Bushranger Bill, by Megan De Kantzow & Amanda Graham

Bushranger Bill loved Tourmaline Lil.
‘Your sweet purple eyes!’ he sang every morning,
‘Your fine yellow legs. Be my true love
And I’ll give you blue pegs.’

Bushranger Bill, a bowerbird, lives in the Australian bush with his true love, Tourmaline Lil. He showers her with gifts of blue (as bowerbirds do) and sings to her every day. But their bliss is destroyed when bad Captain Bluff comes to town. He, too, has eyes for Lil – and he captures her and steals her away. Bill isn’t as mean or wicked as Captain Bluff, but he can be very cunning – and he devises a way to rescue his Lil, so that they can live happily every after.

Bushranger Bill is a humorous, endearing tale set in an equally endearing bush landscape populated with Australian animals. Whilst the birds, of course, are the central characters, there are also appearances by possums, wombats, koalas and kangaroos, and youngsters will love searching for the frog, lizard and mouse who appear in nearly every illustration as delightfully expressive onlookers.

Megan de Kantzow’s simple, yet fun, text, are accompanied by the watercolour illustrations by Amanda Graham, best known as the creator of Arthur. Graham’s characters, as already mentioned, are delightfully rendered, and the double page night scene of Bill creeping in to visit Lil in her prison is breathtaking, with the dark bush illuminated from behind by a full moon.

Little ones will love this one.

Bushranger Bill, by Megan de Kantzow & Amanda Graham
Omnibus, 2006