Sally Morgan (text), Ambelin Kwaymullina (illus), Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean-Up, Magabala Books, June 2018, 32pp., $16.99 (pbk) ISBN 9781925360882
This book uses bright, bold illustrations in a modern Aboriginal style to show little readers how rubbish is hurting Australia’s native animals. Goanna Benny Bungarra is sunning himself when he hears a strange sound and goes to investigate. He finds a python with its head trapped inside a discarded plastic water bottle. Benny rescues the python, then hears another cry for help, and then another. Each animal has been hurt by a different type of garbage left in the bush by humans.
This book is a great prompt for conversation with pre-school and young primary-aged children about the human impact on the environment and what we can all do to minimise and even reverse it. It also introduces readers to four Australian animals – goanna, python, crow and kangaroo – as well as the Aboriginal word bungarra, for sand goanna.
Both the author and illustrator of this book belong to the Palyku people of the eastern Pilbara region of Western Australia. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Magabala Books’ Small Seeds Big Reads project, delivering books to children around Australia.
Reviewed by Carissa Mason