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Gurril: Storm Bird (Trevor Fourmile, illus by Jingalu, Magabala)

Gurril: Storm Bird tells the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji (First Nations people from the Cairns area) traditional creation story of the origins of the black cockatoo and its call. Incorrigible young Gurril resists accepting his community’s belief that Gudju-gudju (the rainbow serpent) is really all that powerful—although he enjoys the stories. He ventures out alone to pit his own strength and shrewdness against that of the great serpent who, in fury at being attacked with stones and teased, turns the young boy into a black cockatoo who always cries his own name before storms arrive. Author Trevor Fourmile retells the tale with vibrant energy and the vivacity of Gurril, matched perfectly by artist Jingalu’s bold, full-page and full-spread illustrations, featuring three contrasting palettes throughout of earthy browns, strong blues and lush greens. Against these, the lavish rainbow of the serpent is powerful and alive, and the pages are bright, rich and pleasing (although typesetting decisions such as making the dialogue all-caps and using varied sizes of a blocky white font make the text a little awkward to read in places). The story will be easy to understand for the younger end of the target audience range (it is marketed at 4+ years) and has enough detail and narrative tension to satisfy older children also.

Books+Publishing reviewer: Anica Boulanger-Mashberg is a freelance editor, writer, and reviewer, and has worked as a bookseller at The Hobart Bookshop for over 10 years. Books+Publishing is Australia’s number-one source of pre-publication book reviews.


Category: Reviews