Gregg Dreise, Mad Magpie Magabala Books, May 2016, 26pp., $24.95 (pbk), ISBN: 9781925360066
This is another beautiful, lavishly and professionally produced book from Magabala. Greg Driesse is a descendant of the Kamilaroi and Yuwalayaay peoples of New South Wales. The story is inspired by a dreamtime tale, but it is also a modern parable. Guluu was a mad magpie, who swooped other creatures. Soon the elders (an emu and a pelican) told the magpie that his anger and aggression would never solve his troubles. Guluu decides to take on some of the advice from his elders, and the book follows the effects of his new behaviour. In the tradition of learning from nature, and bending nature towards human wisdom, this is a lovely tale. The text is large, and occupies a page facing dramatic and beautifully designed full page images of birds and other Australian creatures. This is Magabala’s third in a series of morality tales that feature indigenous writers and illustrators. It is a book that might generate questions and discussion about how we relate to each other, while it will also be a book to be enjoyed for its design, its expressive artwork and its overall beauty as an object. Recommended for 4 to 10 year olds.
Reviewed by Kevin Brophy