KWAYMULLINA, Ambelin (text) Leanne Tobin (illus.) The Lost Girl Walker, 2014 unpaged $24.95 ISBN 9781921529634 SCIS 1661515
This is a new work by Ambelin Kwaymullina, and, although this title has a different style, she is still teaching us by telling a story about respect for the environment, having courage and finding our way home to our elders. ‘The girl has lost her way’ and while at first she waits to be found she follows a crow to find water and food and her way back home. The spiritual nature of the environment is affirmed when her brother asks ‘Were you scared?’ and the girl replies ‘I was with my mother. When I was thirsty she gave me water. When I was hungry she fed me. When I was cold, she warmed me.’
It is Leanne Tobin’s first picture book, beautifully created and designed it showcases the landscape and imparts a strong sense of place. The ‘lost child’ motif has often been represented in Australian art and literature but usually from the colonial experience. This is a refreshing and authentic indigenous perspective.
reviewed by Christine Oughtred