Stories from the Billabong

Overview

In Stories from the Billabong, a renowned author authentically and elegantly retells ten of Australia's ancient aboriginal legends. Here readers discover how Great Mother Snake created and peopled the world with plants and creatures, what makes frogs croak, why kangaroos have pouches, and just what it is that makes platypuses so special. The illustrations are by the aboriginal artist and storyteller Francis Firebrace, whose distinctive, colorful work is known throughout Australia and beyond. He uses the four ...

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Overview

In Stories from the Billabong, a renowned author authentically and elegantly retells ten of Australia's ancient aboriginal legends. Here readers discover how Great Mother Snake created and peopled the world with plants and creatures, what makes frogs croak, why kangaroos have pouches, and just what it is that makes platypuses so special. The illustrations are by the aboriginal artist and storyteller Francis Firebrace, whose distinctive, colorful work is known throughout Australia and beyond. He uses the four traditional colors of aboriginal art (black, white, red, and yellow), as well as his experiences as a member of the Yorta-Yorta, to make these stories live on the page. A beautiful, imaginative book to open new frontiers in children’s minds, Stories from the Billabong shows a master storyteller and distinguished artist each at the height of their powers.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
This collection of stories comes from the Aboriginal people of Australia where they tell the stories around campfires and waterholes. Each story uses acrylic illustrations from an Aboriginal artist who paints mainly in the colors of black, white, red, and yellow. The illustrations incorporate symbols with specific meanings which are explained at the book's end. The stories take place in the period Aboriginal people call the "Dreamtime" and describe how the world was created, how the kangaroo got a pouch, and how special native plants grew. Each story has some additional information at the end to describe the Australian creature or plant. Also a glossary at the back of the book clarifies words that may be unique to Australia. While it is important to record these stories due to their oral nature, one wonders if the stories would better serve older readers in a beginning folklore or mythology class. The stories' illustrations do not provide enough of a context for younger readers and the unusual vocabulary and sparse illustrations may discourage an older reader. An additional help might have been an audio of these stories since they have an oral tradition. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
School Library Journal

Gr 2-6

With the help of Aboriginal storytellers who have collected the tales and myths of their people, Marshall has assembled 10 fascinating stories of the Dreamtime. Many explain why some things are the way they are: "How the Kangaroo got her Pouch," "Why Frogs can only Croak," and "How the Crocodile got its Scales." Others tell about the creation of the Earth, death, and other universal concerns. Each selection is beautifully told and is illustrated by a traditional artist who uses the distinctive symbols and colors of the Aboriginal people. An informational page follows each retelling, giving readers facts about the subject. Concluding pages offer a brief explanation of who the Aboriginal Australians are and an illustrated spread that explains the symbols and their meanings. This is an engaging, colorful book that belongs in most libraries.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI

Kirkus Reviews
With the permission of Aboriginal storytellers hoping to keep their myths and legends alive, the reteller, most famous for his book Walkabout (1959), has created a collection of ten stories accompanied by information about the flora, fauna and land formations mentioned. The anthology includes stories about the origins of Uluru (once known as Ayers Rock), the kangaroo's pouch, the mountain rose and the scales of the crocodile. Next to the stories, the informational descriptions seem dry, but useful, with their measurements both in the metric system and English units. The glossary, two pages on Aboriginal symbols and a short afterword on the Aboriginal people are good additions to the book. Firebrace is from the Yorta-Yorta group, river people who lived near Victoria, and his paintings of the platypus and the crocodile are especially bold. His images swings from a more traditional Aboriginal style with vibrant colors and distinct, flattened shapes to a softer rendering of flowers and insects. Due to the oral transmission of the stories, no written sources are included. A welcome and important addition to folklore collections. (Folklore. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847801241
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/24/2010
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 716,391
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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