Review Blog

Oct 13 2017

Big Fella Rain by Beryl Webber

cover image

Ill. by Fern Martins. Magabala Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925360639
(Age: 4-7) Recommended. Themes: Weather, Seasons, Rain, Natural Environment. 'Way up north when the mighty storm comes, lightning flashes through liquorice clouds.'
Beryl Webber's delightful picture book describes the anticipation, reaction and wonder as the 'Big Fella Rain' sweeps across the Top End of Australia. Her lyrical and alliterative language brings the story to life, with 'liquorice clouds', the 'tiny insects hum and sing' and 'raindrops hit the dusty red earth.' Fern Martins' magical watercolour and dot paintings beautifully depict the awakening of the 'cracked earth' and the birds, insects and animals' responses.
Magabala Books positively foster and encourage Aboriginal authors and illustrators to share their connectivity and their wealth of understanding about the natural environment. Beryl Webber's debut picture book allows young readers to see the impact of the Wet Season on the environment. From raindrops to puddles, then ponds to streams, creeks and billabongs, the water replenishes the dry lands and brings new life.
Martins' watercolour washes of blues, greens and browns display the reawakening of the environment, there is an iridescent quality to the dragonflies' wings and the sweep of seeds blown in the wind. Take time to explore her delicate patterns on the dancing brolgas and the tiny dots on the green ants climbing the paperbark tree.
Big Fella Rain is an excellent resource for Junior Primary Science where students investigate the 'daily and seasonal changes in our environment, including the weather and how they affect everyday life.' This picture book is a great introduction to learning about the Water Cycle and for students' engagement with the traditional knowledge of Aboriginal people about native flora and fauna.
Rhyllis Bignell

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