Duelgum, the story of the mother eel by Uncle Joe Kirk with Greer Casey and Sandi Harrold
Ill. by Sandi Harrold. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743623114
(Age: 4+) Recommended, Aboriginal themes, Australian animals, Brisbane. Duelgum is the name given by the Wakka Wakka people who live around Brisbane, to the eel which lives in a waterhole and makes its way to the sea to lays her eggs. The story told by Elder, Uncle Joe Kirk relates the tale told to the younger people of the community telling them of this amazing survival story of just how animal lives in the environment.
She lived happily in her waterhole, which provided shelter from the hot sun and plenty of food; yabbies, frog and shrimp to eat. Under he old log, she waited for the day she needed to move. And move she did, she climbed out of her waterhole, slithered over the bank and down into the river which took her to the sea. here she was met by many other eels doing the same thing. The females lay their eggs which become hundreds of fish like creatures. About a year later the females swim back to the river and find their way upstream to their mother's waterhole, there to wait until they too come to the sea to lay their eggs.
The naive illustrations suit the story as the sombre colours reflect the life of the eel in her waterhole, hidden from predators by her brown colouring.
A great story of our environment, of the many amazing animals that live in Australia, of the perseverance of just one of them to reproduce to keep the next generation going.
This particular animal helps keep the waterways clean, and so is a wonderful tale to tell in a class looking at environmental issues.