Review Blog

Nov 21 2018

Whispering in the wind by Alan Marshall

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Ill. by Jack Newnham. Text Classics, 2018 (c1969). ISBN 9781925773064
(Age: 5-8) Themes: Australian children's stories, Fairytales, Read aloud. This is a story about an Australian country boy's search for a princess to rescue. He is given a pouch of magic leaves and a magic whip by his mentor, an old man called Crooked Mick with whom he lives. Peter barely begins his quest when he meets Greyfur, a very special Kangaroo that can pull anything out of her pouch, including an elephant! And armed with these, he is able to solve any problem he encounters. Each chapter presents a challenge that is often solved by a magic leaf. There is an array of unusual characters including talking winds, a Willy Willy Man, a giant, a witch and a bunyip. This story was not without its charms but for me a castle with a moat and a King and Queen did not sit comfortably in the Australian bush. There were references to well known Australian cities which I found disconcerting as it had the effect of pulling you back into reality just when this reader was trying to immerse herself in the story.
With the complexities and sophistication of other fantasies in circulation this story presented as very simple and young.
I would recommend it to parents wanting to read an Australian classic to young children perhaps 5 to 8 years of age.
Joyce Crawford

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