GIANNONE, Rose (text) Bern Emmerichs (illus.) What’s Your Story? Berbay Pub, 2013 unpaged $24.95 ISBN 9780980671155 SCIS 1641843
It’s hard to know just what to make of this book, with its potted history of Australia since the arrival of Europeans, and its message that everyone has a story to tell. The illustrations sweeping across the pages are non-naturalistic and quite confusing; for example, a cutaway picture of the ship on which they arrive shows the deck and three levels packed with people – but those on level two are upside down (why?), and when a young immigrant is surprised at his first sight of a kangaroo the animal is depicted against a background of scattered leaves and over 40 different birds. There are very strange design decisions throughout: the front endpaper has a frieze of soldiers numbered 20–40, on the back one the numbers run from 17-21 then 1-18. The message to ‘tell your own story’ cannot be criticised, but there are more effective ways to convey it.
reviewed by Jo Goodman