Category Archives: Australian Poetry

This is Banjo Paterson – Tania McCartney/Christina Booth

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NLA Publishing

February 2017

ISBN 9780642278982

RRP $24.99

 

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.

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Rich & Rare – edited by Paul Collins

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ISBN: 978-1-925272-11-6
Publication date: October 2015
Extent: 512 pages
Format: B Format paperback
Price: AUD$24.95
Category: Genre fiction and poetry
Age guide: 11+

 

This is a sumptuous and luscious smorgasbord feast for any reader, gathering delicacies supplied from Australia’s best storytellers. Our ‘young and free’ creators include: Michael Gerard Bauer, Gary Crew, Justin D’Ath, Scot Gardner, Kerry Greenwood, Libby Hathorn, Leigh Hobbs, Sofie Laguna, Kirsty Murray, James Roy, Shaun Tan and Gabrielle Wang.

Ford St seems to have a monopoly on providing us with wonderful anthologies that are both fresh and contemporary. This is another that will provide fabulous reading for individuals and also for reading aloud. I have been advocating and supporting reading aloud to older students and this is a perfect volume for such a purpose. The diversity of the collection allows for students to be introduced to this impressive cast of writers, to sample a wide-ranging variety of genres and to explore the structure of successful short story writing and poetry.  Here they will find humour, horror, reality, fantasy and much more. There is something for everyone on this menu!

This was one of my outstanding ‘holiday’ reads as I spent time in the beautiful Blue Mountains with family as I could easily pick it up at any time and read one or two stories in moments of complete laziness. Perhaps my only ‘complaint’ is that some of the stories are so engaging that I was almost disappointed to reach the end so quickly. I think my favourite was the marvellous violin which springs to life after long disuse – you will see what I mean when you read it!

This collection sits easily on shelves for your upper primary to secondary students – only one story had a few ‘iffy’ moments but nothing graphic or disturbing.  Illustrated throughout the text is even more accessible for those reluctant readers.

Certainly if your English program includes exploring the short story genre this would be ideal for demonstrating to students how this can be achieved.

Oh and that cover is JUST divine!! 🙂

Highly recommended for both personal and classroom/library reading.

Teaching notes are available at the Ford St website – so you can easily plan to incorporate the book in your planning.

Henry Lawson Treasury – illustrated by Oslo Davis

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Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857985132

Published: 03/11/2014

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

Extent: 160 pages

RRP $19.99

I grew up with a dad who loved both Lawson and Paterson and I loved them too. Standard party pieces were recitations from these two legendary Australian writers. And now, we are able to introduce the ‘Poet of the People’ to a new generation via this beautiful anthology, illustrated by Oslo Davis in a simple but stunning monochromatic style.

This new volume contains not only well-known pieces from the great Lawson but also some that may be new for readers. A brief three page biography gives newcomers some insight into the man who, of course, features on our $10 note. One of the joys of visiting my aunt in her former locale was to be able to pass by the Budgee Budgee Inn where Lawson staged ‘The Loaded Dog’ – just around the corner! I would also pay my respects as I drove by.

Four ragged, dried-up looking children are playing about the house. Suddenly one of them yells, “Snake! Mother, here’s a snake!”

The gaunt, sun-browned bushwoman dashes from the kitchen, snatches her baby from the ground, holds it on her left hip, and reaches for a stick.

“Where is it?”

“Here! Gone in the wood-heap!;” yells the eldest boy – a sharp-faced urchin of eleven. “Stop there, mother! I’ll have in . Stand back! I’ll have the beggar!”

The Drover’s Wife. First published in The Bulletion, 23rd July 1892

As we seek to inform our students of all aspects of the history of Australia, Lawson’s work remains triumphantly eloquent of the folk of the bush, their success and despair, their comradeship  and their isolation and above all their indomitable spirit.

If it has been some time since you dipped into our bush writers, this would be a perfect chance to do so but aside from that, this is a most elegant and well presented album to grace your library shelves. This copy is staying firmly on my own bookshelf – thank you Dad for just one of many wonderful memories.

Highly recommended for both primary and secondary school students – from around Year 5 upwards.

Photos taken at the Henry Lawson memorial, remains of his old childhood home, on Henry Lawson Drive, Mudgee.

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