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Wiradjuri Country (Larry Brandy, NLA Publishing)

In Wiradjuri Country, Wiradjuri author Larry Brandy (along with several Indigenous artists, and with many photographs), offers a wealth of detailed information about flora, fauna, habitat, history, culture and storytelling in the Wiradjuri nation. The book is pitched to an audience of seven and older, but will definitely need the guidance of engaged adults—who will also find new knowledge here—as there is so much material. The key information about countless plants and animals in each habitat is enriched with ‘Let me tell you a story’ sections, the modes together combining to teach Wiradjuri language, a vocabulary of over 100 words. There is a tricky balance throughout between repetition to aid learning and repetition that seems unnecessary. For example words are defined and differentiated by typesetting in body text, and also defined on the same page in vocabulary bubbles, as well as in the index at the end of the book. The organisation of the material into geographical areas (i.e. a chapter on rivers, one on grasslands etc.) is useful but does lead to more repetition, as related animals and plants often recur and with the same information. Some streamlining throughout would have made it a bit easier to digest and learn names and facts. That said, in a text this rich, it’s hard to imagine a better way to organise the information! The book is beautifully designed, with text and image well blended, and the index of words at the back (presented as both Wiradjuri to English and English to Wiradjuri) is a great addition and a usable resource. This is a book worth having, particularly in school libraries and particularly for those living on Wiradjuri Country. 

Anica Boulanger-Mashberg is a freelance editor, writer and reviewer, and has worked as a bookseller at The Hobart Bookshop for over 10 years. 


Category: Junior Reviews