Rocky and Louie (Phil Walleystack, Raewyn Caisley & Dub Leffler, Puffin)
Siblings Rocky and Louie are as close as can be. Louie loves playing footy with his big brother and learning all about the Country they call home. Rocky shows Louie how to tread lightly on the earth, teaching him to respect the new shoots underfoot and to be responsible when making a fire. Rocky also teaches his brother traditional songs and dances, and with carefree abandon the younger boy hops about with a kangaroo and runs with an emu. Everything seems to go on as it did before, until one day Rocky announces he has to go away. This picture book, with its themes of family, love and loss, is beautifully presented, as is its depiction of the natural wonders of Australia. Louie’s decision to craft a boomerang for his big brother as a farewell present is a touching gesture that prompts Rocky to say that, like a boomerang, he will surely return. Suitable for early to mid-primary schoolers, Rocky and Louie is about being open to the power of creativity and being raised to be aware of your environment. There are strong messages of connection and belonging beneath the deceptively simple words.
Thuy On is a freelance arts journalist and reviewer, and the books editor of the Big Issue