Splosh for the billabong by Ros Moriaty

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Ill. Balarinji. Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760112127
Summer rain by Ros Moriary
Ill. Balarinji. Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760112110
(Age: Junior primary) Recommended. Early readers. Aboriginal themes. Indi Kindi Early Literacy Project. The Indi Kindi Early Literacy Project aims to assist young Aboriginal children in remote communities reach the basic levels in Australia's literacy benchmarks. With this aim in mind, Moriarty has produced these two books, Splosh for the billabong and Summer rain, with an emphasis on words and images found in these communities. Kangaroos hop and Ten scared fish have also been reviewed on Readplus. Each of these books introduces children to aspects of their community and adds words, some known and others not well known, to describe what they are seeing on the page. Accompanying the boldly placed words are images which swirl around the page, offering colour and patterns amongst which are animals easily recognised by the student.
In Splosh for the billabong, we see the billabong at river's bend where ants and flowers, tree roots, birds and fish can be found. Each description is brief, with wonderful words for young children to say out loud, to ponder their meaning and add their own flavour. The rain comes making the land by the waterhole squishy, allowing the crabs to dig their hidey holes, and making the ground soft to do some finger painting.
In Summer rain, too, words and images fill each colourful page, showing the things which occur through the day from sunrise to sunset. The words used all evoke images and feelings, such as lizards crawl, wind scatters, rain splutters, wattles burst and fish feed. Each describes an activity which children could emulate, and discuss the various uses of that word while watching the brightly formed pages.
For any early learner these books fill a niche in encouraging younger children to open their eyes to what is about them, using their natural environment to help their vocabulary and understanding of language. The last two pages of each book has the story in Yanyuwa language of Northern Australia.
Fran Knight