Review Blog

May 17 2015

Kookoo Kookaburra by Gregg Dreise

cover image

Magabala Books, 2015. ISBN 9781921248900
(Age: 4-8) Highly recommended. Themes: Aboriginal peoples - Dreaming, Kookaburras, Kindness, Gentleness. 'Kindness is like a boomerang - if you throw it often, it comes back often.'
Greg Dreise's second morality tale Kookoo kookaburra reminds young children to think about how they treat others and to speak kindly to all.
Kookoo's story is set in the Dreamtime, way before the once-upon-a-time of fairy tales. He loved to sit and watch the Australian bush animals and when one would act in a silly way, Kookoo would laugh. He made up stories about their silly ways. These were kind and gentle stories and he used his words wisely. The animals gathered around and loved to listen, until one day Kookoo started to tease them and embarrass them with mean stories. The red-winged parrot has to remind him of Uncle Googaguga's message about kindness. It takes a while for the message to filter through to the kookaburra.
Greg's illustrations use natural, earthy tones, the birds' feathers and wings are painted with brush strokes and dot paintings. The use of dark and light coloured backgrounds set the moods and convey the message. Kookoo's final happy laugh is a splashy, dazzling spread - a celebration of happiness .
What a wonderful new Dreaming story, with an important message about the power of words and the importance of being kind. This would be a wonderful core text for so many curriculum units in Humanities and Social Sciences, Health, English, Dreaming Stories, Art and just for sharing.
Rhyllis Bignell

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