Review Blog

Oct 11 2011

Bunjil the eagle : a story from Jaara community by the Jaara community with Liz Thompson

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Sharing our stories (series). Pearson Education. 2011 ISBN 978 1 4425 4688 2.
(Ages 8+) Recommended. Aboriginal folklore. A creation story from the Jaara people of Victoria, this tells of the strong rivalry between the crow and the eagle. Their rivalry caused volcanoes to spring up, and lava to flow, and explains why the mountains and lowlands are where they are today. It also explains why the eagle remains in the sky above the highlands while the now black crow resides in the lowlands, and why the bat only comes out at night.  This story not only explains the layout of the landforms in the area around Ballarat, but also why these birds are all totems to the Jaara people and so are never to be killed.
As with the others in this fine series of 14, Sharing our stories, the introductory pages tell a little of the place the stories are set, and where the Jaara people live, before introducing the storyteller, Brien Nelson.
The vibrant illustrations by the students in the area of the Jaara people, between Echuca in the north and Ballarat in the south, are an absolute treat, adding to the story. At the end of the book are several pages with the students' own words, and those of several of the elders. In this way students can gain some insight into how Aboriginal people have been treated in our shared history. A brief but serviceable index is augmented by a glossary added at the bottom of each page, defining the highlighted words. This is a most useful addition to the classroom.  More about this series can be found at this website.
Fran Knight

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