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
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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