Aunty Patsy Cameron (text) and Lisa Kennedy (illustrator), Sea Country, Magabala Books, June 2021, 40 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925936032
This picture book is set on Flinders Island in Bass Straight, and shares with us First Nations’ stories, knowing and traditions. Aunty Patsy grew up there and was taught these by her family. We are taken through the seasons on Flinders Island, shown some of the things the Country can tell its people. There are signs about changes in the weather, seasons, and food if you know where to look and how to listen. Both the author and the illustrator can trace their family tree back to a shared ancestor – Mannalargenna of the Pairrebeene/Trawlwoolway clan.
The book is beautifully illustrated with soft water colours which perfectly reflect the topic of each double page spread. The spread about summer glows with yellows – you can almost feel the heat coming out of the page. There are colder blues, purples, and greens for the cold clear water of the Bass Straight, and brighter colours for the clothes of the children.
This would be a good book to share with children of all ages, especially those who live in and near this Country, so they gain a better understanding of this place and why we need to care for it.
Recommended for public, primary and pre-school libraries.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kemble