Gregg Dreise, Kookoo Kookaburra, Magabala Books, May 2015, 32pp., $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9781921248900
Kookoo is a kookaburra that has a talent for telling stories. All the bush creatures love to gather to listen to his funny tales. One day Kookoo cannot think of anything funny so he begins to make fun of the creatures’ differences instead. The kookaburra’s teasing makes the hearts of his friends sink lower than the belly of the black snake. Soon the animals ignore Kookoo and he realises that his own laughter is not a happy sound. He remembers his elder’s wise words, ‘kindness is like a boomerang – if you throw it often, it comes back often’. From that day on, Kookoo was always kind and his laughter is still heard today.
Gregg Dreise is a descendant of the Kamilaroi tribe and is a well-known performer and storyteller. This Dreamtime story is written as a fable for children with a message of respect and kindness for others. Although there is a moral the language is in no way didactic. The beautiful imagery conjures emotions and the illustrations are bright, bold dot paintings.
Recommended for younger readers to middle primary.
reviewed by Sharon Seymour