Bushland Lullaby, by Sally Odgers and Lisa Stewart

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

Bushland Lullaby

Publishers often say they don’t want rhyming picture books but when they are done well as this one is, they are a delight to read. Sally Odgers has been writing books for a long time and she knows exactly what she is doing and it shows.

The language of Bushland Lullaby is rich and lyrical. Children will be introduced to some words with which they may not be familiar and that’s a good thing. Some of the verse is so picturesque. I loved the description of the creek where eddies dance with winking sun and the hushing waters by the river’s smile, where little crocodile sleeps, not to be woken and down in the bush where gum trees thrive, Where the lazy breeze brings scents alive, you’ll find baby koala. Equally as effective a description is that of the baby wombat, Burrowed into an earthy mound, In the summer day when the sun bakes down. The text takes the reader through the day in the wild red desert where the sun’s alight or the sky flings stars in a winter’s night to the ancient calm where little dingo is safe from harm and into the night of sparkling skies.

The rhyme and rhythm works perfectly. It has a gentle lilting feel while each double spread introduces Australian animals and birds. Some like the koala and wombat are well known while others not so much and that’s good.

The illustrations in their muted colours blend perfectly with the text. I liked all the illustrations but particularly the baby platypus lying on its back, the crocodiles, the penguin page, the koalas curled in the fork of the tree, and the fruit bats .The second last page is simply a gem as is the last page, yet they are both very different.

This is a delightful picture book which will no doubt please children and their adult readers. It deserves a place in many homes and libraries.

Bushland Lullaby, by Sally Odgers and Lisa Stewart
Scholastic, 2012
ISBN 9781742831770

Available from good bookstores and online.