Jaylon Tucker, Cheryl Kickett-Tucker, Jessica Lister, and Tjalaminu Mia, Bush and Beyond: Stories from Country, May 2018, 136pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781925591132
This collection of stories, featuring grandparents and replete with indigenous mythology, is an enjoyable read for middle primary students. The stories have kids taking adventures, tramping through the bush, and include black and white line drawings. Indigenous words with English translations – such as koolbardi (magpie) and doornart (parrot) – add to the cultural learning.
My personal favourite was the scary tale of the woordatj; a hairy creature that lives in a cave.
‘One of his jobs is to make sure children behave themselves and listen to the wise things their Elders tell them. If you don’t…’
Nan’s voice trailed off.
‘Then what, Nan?’ asked Sarah quickly.
‘Then at kedalak (sunset) the woordatj comes with an old sugar bag to look for naughty koolongka (children). So – barlay! (watch out!)’ p74-75
Bush and Beyond is one of three in a series, with the companion titles Cyclones and Shadows and Eagle, Crow and Emu. The books could work as a great jumping off point in the classroom for indigenous studies, particularly in conjunction with the recently published Sorry Day by Coral Vass.
Reviewed by Heather Gallagher