Review Blog

Oct 26 2015

The Creatures of Dryden Gully by Aunty Ruth Hegarty

cover image

Ill. by Sandi Harrold. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781760151997
Recommended as a contemporary Aboriginal story. Themes: Differences; Self-acceptance. Aunty Ruth Hegarty is an Aboriginal elder and storyteller to the younger generation, and although this isn't a Dreaming story it reflects the style of telling a tale with a lesson that can be learned from the animal characters in the tale. The young Joey in the story, who is still not a proficient jumper, wants to explore the world of Dryden Gully. A deer family visits the home valley and Joey notices the skill they share in walking on all four legs. A little bit of 'movement envy' ensues and Joey ends up wandering away from home and into potential danger. Eventually he learns that being different is not better, it is just different. Interestingly Aunty Ruth defines the Australian animals as 'Natives' and the introduced deer as royal gifts to the country and hence they are named - 'Royals'. No environmental statements are made about their introduction, and their status appears to stem from their stature and the impressive antlers on the Male stag's head.
Carolyn Hull

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