Jasmine Seymour (text) and Leanne Mulgo Watson (illustration), Cooee Mittigar: A Story on Darug Songlines, Magabala Books, Australia, November 2019, 48pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925936865
The title says, ‘Come here Friend’ and welcomes the reader to Darug country, the lands of the Greater Sydney Basin.
Through the voice of Mulgo (black swan) the reader is shown how to see through present day suburban sprawl and motorways to read this land’s natural rhythms, as it was and as it still is if we take time to carefully look. The reader will learn that wombat babies come out with the flannel flowers and what to look for when the wattle bush blossoms.
Gorgeous paint and print tones combine in a style both contemporary and traditional to create pace and season with plenty of page layout left for dual language vocabulary. Artist Mulgo Watson says the ochre colours have cultural significance for me, red and yellow ochre, white and black.
There is not only a beautiful balance of a year passing but an achievability about this book. It gives all ages and cultures access to local knowledge and the generosity of a shared ownership in this UN Year of Indigenous Languages.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli
Read Liz’s interview with illustrator Leanne Mulgo Watson here