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


H20 – Stories of Water, compiled by Margaret Hamilton

In her poem My Country, Dorothea Mackellar described Australia as a land of ‘beauty rich and rare’; a land of ‘droughts and flooding rain’. These characteristics have shaped our land and our people. Although it is the driest continent on the planet, Australia is an island continent surrounded by water and most of us live on or near the coastline.

These were the thoughts which shaped Maragret Hamilton’s decision to compile a book of stories about water, a collection which drew contributions from some of Australia’s finest children’s authors.

These nine tales, whilst all focussing on the single theme of water, explore the very depth of that subject. Water can be life or death, passion or defeat, and all of these extremes, and more, are explored here.

Several of the stories deal with family holidays to the beach, a reflection of the importance of these events in Australian life, but each has a different focus. In Promise Simon French shows a dysfunctional family holidaying in the town where the father was born – and the power of the river there to bring past and present together. In Lost Boat Alan Baillie gives a modern-day take of the boy who cried wolf theme, as a group of bored kids play tricks on other beachgoers.

The pacing of this collection is good – with each story standing well alone, but also building an awareness of the power of water in all its moods. Readers will be moved in places, shocked or scared in others and amused in still others.

This would be a wonderful collection for classroom use, tying into themes of water and the environment, but it just as approptiate for individual reading.

H2O: Stories of Water, compiled by Margaret Hamilton
ABC Books, 2005