Super snake by Gregg Dreise

cover image

Award-winning childrens author Gregg Dreise presents the first in a new series, Scales and Tails, with a new  square format. He read the Roughsey version of the Rainbow Serpent at school, and very proud of his Kamilaroi and Euahlayi heritage he wanted to write a tale of the serpent particular to his own culture.

He tells the tale of the creation of the Darling/Barka River by the Rainbow Serpent after a drought. The drought ends with a great storm and after the storm a rainbow appears with the snake making its way down to the earth along the rainbow. He promises the Elders he will help them find water. And so he does, creating the Darling/Barka River in south west Queensland.

More than a picture book, the wonderful text will be read by those who feel confident trying to read something for themselves, or who love having a story read to them. And what a story, as with myths from the past, the moral of the story is one we should live by today. Sharing water is at the heart of much that is happening in Australia, and the Rainbow Serpent reminds us that we can’t have a rainbow without water.

He asks the elders to climb on his back as he takes them to where the river starts, the sea. He uses his body to carve a river from the sea to the Southern Ocean, in South Australia. He makes lakes and tributaries, resting sometimes to gather his own strength. But he keeps going, telling the Elders that water is there to share. He dives beneath the earth creating the underground basin where the water is stored. So there is enough water for us all, and we must share and protect it.

Everyone hearing the story will know about the importance of water to Australia. And think about their own area and what stories there may be about water. Gregg’s vibrant and strong illustrations depict Aboriginal motifs that kids are familiar with, drawing them into the story as they read.

The map of Australia shows the number of Aboriginal culture groups across the land, and more information is given at the end of the book about Gregg and his story of the Rainbow Serpent.

I loved the images of the land before and after water is given, reminding us all of the importance of water, as he ends his tory with: Come together, rise up, share.

A wonderful addition to the library, I look forward to the next in the series. More about Gregg Dreise can be found here. 

Themes: Aboriginal themes, Australia, Water, Sharing.

Fran Knight