The Mysteries of Corkuparipple Creekby Susan Pease, illustrated by Olivia Pease
(Little Steps Publishing)
HB RRP $29.95
by Anne Hamilton
This lavishly produced hardcover volume with gold-embossed cloth spine
and ribbon page marker is a uniquely different offering in children’s books.
With sly overtones of Alice-in-Wonderland — is the first story in the
book all a dream? — it mixes a significant environmental message with oodles of
toilet and bum humour! It’s also got echoes of Narnia in that a great deal of
time spent in one place is next-to-nothing back home.
There’s a dream-like wackiness to the characters — the Slurp-it-Downs and
the Gulp-a-Waters are particularly memorable for their incessant throwing of
insults and devotion to the art of the unsubtle putdown. These are races of
strange critters who live on the banks of Corkuparipple Creek in the Aussie
bush and who, in the best fairytale tradition, are only visible to selected
Ten-year-old Jo encounters them one day while brainstorming a subject for
an essay exam. One of the first things she sees is the Slurp-it-Downs and
Gulp-a-Waters making snot glue — which later turns out to have healing,
restorative properties (a chapter not to be read on a queasy stomach, to be
The book is divided into two separate but interconnected stories — Corkuparipple Creek and Worlds Apart. The second tale is largely
set in Scotland and involves dark elves, time travel and (spoiler alert!) a
bunyip who saves the day. It’s only in the second tale that it becomes likely
the first story, which ended on the possibility that Jo’s initial adventures
were all a dream, did really occur. There are some anachronisms in the book
such as the use of ‘miles’, instead of ‘kilometres’.
Kids who love lots of references to things coming out of different body
orifices will probably enjoy this huge volume with its full-colour
illustrations throughout and its bright centrespread.