Gurril: Storm bird by Trevor Fourmile. Illus. by Jingalu

cover image

Gurril: Storm Bird is based on a Gimuy Walubara Yidinji traditional story told orally by many generations. The Gimuy Walubara are traditional custodians of Cairns and surrounding regions.

Young Gurril cannot understand why his people are afraid of Gudju-gudju, the rainbow serpent. He decides he is going to show that he is brave and cunning and will prove to his people that there is nothing to fear. He sets off alone to play tricks on Gudju-gudju and it does not bode well for him. Gurril disturbs the rainbow serpent from his sleep by throwing stones with one hitting him on the head. The angry Gudju-gudju smashes the stones and demands to know who is tormenting him. Gurril thinks his black paint is keeping him safe in the treetops as he sings out from the trees, but clouds form and rain falls causing the leaves to become slippery and the body paint to wash away. Gudju-gudju turns Gurril into his storm bird, a black cockatoo, who will sing his name before the rain comes. This helps the Yidinji people today prepare for the wet season.

The striking cover of Gurril: Storm Bird with a black cockatoo, a deep blue evening sky and silver letters will draw the reader to this beautifully written and engaging story. The full-page illustrations to accompany the text are bold, vibrant, and glossy, with the painting of the Gudju-gudju absolutely stunning. A wonderful story.

Themes: First Nation’s Stories, Rainbow Serpent, Black Cockatoo.

Kathryn Beilby