Walking in Gagudju Country: Exploring the monsoon forest (Diane Lucas and Ben Tyler, illus by Emma Long, A&U Children’s)
Combining their expertise in and passion for botanical work, wild landscapes and the culture of the Top End bush, authors Diane Lucas and Ben Tyler join with illustrator Emma Long to share this luscious book about one of Australia’s most beautiful ecosystems. Walking in Gagudju Country: Exploring the monsoon forest is dedicated to the Elders and the people of the Gagudju (or Kakadu) area, the nonfiction narrative encompassing a walk in the unique ecosystem of the monsoon forest in the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park. The book is narrated through dialogue paired with illustrated avatars of the authors, the text inclusive of the Kundjeyhmi language of the Bininj people. Long’s detailed line and watercolour double-page spreads magnificently portray vast landscapes as backdrops to magnified close-ups of many species, such as kabo (green ants), midjakkur (monsoon forest vine), merle-merle (butterflies) and more. Pops of red and blue add warmth to the vibrant shades of green and brown, the spreads teeming with movement, while highlighted terms in the text provide prominence and clarity. This information-laden book, complete with glossary, brims with life, beauty and magic. It is a delightful read for primary school children, introducing the Gagudju bush and underscoring the importance of respecting and advocating for the environment.
Romi Sharp is a picture book writer and digital marketer for children’s authors and publishers.