Review Blog

Oct 05 2012

Bubbay, a Christmas adventure by Josie Wowolla Boyle

cover image

Ill. by Fern Martins. Magabala Books, 2012. ISBN 1921248726.
(Ages 5+) Recommended. Picture book. Christmas. This is one of the loveliest Christmas stories I have read. The story is redolent of the warmth of families and giving of yourself. Aboriginal and European cultures and stories sit alongside each other in the tale of a boy out tending his goats. Bubbay is alone and his wish is for being in a home for Christmas. To this end he wishes upon the stars on high for a Christmas tree to put presents underneath ready to give at Christmas. The stars hear him and send down a tree which needs five things attached for his wish to be realised. He scours the desert for the five things, a stone, an egg, a seed, a feather and a shell to decorate his tree. He does this eagerly, with the help of old Gubarlee, finding that the shell is the hardest thing to find. The conclusion of the story brings all the themes together, the Aboriginal boy alone in the desert, Christmas Eve, the need for family, sharing and helping. The blending of Aboriginal and European stories is wonderful and will endear the tale to all of its readers.
The illustrations however, make the book difficult to read aloud to a class, as the pastels blend into each other when viewed further away. It is a shame, as the book would be well used as a read aloud, but clever teachers will be able to get around this using technology I am sure. The background to the naive illustrations sometimes detracts as well, but readers will love reading about the boy and his quest, and look for the things mentioned in the text in the vibrant and colourful illustrations.
Fran Knight

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