This particular story of the series takes place in the heart of Australia, near Alice Springs and Uluru. Frederick encounters George, an Aborigine boy, and Madeline, a girl of European heritage, who teach him about this area of the Outback in the Land Down Under.
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Spin the Globe: The Incredible Adventures of Frederick von Wigglebottom
Dreamtime in Alice Springs
By Edward Moldenhauer, Kenn Yapsangco
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2014 Edward Moldenhauer
All rights reserved.
When Frederick awoke, he was in a very dry place. Each time he awoke from a "spin," he knew it would be a totally new and incredible adventure. Once he got his bearings, he looked about and thought he saw a kangaroo bounce by. "Oh, I must be in Australia," he exclaimed, and when he opened his journal, there was a map of Australia. But this part of Australia was much drier and dustier than he imagined. Frederick knew he needed to find some help in figuring out exactly where he landed in Australia.
Then he spied a young boy walking by. "Hello," Frederick called. The young boy heard Frederick and walked over. "G'day, mate, can I help you?" the boy replied. "Yes, my name is Frederick, and I seem to be lost. I know I am in Australia, but I am not sure exactly where. What is your name?"
"My name is George, and you are in Alice Springs, mate, in the Outback. What brings you here?"
"I am an adventurer and explorer," Frederick explained. "I travel the globe, looking to meet new and interesting people like you. Are you from here?"
"Sure thing," said George. "I am an Aborigine. My family has been here since the Dreamtime."
George had very dark skin but soft, caring eyes. "The Dreamtime?" asked Frederick.
"The Dreamtime stretches back into the very distant past when the creator ancestors traveled across the land. No one really knows how long ago that was, but it is before anyone can remember. So you could say my family has been here forever!"
"Where are you going now, George? Can I come along?" Frederick asked just a little unsure, seeing that he never met someone who had been there forever before.
"I was just going to meet my friend Madeline for some tucker. Want to tag along?" George said.
Frederick thought why not. "I would like to meet Madeline and Tucker."
"Oh, you are a funny one, Freddie. Tucker is what we Aussies call food!" George replied with a chuckle. "Try to keep up. I walk faster than a wallaby can hop!"CHAPTER 2
On the Way to Madeline's
As Frederick followed George, he asked what is was like being an Aborigine and living in Alice Springs. Frederick had seen movies and read other books about Australia, but he wanted to learn more, especially about Aboriginal people and living in the Outback.
George explained that sometimes people thought all Aborigines wore white body paint and danced about, throwing boomerangs and playing the didgeridoo. He explained that the ceremonies where they wore body paint and danced still occurred but were saved for special celebrations.
George said that he had tried throwing a boomerang, but it was not as easy as it looked. He just could not get the knack of having it come back to him. It took a lot of patience and practice.
His brother, Benjamin, could play a didgeridoo pretty well and practiced with one of his uncles. Benjamin was asked to play at a lot of different events, both for the family and even here in town.
Frederick asked about George's name. "Are you named after your father or grandfather?"
Frederick told George that he was named after a German king, Frederick the Great, and that his name means "peaceful ruler."
George said that most Aboriginal people have two names. The first is their traditional name and then there is their European name. "I am a member of the Arrernte people, and my name is actually Ganan, which means 'from the west.' My mother thought I looked like her uncle that came from the west. My brother Benjamin's name is Banjora, which means 'koala.' When he when was born, my parents thought he looked like a koala." George chuckled.
"Almost everyone in my family uses their European name, except when we are at a ceremony or speaking with the elders in our community."
"So, George, what is for tucker?" inquired Frederick.
"You are a jokester, Freddie. We still call it eating your lunch. Tucker is just what we call the food!" replied George with a laugh.
"I was going to stop at the grocer and pick up some sandwiches. They have all types to choose from, like ham, chicken, or tuna. Plus, we can grab a bag or two of crisps and a few bottles of soda or water," George continued.
"That sounds great. I was a little nervous about eating kangaroo meat," stated Frederick.
"Oh, we still eat kangaroo sometimes, but we call that bush tucker. My family will eat special bush tucker at parties. We have meats like roo, goanna, and emu, but we have delicacies like witchetty grubs and fruits that we collect on walkabouts. It is all very tasty," George explained.
"Usually for dinner we eat meat pies or some type of meat or chicken, potatoes, and some type of veggies," he said.
"What is a walkabout?" asked Frederick.
"A walkabout is just what it sounds like—to walk about. We sometimes take a walkabout that can last a week or more. You just walk, look around, stop and smell flowers, chase a goanna or emu, collect some tucker, or take a nap until you are done."
Frederick thought about this for a minute and then said, "I would try the fruits and vegetables, maybe even some different types of meat, but I think I would have to steer clear of the goanna and grubs!" Frederick said, making a sour face and holding his stomach.
"My family cooks a lot on open fires or the barbie, that makes the meat taste great! Some of the food might taste different if you weren't used to it, but it is all delicious," finished George.CHAPTER 3
Frederick was intrigued by George's explanations about the type of food he ate and about his name. Now he wanted to learn more about the area.
"What it is like growing up here in the Outback, George?" asked Frederick.
"Well, Freddie, it is pretty bonzer. Here in Alice Springs, we have lots to do, and when it gets hot, we can go take a dip in the springs."
George went on to say, "My people, the Arrernte, have lived in the Alice Springs area before it was even called Alice Springs. The mountains around town are called the MacDonnell Ranges. My people say that the mountains were formed during the Dreamtime by giant caterpillars.
"The town first started as a station for the camel trains that crossed through the desert of the Outback. The camel trains were eventually replaced by the Ghan, the locomotive train that still passes through town," George explained.
"The funny thing is that each year, Alice still holds the Camel Cup race. Boy, is it funny watching those camels race around the track.
"Alice is almost smack-dab in the center of Australia. That is why we call this area the Red Centre," George went on. "Most European people came here to be ranchers to raise sheep or cattle, not like the blokes who were convicts sent to Australian prison colonies instead of going to prisons in England. They were rough ones back then. Then they discovered gold east of here, so more and more people came.
"My grandfather told me that during World War II, Alice was a big army base too."
"But once you get out of town, it can become pretty remote. You can go on a walkabout and not see a person or house for days."
"That sounds like a really fun hike but also a little scary and maybe a bit too long for me to be away from home," answered Frederick.
George went on to say, "There are a lot of interesting and different animals that do not exist anywhere else. From kangaroos to wallabies and echidnas to birds like emus, kookaburras, and cockatoos, and everything else in between, like dingoes and goannas—the list is truly Aussie," explained George.
Excerpted from Spin the Globe: The Incredible Adventures of Frederick von Wigglebottom by Edward Moldenhauer, Kenn Yapsangco. Copyright © 2014 Edward Moldenhauer. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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