Sunday 24 August 2014

The Lost Girl

The Lost Girl by Ambelin Kwaymullina, illustrated by Leanne Tobin (Walker Books)
HC RRP $ 24.95
ISBN 9781921529634
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Multi-talented, author-illustrator Ambelin Kwaymullina follows her outstanding success of the young adult series The Tribe, with the creation of another fantastic children’s picture book. Leonie Tobin’s stunning illustrations in acrylic using earth and nature’s colours set the scenes for this story of a girl lost in the desert.

The girl has wandered away from her family and cannot find her way back. She falls asleep and waits to be found. There is bush food to eat and a waterhole to quench her thirst. The pictures show the child comfortable in her surroundings. She knows the earth and it knows her.

Rich depictions of the natural world, its flora and fauna, rugged rocks, and desert flowers surround her. Things that fly and crawl, striped and winged lizards, and wildflowers appear like painted canvases one after another. These keep the girl in her blue dress company for they are all part of her land.

Her beautiful face fills with concern as dusk falls and the crow flies overhead.  With the full moon above, she follows the crow to the smoke of the camp fires where a place by the fire awaits her.

The themes include nature and the Australian landscape, and missing/lost children. A splendid production with a strong Indigenous flavour, it reflects the importance of story, the unbreakable bond between the Indigenous people and their land, and family unity.

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