Review Blog

Nov 29 2012

Butcher Paper, Texta, Blackboard and Chalk by Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach

cover image

One Day Hill, Distributed by Scholastic, 2012. ISBN: 9780980794847.
Highly recommended for all ages. Beginning with Archie Roach's wonderful foreword, filled with love and respect and written as a dedication to his long term partner, Ruby Hunter, this book is an inspiration. On first glance, because the illustrations are filled with vibrant colours and Ruby's naive style, some may fail to be immediately engaged. Personally, I found them to be quite enchanting and can imagine children trying to re-create her style in their own work. Likewise, the songs appeared to be simplistic and repetitive and not certain to engage every reader/listener immediately. When seen as a whole, however, the package is truly one I found to be impressive and heart-warming. The songs, written by the children of the Cape York Peninsula, together with Ruby and Archie, bring the countryside and culture of the children alive, thereby fulfilling Ruby's dream.
This project was obviously a long time in the making and, sadly, Ruby didn't live to see it to its completion. The accompanying CD is simple and joyous but it is the DVD which truly shows her amazing personality and passion for both the task and the children with whom she created the songs. Archie cites her childlike naivete and freedom in relating to the children and this is especially obvious in the footage which appears. I have a whole new appreciation for her work and approach to the children through having seen these excerpts. Already, I have used the book as a focus while working with several of my classes and have been proud of the songs/poems they created about their location too. I think this would be a wonderful addition to any classroom or school library.
Jo Schenkel

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