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Stories from the billabong

by James Vance Marshall; Francis Firebrace Jones

  Print book : Juvenile audience

Oral Aboriginal Tales    (2009-11-09)

Very Good

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by elfgreen

This collection of stories comes from the Aboriginal people of Australia where they tell the stories around campfires and waterholes.  Each story uses acrylic illustrations from an Aboriginal artist who paints mainly in the colors of black, white, red and yellow.  The illustrations incorporate symbols with specific meanings which are explained at the book’s end.  The stories take place in the period Aboriginal people call the "Dreamtime" and describe how the world was created, how the kangaroo got a pouch and how special native plants grew.  Each story has some additional information at the end to describe the Australian creature or plant.  Also a glossary at the back of the book clarifies words that may be unique to Australia.  While it is important to record these stories due to their oral nature, one wonders if the stories would better serve older readers in a beginning folklore or mythology class.  The stories’ illustrations do not provide enough of a context for younger readers and the unusual vocabulary and sparse illustrations may discourage an older reader.  An additional help might have been an audio of these stories since they have an oral tradition.  

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