Bronwyn Bancroft, Coming Home to Country, Hardie Grant Egmont, February 2020, 24 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760501921
In Coming Home To Country, renowned and respected artist and “proud Bundjalung Woman”, Bronwyn Bancroft, poetically describes her connection to country and visually moves the reader to consider the environment and how we feel about it.
This book is slightly more abstract than many children will be used to, both in the images and the text. While poetic, there is no rhyming, which might be a new experience for some children. It may take a few times reading it for them to make the connections between the text and the illustrations. I would recommend a slow, deliberate approach to this book as it tries to help the reader appreciate the peace of belonging and home.
Coming Home To Country is full of bright, bold illustrations that depict various elements of nature in a more symbolic way. In my government school art classes in the 1990s, I remember being told that ‘aboriginal art’ used mainly earthy tones: reds, yellows, browns and white. This book will help the rising generation (and their parents) see that art from first nation peoples can contain more vivid blues and greens. That these are also very ‘earthy’ tones, representing the water, the mountains, the sky and the bush. Of particular note is the illustration of ‘a majestic downpour’ using many blues and white to depict torrential rain that is a part of many climates in Australia, I found it very dramatic yet refreshing.
I am always thrilled when accomplished artists, such as Bronwyn Bancroft, continue to create works that are aimed at children. It is a true testament to their character and work that they spend time making exquisite and captivating books like this one.
Reviewed by Cherie Bell