Crabbing with Dad by Paul Seden

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Magabala Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925360158
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Aboriginal themes, Family relationships, Crabbing, Fathers. The simple act of doing something with Dad is shown in this delightful new book from Magabala Books. The universal story of families working together is infectious and all children, indigenous and non indigenous will enjoy the trip to the creek to catch a crab. The warmth of the family outing, the closeness between Dad and his children, the inclusion of the fellows fishing on the beach, the addition of a cousin, all make the day a marvellous success.
Sam and his brother, Mahli, put on their life jackets and speed off with Dad along the creek to their secret spot. They throw over their crab pots (judiciously we are told the laws about crab netting in Australia at the start of the book) and watch the fish swimming beneath them. When the pot is pulled from the bottom of the creek they have caught the biggest crab ever and need to do things to it to stop it from nipping their fingers. We are shown aspects of culture through this story, and the respect shown to the fish in the creek, as well as respecting the laws of the land: lifejackets, sunscreen, safety on the water and wearing hats. And I particularly like the illustration on the front cover: young readers will quiver with excitement at the thought of being nipped by those large claws looming out at them and eagerly turn the pages to find out what the boys do on their day with Dad.
This lovely story, richly showing a day out with Dad that all kids can read and admire, underlines the importance of the father in all our societies giving a man's perspective to young boys growing up. The way the excellent Paul Seden has told this seemingly simple story stressing the role of men, as well as giving a procedural account of going crabbing, makes the reader look for more. Supported by luminous illustrations, I hope that Paul Seden has many more stories up his sleeve to share with us all. A Darwin based author illustrator, Seden's work first appeared with Kick with my left foot (Allen and Unwin, 2014).
Fran Knight