Give Me A Home Among The Gum Trees, Bob Brown & Wally Johnson, illustrated by Ben Wood

ohn Williamson sang it, and Don Burke’s television series ‘Burke’s Backyard’ used it as the theme song. In this almost-square hard cover book the familiar song/rhyme is illustrated by newcomer, Ben Wood. Circles on the front cover and inside the back cover suggest a CD, but there isn’t one. In the illustrations, the reader shares in the homecoming of koala and sugar glider as they disembark the plane after their overseas trip. Snaps show where they’ve been, and an old ute conveys them and their gifts for the final leg of their trip home. Their welcome is riotous and wild, calming to a final spread showing possum accompanying a final chorus.

This new ‘Aussie Gem’ series from South Australia’s Omnibus books includes well-known songs and some old stories given an new Aussie twist. Give Me A Home Among The Gum Trees uses two of the four verses and the chorus as a backdrop for a story told entirely in the illustrations. Ben Wood’s delightful watercolour images are full of life, making it very easy to ‘hear’ the bush cacophony suggested. There is a cheerful magpie to find on every page, and myriad other Australian animals to discover. Young pre-readers will be able to follow the narrative without knowing the words. Older readers will enjoy learning this iconic Australian song. There are ‘flock’ sheep on the front cover, just begging to be stroked. Recommended for pre- and early-primary children.

Give Me A Home Among The Gum Trees, Bob Brown & Wally Johnson, Illustrator Ben Wood
Omnibus Books 2008 ISBN: 9781862917651