‘Come on, Eli!’ shouted Dad. ‘Just throw your jocks in the bag next to your socks – that way you’ll remember to change your jocks as well.’
‘Ahh. Don’t embarrass me, Dad,’ replied Eli.
Ten-year-old Eli was a Noongar-Wongi kid. His mum was a Noongar from the south-west of Western Australia and his dad was a Wongi from the north-eastern Goldfields. Elie was a gentle, shy boy with a birthmark shaped like a boomerang just above his right eye and shiny black hair down to his collar. Eli had four older brothers, two older sisters, two dogs named Bunthar (look out) and Moorditj (solid), and a fat, fluffy ginger cat named Inni (yes).
Perth-raised Eli is going to visit this grandfather (Thamu) and his grandmother (Garbarli) in Kalgoorlie for the school holidays. He’s visited before but this time is extra-special as it’s the first time he’s going on his own. He wants to be just like his grandfather when he grows up. He loves Thamu’s all of Thamu’s stories. This time, Thamu has an extra surprise. They are going camping and prospecting. Eli is keen to learn everything and perhaps to find a gold nugget of his own.
Lucky Thamu is a new title in the Waarda series of stories from Fremantle Press. They are short, action-packed stories for young readers and are supported by online teacher notes. Each title presents indigenous stories and culture. Lucky Thamu is a contemporary story and portrays the special and important relationship that exists between grandparent and grandchild. Their adventure in the bush is enriched by story and shared experience. Recommended for newly-independent readers.
Lucky Thamu , Cheryl Kickett-Tucker & Jaylon Tucker Fremantle Press 2014 ISBN: 9781925161304
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller