Those of us of a certain age will most likely have grown up with the ballads of Andrew Barton Paterson. I was fortunate to share a love of the Banjo’s work with my father and would often perform his bush poetry as my ‘party piece’ for my parents’ friends.
Our younger readers may not be so familiar with the name but will most definitely know Waltzing Matilda and may even recognise The Man from Snowy River or Clancy of the Overflow. This wonderful and lively picture book will introduce the man behind the verse to a whole new generation.
Tania McCartney has a real gift for bringing the best of our Australian culture and icons to life for children and this book is further testament to her skill. Her delightful re-tracing of Banjo’s childhood and later life is told simply but engagingly. The recurring dialogue (in an effective use of speech bubbles) underline the early beginnings of Banjo’s writing successes as the boy who loved to rhyme grows to a multi-talented man.
With a clever twist Christina Booth has provided charming illustrations which show the young Barty with his family, dogs and friends in a contemporary backyard setting to which young readers will instantly relate.
At the close of the book factual information and images are provided in a delightful newspaper facsimile brilliantly alluding to one of Banjo’s many talents – his journalistic writing. Selections of his poetry are also included and thorough teaching notes are also available from the publisher’s website.
On this, the anniversary of his birth in 1864, what better to honour the man who has become the human representation of the Australian bush and its many colourful characters, than sharing his story with the next generation of readers?
Highly recommended for primary aged children, as well as adult aficionados of the Bard from the Bush.
Happy birthday A.B – I believe you would be thrilled with this special tribute to your amazing life.