The Rainbow and Who Saw Turtle? by Ros Moriarty, illustrated by Balarinji

The shark with the glinting, pointy teeth saw Turtle.
The octopus with the dangly, stretchy tentacles saw Turtle.

As Turtle makes her way across the sea, the reader is asked ‘Who saw Turtle?’ giving an element of interaction to this delightful tale of a turtle travelling to lay her eggs. The illustrations, too, are interactive, encouraging both prediction and a close examination to see previous animals repeated.

Who Saw Turtle is beautiful picture book offering from Ros Moriarity, with indigenous artwork from the Balarinji studio. Together with The Rainbow, it offers both simple text and rich visuals, perfect for very young students and second language learners.

An important inclusion in both books is a back of book translation of the text into the Yanyuwa language, spoken by families in Borroloola, in the Northern Territory. Such use of traditional language is vital not just for the speakers of that language, but for promoting Australia-wide awareness of the existence and importance of the many languages of our first peoples.

In paperback format, this pair will be enjoyed for its simple, engaging text and rich, bright illustrations.

Who Saw Turtle? ISBN 9781760297800
The Rainbow, ISBN 9781760297794
both by Ros Moriarty, illustrated by Balarinji
Allen & Unwin, 2018

Splosh for the Billabong by Ros Moriarty ill Balarinji


for the billabong at shady bend of river


for the billabong at shady bend of river

Splosh for the Billabong begins at a shady bend of the river during a northern Australian day. There are animals and plants to observe in and around the billabong, and when the rain comes and goes, there is mud to squelch in, mud to draw pictures with. The text is simple, with strong verbs and stylised colourful images. The text is repeated on a final opening, in English and in Yanyuwa, a local Aboriginal language.

Splosh for the Billabong is a perfect read-aloud text that could then be acted out. Children will be acting out the sounds, before making their own mud and creating their own images of the billabong. Animals and plants of the billabong environment are introduced, simply and effectively, as is the concept of image-making to tell stories. ‘Splosh for the Billabong’ offers young Aboriginal children a chance to see their own world reflected in story, and all children the opportunity to ‘visit’ a billabong. Recommended for pre- and early-schoolers.
Splosh for the Billabong, Rose Moriarty, Balarinji

Allen & Unwin, 2015 ISBN: 9781760112127

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

Summer Rain by Ros Moriarty ill Balarinji

First…the land wakes in morning light.

9781760112110.jpgFirst…the land wakes in morning light.

Ros Moriarty and Balarinji present a northern Australian summer’s day. Summer Rain begins with dawn, and ends after the sun is gone. A summer rain shower increases the steaminess, and animals appear to crawl, stretch and swim. Illustrations are stylised and brightly coloured. In the final story opening, dancers appear to enjoy the cooler evening. In the final opening, the text is written in English and in Yanyuwa language. Verbs appear in a larger coloured font.

Summer Rain is a gloriously coloured dance of a story, sure to be acted out in kindergartens and early primary classrooms. It provides an introduction to the climate in the north of Australia and to some of the plants and animals who live there, both on the land and in the sea. Young readers will recognise the animals and plants. Summer Rain is a delight, sure to be a hit with local readers who recognise their own world, and other readers everywhere. Recommended for pre-schoolers and early years students.

Summer Rain, Ros Moriarty, Balarinji
Allen & Unwin 2015 ISBN: 9781760112110

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

Listening to Country, by Ros Moriarty

‘This big land, Australia. It’s big enough for everyone!’ calls Annie Karrakayn across the pre-dawn campfire to the other Law women stirring from the perfect quiet of a still, desert night. ‘Strong Dreamin’,’ she whispers.

This intimate look at a journey across the country and across cultures is a delight to read. Ros Moriarty, cofounder of Balarinji designs, shares her journey, through her married life, to an Aboriginal man with strong ties to his land and people in the Northern Territory, through their business life together, and also through her sharing a journey with her husband’s matriarchal relatives to perform ceremony. These three journeys are intertwined and revealed side by side.

Moriarty’s style enables the reader to share her discoveries about herself and her husband’s people in a way which uplifts and inspires. Listening to Country is a book which calls readers to listen.

Listening to Country

Listening to Country, by Ros Moriarty
Allen & Unwin, 2010
ISBN 9781741753806

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