The Boggabri is an extremely rare Australian mammal. Like its cousin the bunyip, it eats a lot and is very shy. But, unlike the bunyip, it has peculiar teeth that grow longer each day.
To keep them trimmed, the Boggabri chews rocks and other hard objects. It lives in large caves in central Australia, grows to about ten metres and is green with a spotted stomach.
The last person to see one was Ms Alice Humbold in the Nullabor Desert in 1962.
The title page of The Monster Who Ate Australia features a map of Australia and the route taken by Burra the Boggabri on his journey around the country. The first opening offers images of the cities and areas he visits, plus and introduction to the ‘Boggabri-Australis’. Burra’s story begins at Uluru where his long-time home is invaded by tourists of the noisy kind. Burra can’t endure the noise and sets off to find a new home, wandering through the desert, the ocean and city after city. But although there are interesting things to see, and to eat, nowhere feels like home. Eventually he travels full circle and back to his Uluru cave home. Images depict Aussie landmarks including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, events including the America’s Cup, apple-growing in Tasmania, pineapples in Queensland and more.
Michael Salmon has been creating books for young people for many years. It is 30 years since The Monster Who Ate Australia was first published. Although this new generation of readers may not get all the cultural references (eg America’s Cup. Blue Poles), there is plenty of humour to keep them turning the pages. Each image is full of extra information to keep young readers chuckling and returning for another read. There are also subtle references to the impact of tourists on the environment and our fauna. Take a fun journey around Australia with Burra. Recommended for pre- to early-schoolers and beyond.
The Monster Who Ate Australia (30 Anniversary Ed), Michael Salmon Ford Street Publishing 2014 ISBN: 9781925000542
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller