Review Blog

Dec 14 2009

Sam's Bush Journey by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

cover image

Ill. by Bronwyn Bancroft. Little Hare Books, 2009. ISBN 9781921541049.
(Picture book, Ages 4-7) Sam stays with his grandmother in the bush, but finds the place not to his liking. Every time Grandma takes him for a walk, the bushes scratch him, the mosquitoes bite and he is ever fearful that the big gums will drop limbs upon his head. So he makes excuses not to go for walks, saying he has a headache and so must stay in bed. One night he finds himself in the bush and hungry, he recalls Grandma's talk about bush food, and finds some berries on the bushes. He is thirsty and recalls Grandma talking about the birds, and so follows the birds and finds water, when he is sleepy, he looks for shelter in the big trees.
All of the things that Grandma has talked about on their walks have a meaning which he can now appreciate. The bush is a storehouse of food, water and shelter. Next time Grandma invites him to go on a walk into the bush, he is happy to go, knowing that he will learn more about the place of his ancestors. Arriving at the waterhole, Grandma comments that the birds seem to be greeting him as an old friend. This is a delightfully symmetrical story which will enrapture those who read it.
Bancroft's distinctive black outlined illustrations perfectly reveal the things the boy will find in the bush. The blocks of colour contrast with the black making an easily identified illustrative style which suits these stories so well. On each page are different things to watch out for and for kids to notice. The figures behind the trees gradually come together holding hearts between each figure reflecting the love found in the bush by those who care to look.
Fran Knight

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