enjoy while learning that loss of property for us is so much more for animals in the wild. Adults, too will be ensnared in Illuka’s charming innocence as he is forced to run for his life and learn to cope with new environments. Simply told with an upbeat manner, this tale has an eye-opening message to unveil. Pick it up for yourself or to share!

Told from the heart, Oliver Smuhar has a gift with words, bringing this story to life and endearing his characters in our souls.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Oliver Smuhar! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Dianne (Tome Tender)


FireWorks in Strange Ways
FireWorks Activity Book

Try 'Fire Works in Strange Ways' for FREE!

Fire Works in Strange Ways is an alternate storyline designed to be a sample for the novel ‘FireWorks’. It is a short tale depicting the 2019-20 Australian bushfire season, taking place on December 21st, in the Blue Mountains. The areas, dates, facts and bushfires are all accurate to the real event.

However, before the journey, Bouddi, the sugar glider, would like to say something.

Fire works in strange ways. Yes, yes, it does, it does.
It burnt down my home, it hurt my friends, and now, there’s no escape.
But I need to be brave!

I can fight the fire, yes, yes, I can!
I’ll help everyone who’s trapped inside the burrow.
Because no one, not even a fire can mess with my family.

I’m going to help everyone!

*All audio sounds were downloaded from FreeSound: https://freesound.org

FireWorks Activity Books

FireWorks Activity Book

The FireWorks Activity Book has been designed to introduce the BushWorks series to school student across Australia. The Activity Book includes Find-A-Words, CrossWords, Mazes, Math Puzzles, Colouring In Sheets, Word Puzzles and other fun Aussie activities.


Character Profiles



lluka, the koala, is our keen-eyed hero! He’ll stop at nothing to help his family herd. Although he’s not the smartest critter, his youthful heart and eager pride pushes him forward to always do what’s right. He’ll leave no one behind, whether they’re from Newnes, the Carrai Plateau or the Grose Valley. Yes, sometimes he can be naive, but that is all well and good, as his intention is to help. His fruitful personality is also charming—he’s the bravest koala you’ll ever meet!


Now here’s a smart sugar glider. Bouddi is a gentle one, he’s never quick to judge and he’s always got a plan. Admittedly, he doesn’t talk that much, but that doesn’t mean his isn’t wise. With his yes yeses, and sniffles, this young glider is always one step ahead of the game. The best part about Bouddi is he’s a great listener. If you have a problem, let Bouddi know. He’ll give you the best advice to fix an issue, disaster or even bushfire!




Myaree may only be a little peep-wren, but she’s got a big heart. Nobody can mess with her! She’ll tell the truth, she’ll prove you wrong and she’ll always stand up for what’s right. She's much braver than any other bird, and although she may only have little wings, she’s a fast flier. Okay, sometimes she can get carried away, but she’ll always stick up for her friends, and she’ll never leave anyone behind. Once your friends with Myaree, you’re friends for life.


Did you hear that? Oh, it’s Coda the white-striped free-tailed bat. He can be a little clumsy sometimes, and he’s a bit of a scaredy cat, but he knows his way around the bush. Coda is a true blue scout, well, at least he really wants to be a scout. He always tries his best and when he gets nervous, he’ll crack a joke or two—maybe three. One thing to keep in mind while with Coda, keep him away from dandelions! Seriously.




Hey, there’s no reason to be scared. Kalinda’s a kind dingo, she’s not going to hurt you! She’s only a pup, barely a year old. She’s wise and caring like her mother, but also cautious like her father. Being a younger dingo, Kalinda does not always understand her pack’s rules. Although she’s not a rule breaker, she is open-minded and can sometimes get ahead of herself. What makes Kalinda special is that she cares for all animals, not only dingos, but bats, koalas, sugar gliders and wrens!