Friday 22 May 2015

The Eagle Inside

The Eagle Inside by Jack Manning Bancroft, illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft (Little Hare Books/Hardie Grant Egmont)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781742974699

Reviewed by Liz Ledden

Jimmy the little honeyeater is off to flying school, and soon feels intimidated by the other noisier, larger birds. Wracked with self-doubt, Jimmy is targeted by a mean cockatoo which further destroys Jimmy’s self-esteem with his taunts. It takes a kind yet strong eagle to lead Jimmy to realise his inner strengths, and help him recognise that size is no barrier to success.

The rhythmic, descriptive language flows well, aided by alliteration in parts. Action and a soaring sense of self are evoked beautifully: ‘He dodged and weaved, ducked and dived, swerved and skimmed without touching a thing’.

The narrative is accompanied by dramatic full-bleed images in Bronwyn Bancroft’s inimitable illustration style. Blues, greens and browns feature prominently, reflecting the book’s natural setting, with strong lines contrasting with dot and leaf motifs. Each page is a visual feast, beautifully carrying the text and cementing this mother-son creative duo as one to watch.

Bronwyn Bancroft has had a long and successful career as an artist and children’s book creator; however, this is Jack Manning Bancroft’s first foray into children’s books. He is best known as founding the aboriginal mentoring program AIME at only 19 years old, and at 29 is its CEO and a NSW Young Australian of the Year recipient. The story is based on Jack’s experiences at university, where a mentor helped him nurture his own strengths.

The Eagle Inside is a tale of inner-strength, courage and self-belief, and the power of having someone to believe in you.

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