Brenton E McKenna, Hairy Holes, Magabala Books, April 2023, 88 pp., RRP $17.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781922613189
Brenton Mcenna is a respected Yawuru artist based near Broome. In this book, his comic-book style yarn takes up local desert stories of ‘hairy man’ tricksters and has a lot of fun with the idea.
Harris has a gift for comedy that runs to farce and fantasy. Each of his creatures, the hairy men, the snakes, koalas, kangaroos and wild bulls are drawn with gusto and yes, menace, but the kind of menace that is fun to witness. When the magical but lost and crazy hairy men discover the stumbling tourist, Joplin, the fun begins. Of course they would prefer to eat him, but he isn’t dead yet, so they let him in on the secret of the hairy holes beneath the deserts of the northern Australia, while Joplin introduces them to social media especially to its promise of friendship. But who would befriend two human-eating giant hairy men who hide in hairy holes?
Well, you will just have to dive into this tale that weaves many loose threads through it if you want to find out what’s what in the world of hairiness. And those loose ends might mean there will be more hairy comic stories in the near future. Recommended for visually minded young readers from five to ten and beyond.
Reviewed by Kevin Brophy