Review Blog

Apr 14 2020

Landing with wings written and illustrated by Trace Balla

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2020. ISBN 9781760296957.
(Age: 7-12 years). Highly recommended. Landing with wings is a beautifully written book which draws the reader in with a delightful story, gentle caring characters and wonderfully detailed graphic illustrations. It is set in Dja Dja Wurrung Country and throughout the story, reference to places, plants, animals and birds is often made in the language of the traditional owners. Landing with wings is the story of Miri and her mother who have moved once more - this time from the warmth of the north to the goldfields of Victoria. Miri is tiring of moving and leaving things behind especially the tea-tree that she writes to in her journal and shares her new life experiences with detailed observations. Miri makes friends with her neighbours, Wingo and Swee Ling, who give Miri and her mother the start they need to become a part of the local community. Wingo and Miri spend time together building a larger pond for the resident frog which they learn is a Bibron's toadlet and through this collective task they learn more about each other. Swee Ling gives Miri an old, rusty bike and with Wingo she is able to explore the local landscape. Wingo is descended from the traditional owners of the land and shares his deep knowledge with Miri.
Throughout this story the reader has the opportunity to learn new and fascinating facts as well as being able to look intently at each page to fully appreciate the finely detailed images. The author shares her absorbing journey with this book in notes at the end. Endpapers at the beginning of the book also give the names of birds, plant and animals in the local language. The imagery and words by Trace Balla communicate a poignant and thoughtful story which will resonate with audiences both young and old. Teacher's tips and activities are available. Themes: Friendship, Australian wildlife, Aboriginal culture, Moving, New communities, New experiences.
Kathryn Beilby

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