Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-6-Morgan offers 20 original ``myths'' based on her childhood family storytelling sessions. The collection is full of wonder and fun, with only an occasional moral slipped in. A vain emu, a nervous wombat, the ever-mocking kookaburra, muscular kangaroos, and the occasional dingo, platypus, and numbat all create a milieu unique to this evolutionarily isolated continent. Babies, children, and a wise old Granny provide human counterpoints to the anthropomorphized animals and to the various giants and spirits with varying demeanors. The stories are radiant with magical wit and visceral with crocodile farts. Brilliant full-page paintings throughout evoke a mood one might call bold primitive. The book is dedicated to ``all the naughty children in the world.'' They'll certainly take these stories to heart.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 2-6. The flora and fauna are unmistakably Australian, but the contemporary language Morgan uses to tell her stories suggests an American playground rather than the outback. Many of the little songs sprinkled throughout the 20 folktales have neither rhyme nor meter: "I love my great big feet! / I love my strong, fast legs! / I run so fast, you eat my dust, / I'm the fastest bird around!" The prose tends to be far more earthy than elegant: "After all there's not much to choose between being mashed to a bloody pulp of flesh and bone or drowned in digestive juices that smell like stale vomit." "Ethnic Man" tells of an aborigine who was so frightened that he lost all his color. Other tales employ slang that polite children are told not to use (for example, "Burp, whistle, fart"). The artwork is far better than the text. Every selection has at least one brightly colored, uniquely bordered painting with broadly outlined naive figures that suggest the humor and fantasy the stories fail to deliver. Large multicultural collections might consider this book for the illustrations and the glossary that defines some Australian idioms. ~--Sheilamae O'Hara
Horn Book Review
The handsome volume, illustrated with bold, primitive paintings, emulates folklore with original stories concerning cunning animals, the origins of things, and other long-ago matters of the Earth and universe. There are amusing characters and incidents, but the use of modern colloquialisms creates false notes in the wordy narratives. Glos. From HORN BOOK 1993, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Dedicated by the aboriginal author to ``all the naughty children in the world,'' 20 lively original stories replete with the mythic stuff of wonder tales--magic, transformation, resurrection, eating alive, disgorging, and other comically earthy workings of the digestive tract--all recounted in an engaging colloquial style. Animals and humans demonstrate such classic foibles as greed, vanity, cruelty, or laziness, balanced by forgiveness, courage, kindness, or love. There are creation tales, fables, pourquoi and trickster tales; talking animals, giants, monsters, and spirits. Resonances are many--with African and Native American myths, Aesop, E. Nesbit's plans-gone-awry, Roald Dahl's irreverence. In the splendidly decorative art-- powerful in design and satirically funny in detail--humans are brown-skinned, but the stylized animals come in a vibrant spectrum of imaginative hues. The author explains that some of the stories were created, and told, in her own family; her enthusiasm for them shines from every page. Follow this with Ted Hughes's equally humorous, more philosophical Tales of the Early World (1991). Glossary. (Folklore. 5-12)