Review Blog

May 23 2016

Mad Magpie by Gregg Dreise

cover image

Magabala Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925360066
(Age: 4-9) Highly recommended. Stay calm like the surface of the water, yet strong like its current. Greg Dreise's third morality tale Mad Magpie is dedicated to those children who have been picked on or bullied.
In the Dreamtime, Guluu the very angry magpie would swoop down and attack the bush animals. The magpie tries to justify his own actions telling the Elders, he is reacting to the butcher birds teasing him. To protect himself, he begins to act in a tough and angry manner. Old Dinewah the wise emu offers Guluu some sage advice to stay strong inside and ignore their bad behaviour.
Guluu attempts to ignore the naughty behaviour of the butcher birds, even when he flies to the other river bank, but the bullies pursue him. He stands up for himself and calms his anger with his beautiful songs. In turn, this wisdom and life lesson help bush and all the animals to live harmoniously again.
Gregg Driesse's paintings engage the audience with their traditional and modern style. He incorporates the use of natural colours - ochres, reds, browns and blacks with bird tracks and vibrant colours in the circles of dot painting. The birds are painted with a strength of emotions, there's angry Guluu, the taunting butcher birds and wise cockatoos placed against the calm surface and powerful river currents to anchor the action.
Silly Birds, Kookoo Kookaburra and Mad Magpie are motivating Dreamtime Stories. Gregg Driesse's picture books are important resources for schools and kindergartens, useful for lessons in English, Art, Health, Wellbeing, Music and Drama. They provide wisdom, insight and offer keys to help deal with children's behaviours and difficult situations faced by them.
Rhyllis Bignell

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