Maureen Jipiyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe (text) and Christina Booth (illustrator), Mum’s Elephant, Magabala Books April 2020, 32 pp., RRP $17.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781925936728
This story is a gentle homage to a mother. It celebrates the simple peace and content of sharing quality time, food and drink in the company of friends and family. Gently delivered the narrative simultaneously sets readers a guessing game. Personally I would have liked to see more visual build-up to the mystery object reveal. What is the one possession that mum really cares about and why does she guard it so carefully? This question leads readers to ask what it means to be family, how traditions are preserved and passed on and what are the truly important aspects of life. The wide open orange painted bush and sparse images give hints as to answers. There is a quietness and space in the illustrations that draws readers in to reflect and want to tell their own family stories. A personal story and first picture book from the author, a Kaytetye-Warlpiri woman from Northern Territory.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli