Brindabella by Ursula Dubosarky
Illus. by Andrew Joyner. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN: 9781760112042
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Themes: Single parent family, Friendship, Australian bush, Farm life, Australian animals, Hunters, Adventure. Pender and his father live in an old farm house hidden in the Australian bush. Pender's father is unwell and spends his days painting in a small hut with his loyal dog, Billy-Bob by his side. Pender is free to roam the bush and while he is alone, he does not feel lonely.
On one particular day Pender hears the sound of guns from hunters who are illegally shooting kangaroos. Pender creeps towards the noise and discovers a joey in a dead mother's pouch. He rescues the joey and takes it home to his father. Pender persuades his father to let him look after the joey, Brindabella, and raise it in the farmhouse.
However Brindabella is no ordinary kangaroo. She has the ability to communicate with the other animals and the reader is drawn into these dialogues particularly between Billy-Bob and Brindabella. She eventually returns to the bush to have her own adventures. While in the bush Brindabella meets other animals, although she does not listen to their advice and has many close encounters with danger.
Pender is a quiet, yet brave character who thoughtfully cares for his father, the animals and the bush. He is in complete contrast to Brindabella, a strong-willed and impulsive character. The chapters move between Pender and Brindabella which gives an interesting outlook for the reader. Throughout the story, the author gives the reader a wonderful image of the bush through the clever use of descriptive imagery. Andrew Joyner's creative yet simplistic illustrations provide a balance with the text.