Mulga Bill's Bicycle and Other Classics, by A.B. Paterson, illustrated by Bruce Whatley

Whilst it is important that young Aussie readers are constantly offered new and contemporary reading material, it is also important that they are offered a glimpse into Australia’s literary heritage. This new release from ABC Books offers just that, with a nicely illustrated collection of the best of A. B. (Banjo) Paterson.

The collection includes both poems and short stories, and includes some that children may be familiar with – including Waltzing Matilda and Mulga Bill’s Bicycle and others which they are unlikely to have come across, including Weary Will and The Geebung Polo Club. There are offerings which offer an insight into Australia’s past, exploring rural life, transport, and more – including In the Droving Days and Arrival at Illalong – and others which kids will love for their humour – including The Bush Christening and The Man from Ironbark.

The black and white illustrations by Bruce Whatley bring the tales to life, using a combination of serious illustrations and comic-style humorous pictures. There is also a brief biography of Paterson.

This a collection which would be great for classroom and library collections, but would also be wonderful addition to any child’s home library.

Mulga Bill’s Bicycle and other Classics, by A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson, illustrated by Bruce Whatley
ABC Books, 2005

The Man From Snowy River, illustrated by Freya Blackwood

There was movement at the station, for the word has passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

Few adults – whether parents or teachers – would not be familiar with Banjo Patterson’s classic ballad telling the tale of the brave ride of the young man from Snowy River and his hardy mountain pony. With this skilful rendering of the tale into a beautifully illustrated picture book, the story can now be shared with a new generation of readers.

Talented young illustrator Freya Blackwood has skilfully drawn the horses and the horsemen, with a sense of the time and place in which Patterson’s tale is set. The horses are wiry and each different, as are the horsemen, and the colours of the Australian bush flow from the endpapers, through the mountains, ridges and tree-filled plains.

Suitable for home or the classroom, this one is likely to especially appeal to male readers and all lovers of Australian bush poetry.


The Man From Snowy River, by A. B. ‘Banjo Paterson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood
Scholastic, 2004