With absolutely spot-on timing for Harmony Day 2021, multi-talented Gregg Dreise’s new book – which is a stunning companion to My Culture and Me – once again celebrates our First Australian people. In joyful celebration, as all are welcomed to corroboree, this gorgeous book provides insight and understanding into Welcome to Country acknowledgements, incorporating traditional Gamilaraay language of the Kamilaroi people. No matter which country you and your readers are in, this is a universal celebration of Indigenous culture and tradition.
Gregg is one of the most well-received presenters I’ve ever enjoyed in my library as he told stories, played, sang, and drew for our younger students – not to mention making us all laugh a lot! Aside from that, he’s a great guy with a passion for sharing understanding and stories to strengthen our recognition of both ancient and contemporary Indigenous culture – oh! and he’s a Queenslander – yayy! – with both Kamilaroi and Euahlayi heritage.
These delightful Indigenous students welcome visitors to their gathering, acknowledge their Elders – past, present and emerging – with verve and vivacity that is both engaging and exciting. So many of our own students will delight in recognising themselves, as they too will have represented their beautiful culture in their respective school settings – including, of course, my gorgeous Wiradjuri grandies.
You can watch Gregg’s own lively reading of Hello and Welcome via Storytime, Better Reading Kids – and it would be a fabulous share for your kiddos and the perfect addition to your Harmony Day celebrations. Better Reading also has a wonderful activity pack you can share. Learn more about Gregg on his website.
Hello and welcome to our corroboree. Hello and welcome to our gathering. Father Sky, Mother Earth, together here with me. Different colours, different people, together in harmony.
My highest recommendation of course for this new one – thank you Gregg for another superb book!
Gregg’s first picture books were contemporary styled versions of traditional stories told to him by his family and elders. They were beautiful, joyous and hugely popular with my readers.
This latest diverges a little but is a glorious celebration of First Australian culture. As readers of this blog are well aware by now, my girls and grandies are Wiradjuri people. This Friday Miss K will play a significant role in her school’s belated NAIDOC celebration and of course I will go to my school late so I can see it! Her mum would be so proud of this deadly young woman – as indeed am I.
In this vibrantly illustrated and lyrically written book Gregg explores and elucidates beautiful highlights of Indigenous culture – a ‘call to arms’ almost for all Australians, whether Indigenous or not, to admire the affinity with country and culture held dear by First Australians.
I particularly love the subtle (or maybe not) inclusion of Gregg himself in the illustrations, a proud Kamilaroi and Euahlayi man, who through his artistry and performance brings the ‘culture, unity and wisdom’ to his audiences.
Having had the privilege of seeing Gregg present to our younger students in 2017 I can thoroughly endorse not only his entertaining and informative presentations but his beautiful and generous spirit.
Highly recommended to all who are looking for special books of inclusion.
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.
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.