Review Blog

Jan 25 2011

Savannah dreams by Lolla Stewart and Elaine Russell

cover image

Little Hare books, 2011. ISBN 978 1921714030.
(Ages 3-9 ) Recommended. Aboriginal themes, Savannah and her family go out from Sunday to Saturday collecting bush tucker. Each day they go to a different place, the river, the sea, the bush, the mangroves, the billabong, the hills behind the community and the community store. Each time every member of the family finds something to take back to eat, except for Savannah. Dad finds 5 things, mum finds four things, her sister finds three, and her brother finds two. Each brings back something for the family to share, but Savannah always finds one thing discarded and inedible.
Elaine Russell's striking illustrations show the reader the bush tucker the family gathers, and also the pieces of junk that Savannah finds. Savannah tells her family that each piece of junk she finds is part of a monstrous barramundi, and at the end when the family comes together to feast on what they have found, Savannah shows all her pieces of junk drawn together to represent the spirit of the barramundi and sure enough the next day, when the family goes collecting bush tucker, they find nothing but Savannah lands an enormous barramundi.
The spare prose, brimming with rhythm and repetition, will gather the listeners and readers in to predict what is happening and repeat the phrases as the pages are turned. Not only does the reader see an Aboriginal family working together to collect bush tucker, but they learn about the foods available in the bush, the numbers one to five, the days of the week and a little of the spiritual beliefs of the group. A beautifully subtle book that will find a place on many library shelves, this book will encourage readers to look at things a little differently.
Fran Knight

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