'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 14 March 2011

Review: Savannah Dreams

From Sunday to Saturday, Savannah and her family go looking for bush tucker. Her father, mother, brother and sister each find food to bring home to share, but Savannah only finds pieces of rubbish and junk.

At the end of the week, Savannah’s brother is wondering why they bother to bring her along at all, but eventually he discovers that Savannah’s imagination is important too.

While Savannah’s family finds blue-shelled crabs, fresh water tortoises, catfish and goannas. Savannah finds a discarded bike frame, broken umbrella and unwanted bead curtain. To Savannah, these items are treasures that represent the spirit of a giant, enormous, monstrous barramundi.

I love Elaine Russell’s vibrant, bold illustrations in this story about hunting and gathering in Australia’s outback. Lolla Stewart’s story about Savannah and her family is brought to life by Russell’s wonderful artworks depicting outback scenes including the billabong, river, bush, creek and mangroves and the variety of bush tucker to be found there.

Stewart creates a real sense of family as Savannah spends time each day hunting and gathering with her parents and siblings and sharing meals with them. The story also features a lovely repeating pattern for young children as each day counts down from father’s five finds, mother’s four, sister’s three, brother’s two and then Savannah’s one piece of ‘junk’.

A lovely introduction for children to the diversity of Australian bush tucker and the value of imagination.

Title: Savannah Dreams
Author: Lolla Stewart
Illustrator: Elaine Russell
Publisher: Little Hare Books, $24.95 RRP
Publication date: February 2011
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781921714030
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture book