The boy stood beneath the tree and looked up at the chattering birds.
They were truly beautiful. The cracking and clacking as they kissed and canoodled, so powerful yet so gentle.
The boy does not like his new home in Australia, far from the life he had back in England. But one thing he does love is the big gum tree in the middle of his father’s wheat field. Every night at dusk the cockatoos come home to roost in the tree, chattering and canoodling and dropping white feathers. But his parents don’t like the tree, which will be a nuisance come harvest, nor the birds, which may strip the crop and soon the boy can only watch as his father fells the tree and the birds lose their home.
Finding Home is a beautiful but confronting picture book for older readers, exploring issues of destruction of the indigenous landscape, environmental responsibility and family relationships. The boy’s connection with the birds and their tree home, far deeper than his parent’s connection with the land they are farming, shows him that there are more important things than financial security, and even more important things than family loyalty.
The illustrations, too, add layers of meaning, with a glimpse of a personal tragedy in England not fully explained, allowing inquisitive readers the chance to construct back story.
An insightful exploration of environmental issues.
Finding Home, by Gary Crew and Susy Boyer (ill)
Ford St, 2009
This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.