Tag Archives: Brothers

#In This Together Reconciliation Week 2020 & Rocky and Louie

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Rocky & Louie – Phil Walleystack, Raewyn Caisley and Dub Leffler

Penguin Australia

  • Published: 28 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143786528
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $24.99

I’ve saved this one for this week to time with Reconciliation Week 2020 as we take up this year’s theme, which as it turns out has proven apt in even more ways than originally intended. Despite many years of activism and advocacy there are still so many who fail to either realise or acknowledge the terrible wrongs done to our First Australian peoples. Regular readers of this blog will know how strongly this cause resonates with me given my children and grandchildren are proud Wiradjuri people.

Naturally then I never miss the opportunity to share cultural awareness with my students and others which is why reviewing books of Indigenous authors or themes is always so important to me.

Rocky and Louie takes a topic dear to the hearts of many young Australians, namely football, and weaves this into a narrative that underlines the sacred connection to country and culture for First Australians.

Rocky has a big dream and is determined to pursue it but when the time comes for him to leave country and go to the city, little brother Louie is fearful and anxious. Louie has learned all about football from his big brother but also about the importance of their culture, people and country and he’s worried that Rocky will lose his connection to all this and his family while he’s gone.

So he comes up with the idea of making Rocky a very special boomerang to remind him that he will always return to the place of his true belonging. The reader goes with Louie to find just the right branch and sits with him while Uncle Phil shows him how to shape it perfectly. And of course it makes the parting gift not only fitting but intensely meaningful as these two brothers demonstrate the closeness of their bond.

The text co-written by Raewyn Caisley, whose ability to transform her words about families into such seemingly simple but powerful layered meanings, and Phil Walleystack, Noongar man and internationally renowned singer-songwriter and storyteller, transcends a mere story of two footy-loving brothers and transforms this into a heartfelt testament to the strength, resilience and dignity of Aboriginal family life and culture.

The illustrations by Dub Leffler (so talented!) utterly capture the boys’ country, native animals, family and their smiling faces with such a divine skill that it will immediately transport readers to the setting.

Raewyn writes about this as her ‘most significant project’: ..’Rocky and Louie is about belonging to country and it is our gift, not only to Aboriginal children, but to all of Australia…….inside is a story that Phil, Dub and I believe has the power to change our nation.’

It goes without saying that I cannot recommend this highly enough and believe it is another essential addition to your collection. My copy will be shared with young Wiradjuri children whom my daughter is guiding in their cultural growth and education and I know it will be well received.

#In This Together

Roly Poly – Mem Fox/Jane Dyer

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9781760896348

Penguin Random House

November 2019

  • ISBN: 9781760896348
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • RRP: $19.99

This is just adorable! Of course Mem’s story about the arrival of a little usurper in the family is just delightful and  will resonate with so many small children but aside from that. those glorious illustrations! They remind me so much of Jeannie Baker’s Polar of many years ago (does anyone else remember that one?).  This little fuzzy bear family with all the accoutrements for a little home with tiny props is just the most wonderful thing I’ve seen for ages.

Roly Poly is a very happy young bear with his own room and his own bed, his own walrus tooth with which to play and his own fish to eat after he’s been fishing through the ice hole. You can well imagine his complete and utter disbelief when he wakes up to find a tiny brother in the bed with him. His resistance to having a younger sibling is palpable as he continually rejects little Monty time after time – until ,that is, there is an almost catastrophe when the little brother is castaway on a ice floe. Luckily Roly Poly does not take his resentment of his sibling quite that far and after a brave rescue the two finally achieve a bond.

Some children cope very easily with the arrival of a new sibling and others do struggle with it. Whichever is the case little readers will immediately connect with this and I can assure will absolutely adore those illustrations.

HIghly recommended for small humans from early childhood upwards.