Monday 6 July 2015

Splosh for the Billabong

Splosh for the Billabong by Ros Moriarty, illustrated by Balarinji (Allen & Unwin 2015)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN: 9781760112127

Reviewed by Jade Harmer

Splosh for the Billabong, by Ros Moriarty and Balarinji, is a playful picture book that gently intertwines the natural environment of northern Australia with Indigenous art.

In fewer than one-hundred words, Moriarty’s simple, rhythmical descriptions are brought to life by Balarinji’s bright, dynamic illustrations.

Set in the tropics of northern Australia, each spread depicts another natural wonder. Ants march in the sunburnt earth, crabs dig in the lushness of the riverbank.
Ripples swirl, birds whoosh and mud squishes. A child protagonist collects squelchy finger-paint to paint a picture of the water hole by the oozy-squidgy river bank.

The blurring of the lines between nature and art subtly introduces the cultural significance of the natural environment to Indigenous Australians, and the importance of storytelling through painting.

Pre-schoolers and early primary school aged children will love Moriarty’s onomatopoeic descriptions and will no doubt will want to crack open the paint pots or squelch about in the mud.

A translation is included in Yanyuwa, the language spoken by Aboriginal families in

Borroloola, Northern Territory.

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