We All Sleep by Ezekiel Kwaymullina ill Sally Morgan

Against pink skies kookaburra calls

Over swaying reeds frog leaps

Against pink skies kookaburra calls

Over swaying reeds frog leaps

Beginning at sunrise and ending with starlight, a child observes their world. The light changes, the animals appear at their ideal time of day, plants wave in the breeze. On each page is a small companion blue bird and a hint of which animal will feature next. Artwork is colourful, simple and complex, full of pattern and life.

We All Sleep is a particularly Australian lullaby, featuring iconic animals and birds, doing their thing in an Australian landscape, watched by an Australian child. It offers an opportunity to introduce our native fauna and flora, while the rhythm of the language is informative and soothing. An ideal gift to send overseas, and to keep close at home. Recommended for pre- and early schoolers. And art students.

We All Sleep, Ezekiel Kwaymullina ill Sally Morgan
Fremantle Press 2015
ISBN: 9781925162684

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

Flying High, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Craig Smith

Flying HighIf a set of wings suddenly grew out of my back, I’d be over the moon! I haven’t told any of my friends about my dream of flying. They’d just laugh at me. Every kid knows there are good laughs and bad laughs. I’m sick of the bad laughs.

Larni struggles at school. Words and letters don’t keep still on the page, and the other kids laugh at her – even her friends. So she can’t wait for the school holidays, when she is going on a plane to visit her Gran up north.
Gran is delighted to see Larni, but sad when Larni says she isn’t good at anything. Gran assures her that she will find the thing she is good at. Sure enough, when Gran sits down to her sculpture proejct, Larni finds that she has a special talent for making things.

Flying High is a short chapter book about self-confidence, and family ties, especially between grandparents and grandchildren.

This is the latest of several books by Morgan and Kwaymullina, a mother-son team, and illustrated by Craig Smith. Each story is a stand alone tale, but all feature indigenous chidlren and their families doing things which all children will relate to – family outings, holdiays, spending time with extended family and so on. As such, these books are not only a wonderful opportunity to engage indigenous children, but also for children of all backgrounds, who are offered so many books with anglo-saxon characters, or where non-anglo characters confront issues of difference. The issues here – learning difficulties, self-belief and family closensess – are universal.

With lots of illustrative support and accessible text Flying High is suitable for junior primary or for older readers who require extra support.

Flying High, by Sally Mprgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Craig Smith
Omnibus Books, 2015
ISBN 978174299070

Available from good bookstores and online.

Magpie Learns a Lesson, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Tania Erzinger

Secretly Magpie felt jealous of her friend.
He could soar to great heights.
He could drop from the sky like a stone.
He could see over a long distance.
Magpie decided to play a trick on him.

Magpie can sing beautifully, but she is jealous of her gentle, kind friend Brown Falcon, for his hunting and flying skills. So she plays a series of mean tricks on him to make him look silly. AT first Falcon tries not to mind, but eventually he gets cross and flies away. When Magpie gets caught in a hunter’s nest she realises, almost too late, the value of Falcon’s friendship.

Magpie Learns a Lesson is a charming lesson about friendship and, in a story with echoes of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, the importance of being honest. The story is brought to life in beautiful acrylic paintings, with the oil sketch paper adding . texture. Rich blue skies alternate with creamy backgrounds and eucalypt greens for the ground and tress scenes, giving a generous echoes of the Australian bush.

A wonderfully Australian title.

Magpie Learns a Lesson, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Tania Erzinger
Omnibus Books, 2015
ISBN 9781742990590

Available from good bookstores or online.

The Memory Shed, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Sheds don’t move on their own. Did Grandma have a bad dream? Is she feeling a bit muddled? Just to keep her happy, I peer through the glass. All I can see are two old cane chairs sitting empty on the back verandah.
‘Don’t worry,’ I say. ‘I’m sure the shed hasn’t moved.’

Grandma wants to clean out er cluttered back shed, and Annie is helping her. But the shed seems to have other ideas. Every time Grandma plans the clean-up, the shed seems to resist. Annie helps Grandma uncover some of the treasures the shed holds – and the memories they bring back – and in the process, they realise that the shed just might be right.

The Memory Shed is a gently humorous story about family, about remembering the past, and about connections between generations. A contemporary story, it also explores the effects of the Great Depression, and life in bush camps.

Illustrations, by Craig Smith, are in grey scale, and appear on every spread. Comprehensive teaching notes are available on the Scholastic website.

Suitable for classroom use and for private reading by emergent readers.

The Memory Shed, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Omnibus Books, 2015
ISBN 9781742990347

Available from good bookstores and online.

One Rule for Jack, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina

This is what I do every morning.
Lock the bathroom door. Turn on the shower. Take off my clothes. Wet my hand. Run it through my hair. Turn off the shower. Come out with a towel wrapped around my waist.

When Jack discovers that pretending to have a shower gets him out of having to have one, he decides to use his one rule – do it badly – to get out of just about everything. But Mum seems to have a solution to everything: when he breaks the broom, she gets him to sweep with a dustpan and brush, when the mophead ‘disappears’, she suggests a toothbrush; and when it’s time to wash the dog, Jack’s really in for a smelly surprise. Maybe Mum is onto his tricks.

One Rule for Jack is a funny chapter book for newly confident or emerging readers. The text is accessible and humorous, and there is illustrative support in the form of grey-scale illustrations by Craig Smith.

Any child who has tried – and failed – to trick their parents will enjoy themselves in this book.

 

One Rule for Jack

One Rule for Jack, by Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Omnibus, 2014
ISBN 9781742990330

Available from good bookstores and online.

Going Bush With Grandpa, by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Craig Smith

I jump in the front. ‘Bye, Mum!’ I yell as we pull out of the drive. ‘I’ll bring you back a shiny gold nugget!’
‘Make it a big one!’ she laughs. ‘Then we can all go on a holiday!’

Pete is off on a bush camping trip with his Grandpa, whose name is also Pete. Both of them are excited about the prospect of finding a gold nugget with Grandpa’s super duper new metal detector. But as well as looking for gold, the pair are spending time together – they play jokes, they sing songs, and Grandpa cooks his speciality – curry.

Going Bush with Grandpa is a lovely story of the friendship and connection between two generations of a family. Pete and Grandpa share a special bond and the reader is given the sense that the real nugget here is that connection – though they’ll also hope, along with Pete, for a gold nugget to be found.

With text by Sally Morgan and her son Ezekiel Kwaymullina, and illustrations by Craig Smith on every spread, the story is accessible to readers in early primary years.

 

Going Bush with Grandpa

Going Bush with Grandpa, by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Craig Smith
Omnibus, 2014
ISBN 9781742990262

Available from good bookstores and Sally Morgan and online.

Charlie Burr and the Crazy Cockroach Disaster by Sally Morgan, Ambelin, Blaze and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, ill Peter Sheehan

Charlie Burr can’t be blamed when a fun prank goes wrong, can he? Well, it seems he can. Even if his sisters pranked him first. And as if upsetting Mum in her birthday week isn’t enough, it seems that there is no chance of beating the school big-boasting, know-it-all, win-it-all, Tim and his cursing bird

It wasn’t my fault. Honestly, it wasn’t!

The joke was supposed to freak out my teenage twin sisters. Not make Mum go psycho!

Lately Mum’s been bugging me to be nicer to Sharni and Tia, She’s always saying, ‘They’re teenagers, Charlie. Teenagers get upset easily. And you go out of your way to annoy them!’

But Mum doesn’t know the twins played a horrible trick on my yesterday.

They sucked me in with a can of my favourite cooldrink – Orange Fizz.

Charlie Burr can’t be blamed when a fun prank goes wrong, can he? Well, it seems he can. Even if his sisters pranked him first. And as if upsetting Mum in her birthday week isn’t enough, it seems that there is no chance of beating the school big-boasting, know-it-all, win-it-all, Tim and his cursing bird. And there’s nothing Charlie would like more than to wipe the smile from the face of the annoying Tim. Particularly if it gives him an opportunity to make Mum’s birthday special. But every idea Charlie – with and without the assistance of his best friend Johnno – comes up with, seems to make everything worse. This could be one time Charlie’s ‘can-do’ attitude might not help.

Charlie Burr and the Crazy Cockroach Disaster’ is part of a series featuring Charlie and his friend Johnno. They are imaginative and enthusiastic young characters living in a community where there is still plenty of freedom for children to explore their own imagination. Charlie’s adventures could have been cooked-up by many a mid-primary-aged child. Children will relate well to Charlie’s ideas as well as to the things that go wrong. The story occurs over the space of a week, but text is further broken up by wandering bird prints. Text is wide-spaced. Cover art is reminiscent of several popular internationally produced contemporary fiction series and aimed at the same market. Young readers, particularly mid-primary boys will enjoy this realistic romp. Look out for other titles in the same series: Charlie Burr and the Three Stolen dollars and Charlie Burr and the Great Shed Invasion.

Charlie Burr and the Cockroach Disaster (Charlie Burr)

Charlie Burr and the Crazy Cockroach Disaster by Sally Morgan, Ambelin, Blaze and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, ill Peter Sheehan
Little Hare Books 2012
ISBN: 9781921714863

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

The Not-So-Goblin Boy, by Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Samuel. What sort of name is that for a goblin? A name guaranteed to get him into trouble with the school and other bullies. All Sam wants is to be like everyone else. Except when everyone is a goblin, with awesome magical skills, that’s no easy thing. Even his loving adoptive parents are goblins. Sam hopes that things will change once he is accepted into the Goblin Academy…

I stood in my room and stared at my reflection in the mirror, fidgeting with my clothes for the tenth time in the last two minutes. I just didn’t look right. I looked like a stupid, ugly human! I glared at my features. My hair was a dark gritty brown colour. No matter how many disgusting liquids I washed it with, it never looked quite like oily black goblin hair. Oh sure, it was so putrid that it stood up at gravity-defying angles all by itself, but that didn’t matter if the colour wasn’t right.
As for my body, it was a mass of disappointment. Goblins had pot bellies, wonderfully long arms for stealing things and short legs for quick getaways. Nothing like my long legs and stupidly proportioned arms.
And don’t even get me started on my face.

Samuel. What sort of name is that for a goblin? A name guaranteed to get him into trouble with the school and other bullies. All Sam wants is to be like everyone else. Except when everyone is a goblin, with awesome magical skills, that’s no easy thing. Even his loving adoptive parents are goblins. Sam hopes that things will change once he is accepted into the Goblin Academy. Then he can make his parents truly proud of him. But success at the Academy is not in his destiny. However, he is recruited by a band of pirates-who-deny-being-pirates. And he discovers that there are much bigger things to worry about than just being the only normal human being left in the world.

Thank goodness The Not-so-goblin Boy doesn’t have and scratch-and-sniff pages, because with all the farts that goblins delight in releasing, readers would be passing out and never reading beyond the second page! And that would be a shame, because The Not-so-goblin Boy is a swashbuckling read, full of goblins, gnomes, explosions (including mega-farts) and wild adventure. There are gadgets and mysteries, secrets and illusions. And beneath it all is a tale about learning to accept yourself for who you are, not who you think you want to be. While this adventure is complete in itself, there are enough threads to suspect that a sequel is planned. Great fun for mid- to upper-primary readers, boys particularly.

The Not-so-goblin Boy

The Not-so-goblin Boy, Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Walker Books 2011
ISBN:9781921720154

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
www.clairesaxby.com

This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

My Country, by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Sally Morgan

My Country is, as the title suggests, a wonderful celebration of country. The young narrator sings, dances, splashes and dreams in her country before declaring, on the final page, “I love my country”. The simple yet beautifully crafted text, written by Ezekiel Kwaymullina, is brought to life visually by illustrations by his mother, Sally Morgan. The protagonist smiles her way through her country…

In my country I play with the Morning Star
sing the earth’s song
fly with the red desert dust…

My Country is, as the title suggests, a wonderful celebration of country. The young narrator sings, dances, splashes and dreams in her country before declaring, on the final page, “I love my country”.

The simple yet beautifully crafted text, written by Ezekiel Kwaymullina, is brought to life visually by illustrations by his mother, Sally Morgan. The protagonist smiles her way through her country, and her smile is returned by all around her – the animals, the sun, moon and stars, even the rocks, the sand and the wind.

This is a wonderful reminder of the connection between Indigenous Australians and their land, and as such is an outstanding offering for Aboriginal children and their families, but it is a book for all children and all Australians about the wonders of nature and the importance of connecting with country.

The author and illustrator are from the Palyku people in Western Australia’s Pilbara. Sally Morgan is renowned both for her artwork and for her books, including her autobiography My Place.

My Country

My Country, by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Sally Morgan
Fremantle Press, 2011
ISBN 9781921696916

This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Sam's Bush Journey, by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Sam loved staying with his nanna, except for one thing.
Her house was surrounded by bush.
Nana liked to take Sam for long walks. But when they got home, Sam’s legs and arms would be covered in scratches from the spiky shrubs that grew in the bush.

Sam and his grandmother, Nanna, go for long walks in the bush. Nanna tells him all about the bush, about safe foods and shelter. But for Sam, the bush is full of danger and annoyance. There are gum trees that might drop their branches on him, and mosquitos and pesky mosquitos at the waterhole. But while his conscious self focuses on the things he doesn’t like, perhaps he is absorbing the teaching Nanna offers. In a dream, he is in the bush and lost. Piece by piece, he recalls Nanna’s words. When he wakes in his bed the next morning, extra-hungry, his view of the bush has begun to change. Bronwyn Bancroft’s colourful illustrations show a wonderful bush, full of colour and life.

Sam takes two journeys in this beautiful picture book. The first is the physical one through the bush, where he sees only the dark things, the potential for danger, the scratchy branches and the itch-making mosquitos. Nanna expresses no disappointment, just keeps providing information that Sam appears not to appreciate. But his dream takes him back into the same country and the reader discovers that Sam has learned more than seemed apparent. Knowledge is passed on and Sam begins to see beyond the obvious and to develop his own relationship with the bush. The message is simple and clear and the illustrations are bright and colourful. In the background are dark figures, perhaps suggesting that the wisdom imparted by his grandmother has come from the land itself. Recommended for junior primary readers.

Sam’s Bush Journey, Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina ill Bronwyn Bancroft
Little Hare 2010
ISBN: 9781921541728

Sam's Bush Journey

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
www.clairesaxby.com

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews. review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
www.clairesaxby.com

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.