Review Blog

Mar 10 2015

Magpie learns a lesson by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

cover image

Ill. by Tania Erzinger. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781742990590
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Cautionary tale, Aboriginal themes, Jealousy, Friendship. From the cover readers will know that Magpie does something she perhaps should not have done and has learnt to be more circumspect about her behaviour. The strongly illustrated front cover too will draw in the readers to turn the page as the bold colours entice their curiosity.
Magpie is jealous of her friend the Brown Falcon because of his ability to fly so high and see so far. Magpie decides to play a trick on her friend and wriggles a rope in the grass so that the Falcon thinks it is a snake.
Magpie laughs at Falcon and does not learn her lesson. She then puts a pile of dead bugs and insects by the waterhole and again, Falcon sweeps down to eat. Again, Magpie fools him. When Magpie pretends to be dying, to lure Falcon down to the ground, Falcon becomes wary of her tricks and flies away to another part of the woodland. But Magpie gets caught in a hunter's net and so must call out for help.
This is a cautionary tale told many times in many different countries of the world, in many different ways. This tale is told with an Aboriginal ambience that is hard to resist. The animals depicted are set against the backdrop of the Australian bush with charming naive illustrations by Tania Erzinger who also illustrated Sally Morgan's Feast for wombat (2014). Children will love to find the animals depicted and look closely at the insects and flora shown in the sweeping blocks of colour while contemplating the themes of friendship, jealousy, tricking and reconciliation.
Fran Knight

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