The Bushfire Brumby, by Delwyne Stephens

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

Rachel and Tim visit their older brother, Roger at his farm. While there they meet up with a brumby and Roger agrees that despite the drought which is threatening his own livestock, they can keep the brumby. But they need a name for it. Nothing feels right.

Overturning stereotypes, it is interesting that it’s Rachel who likes the spiders and insects rather then her brother but she is the one wary of the brumby at first.

The Bushfire Brumby is a simply told story yet one with enough tension and drama that will make sure it appeals to a lot of kids. The story also gives a good picture of the effects of drought on country areas. The drought is portrayed realistically and from the description I could almost feel the oppressive heat. The story also gives a good picture of the effect on wildlife like kangaroos and emus as well as the sheep and cattle.

How the children learn to trust the brumby’s instincts and how the brumby earns his name is well handled. The illustrations effectively complement the text. I loved the sad look on the pony on page 14.

The newspaper report at the end is a good touch and will be useful for teachers looking for a variation in text types.

This book is a sure winner for young readers. Aussie Books are to be congratulated for their insight in publishing these highly readable books that reflect Australian life and humour as well as problems associated with our land.

The Bushfire Brumby , by Delwyne Stephens
Published by Aussie School Books, Distributed by Blake Education