- Published:May 2015
Kindness is like a boomerang – if you throw it often, it comes back often
How timely that this beautiful new picture book from this talented Sunshine Coast author/illustrator should come my way just now when my family and I have been shown so much kindness from so many people.
Described as a morality tale, the theme of Gregg’s new book is simply kindness and the power it has to change our lives.
Long ago Kookoo Kookaburra lived happily in the bush and had many friends, who loved his amusing stories and and his gift of making them feel happy. But when Kookoo’s stories start focusing on teasing other animals and being unkind, the animals turn away from him no longer finding his tales funny. Wise old Uncle Googaguga gave him some good advice likening kindness to a boomerang and suggesting that he be mindful of how he spoke of others. Kookoo resisted the Elder’s words until he came to realise that he was so lonely without the companionship of the other bush creatures. Kookoo returned to telling stories that amused the other animals without making fun of them and once again his laughter rang out across the bush – and still does today.
Written in a way which reaches out to the very youngest of readers, this will be a worthy book for sharing with children from Prep up and a wonderful way of promoting the concept of kindness to others in our daily lives.
I was impressed with Gregg’s artwork in his first book Silly Birds (reviewed on Just So Stories last year) and am even more impressed with the vibrant illustrations in this new picture book. From the gorgeous endpapers to the beautiful full page paintings to the delightful accents on the facing text pages, this is a sumptuous visual feast throughout.
I love this book and highly recommend it for your own library shelves.
Once again Sunshine Coast author and illustrator Gregg Dreise has produced a sumptuous and vibrant take on traditional Aboriginal morality tales. Continuing with his series featuring birdlife Mad Magpie follows a theme of bullying and resilience. Drawing on inspiration from his Elders Gregg relates the story of a magpie called Guluu who is continually harassed and teased by butcher birds.
Of course Guluu’s reactive defence of anger just does not impact on his tormentors and the plaguing continues. He consults his wise Elders seeking advice. Old Dinewah the emu, Bulul the mopoke owl and Gulayaali the pelican explain that being ‘tough and angry’ will not solve his problem. They advised him to stay calm like the water flowing in the river and to ignore the butcher birds.
“The butcher birds act tough because they’re in a group. They think it’s funny to see you get angry. Show them how a creature can be strong on the inside.”
As so many others have found in similar circumstances this is not easy and Guluu continues to be frustrated and feel his anger rise.
Until he decides to sing, just as he used to before he became so angry all the time. His loud birdsong completely drowns out the jeering of the bullies and they give up and fly away. Standing proud and alone Guluu demonstrates that just one can overcome many.
In time even the butcher birds learn to sing and the community achieves a harmonious and bully-free life together.
Sing! Dance! Laugh! Love!
We can all learn from the lesson of Mad Magpie.
Highly recommended for children from around the age of four upwards. If you have not seen Gregg’s other books do yourself a favour and seek them out. I have previously reviewed both Silly Birds and Kookoo Kookaburra and also warmly recommend them to you.
With my Small’s proud Wiradjuri heritage these are all firm favourites in our home.
Click on the image to read an article from First Nations Telegraph.