Australia is a country bursting with gorges that plummet into serpentine shadows…
These are not my words but come from the beautifully illustrated book by Bronwyn Bancroft. It is a unique showcase of the love and beauty she sees in the landscape.
It reminds me of Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains. Why I Love Australia is a book that every child and parent should explore with its mastery of vibrant colours, patchwork of shapes and patterns, and its verse.
Floating fields of billowing grass where eagles soar.
Beams of secret light and strong warrior trees of the rainforest.
This superb book explores images and words that arouse a deep sense of pride and joy in this country. Turn every page of the picture book and you will delight in the explosion of warm earthy colours, from oranges, reds and browns to cool blues and greens.
Bronwyn Bancroft is a descendant of the Bundjalung people of northern New South Wales. She has also written and illustrated Kangaroo and Crocodile – My Big Book of Australian Animals, published by Little Hare. There is a glossary of animals listed in the book at the back arranged in alphabetical order. You can find out about the billy, dingo, fairy-wren, galah, lyrebird, platypus, Tasmanian devil and wombat.
The end papers are bright yellow. The Australian animals come to life in bold black outlines filled with dots and splashes of colour. Reef fish and numbats, kookaburras and magpie all fill the pages of the book with their splendid charm.
What a wonderful keepsake is this treasured book. It was shortlisted for the Environment Award for Children’s Literature. Did you know about the bogong moth which is native to Australia? It is well known in south-eastern Australia for its mass migration each Spring. Or the giant cuttlefish. Bronwyn has illustrated the giant Australian cuttlefish, one of the largest cuttlefish species in the world. It can reach up to 60cm in length and it weighs up to 5kg.
If you are keen to look at more of Bronwyn Bancroft’s work, find Sam’s Bush Journey, Mali Kangaroo and Possum and Wattle.
What is your favourite Australian children’s book?