Thursday 30 December 2021

Backyard Beasties

Backyard Beasties by Helen Milroy (Fremantle Press) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN: 9781760991203

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

From dawn to dusk and throughout the night, many different beasties appear in suburban backyards. Bats, cats and dogs, as well as more unusual animals – such as bobtail lizards and quendas (a type of bandicoot) ­– all call our gardens home from time to time. And if we look carefully, there are ‘many more still to be found’.

A descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region in Western Australia, Helen Milroy brings a heightened awareness of nature to her stunning book. She captures the sights and sounds of the backyard ­– from clucking chickens to croaking frogs – in simple rhyming text that will appeal to babies and toddlers.

Bold colours and striking Indigenous patterns form the basis of Helen’s eye-catching illustrations. Yellows, oranges and reds reflect the hues of the outback, while deep blues and greens add a refreshing coastal contrast to the book. Small eyes will lap up the detailed dots and lines in the vivid designs.

Printed in a small format that is perfect for little hands, Backyard Beasties will be a much-loved addition to any young child’s library. The brilliant blend of colours, couplets and creatures is sure to intrigue kids again and again.

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