Review Blog

Dec 13 2011

Scaly-tailed possum and echidna by Cathy Goonack

cover image

Ill. Katruna and Marlene Goonack, Myron Goonack. Magabala Books, 2011. ISBN 089 1 9212449 19 0.
(Ages 4-7) Warmly recommended. Aboriginal People - Dreaming. This story of the scaly-tailed possum and the echidna and how each came to be, following the echidna stealing food from the possum's pandanus tree, will delight younger readers, for whom the book is a comfortable size to hold. With bright, energetic pictures and bold colours, the book will have instant appeal.
When the scaly tailed possum came down from its pandanus tree, the echidna took its opportunity to climb it and steal the nuts. When the possum returned, it fought the echidna and when the echidna fell, the thorny parts of the tree stuck into him, making him spiky too. He grabbed the tail of the possum and to this day his tail is smooth while the rest of his body is furry.
The story tells the younger readers just how these animals came to be that way, and shows the power of the Wandjina, the great spirit, in meting out appropriate punishment for wrong doings. This is a story from the Wunambul people of North West Western Australia in the Kimberley region, and this story is retold by the Goonack family. Photos at the front of the book shows the story being passed onto the younger generation, while the books is augmented by a superb map and information about the animals in the story and the writers and illustrators. For more information about Magabala's stunning range of books see the website.
Fran Knight

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