Review Blog

Nov 26 2019

Cunning crow by Gregg Dreise

cover image

Magabala Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925768862.
(Age: 4+). Highly recommended. Themes: Crows, Aboriginal themes, Cautionary tales, Australian folklore. Author illustrator Gregg Dreise a descendent of the Kamilaroi tribe, from south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales, was born and raised in St George, Queensland, in a family that loved sport, art, music and poetry. He has published several books with Magabala Books, Silly birds, Kookoo kookaburra and Mad magpie, and My culture and me (Penguin). He uses didgeridoos, guitars, laughter and physical performance to pass on his culture to a wide audience, and through his educational talks and storytelling, promotes the environment and interaction with other people.
His cautionary tales are full of humour, and dazzle with bright, colourful illustrations, making a point about morality to the readers.
Cunning crow watched the other birds get their magnificent colours from the rainbow. Lightning, fire and rain preceded the appearance of the rainbow and once there, the birds thrust parts of their bodies into the streams of colour, changing their white feathers to other shades. So the white cockatoo became a sulphur crested cockatoo, the lorikeets became multi-coloured, the budgies, blue. Waan the crow became orange and red but was dissatisfied. He envied the other brighter birds and resolved to change his colours to something more dramatic. When next a rainbow appeared he ducked into it but nothing happened. He thought that perhaps he needed fire as a part of the change so built a ring of fire. This time he burnt his feathers becoming black all over.
Today Waan the black crow reminds us to be happy with our differences, to be satisfied with what we are, that we are all beautiful. This fitting cautionary tale about appearance will appeal to the younger reader, and the bright eye-catching illustrations bring an extra layer of interest and learning for the readers.
Fran Knight

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